4 African Development Initiatives Unveiled

Include Programs for Women, Children, Teachers

ROME, FEB. 16, 2006 (Zenit.org).- A project begun in 2002 to commemorate the canonization of Opus Dei founder Josemaría Escrivá has announced an international fund-raising campaign for four new development projects for Africa.

The Harambee project announced at a press conference Tuesday that the first project is focused on Sudan.

It aims to promote a professional training program for women and youths from southern Sudan who have fled the country’s civil war.

The second project will establish a training program for primary and secondary schoolteachers in Kenya.

The third, focused on Madagascar, will offer professional training for artisans and their families.

The fourth, in Congo, aims to establish a health service program for women and children in the rural outskirts of Kinshasa, the capital.

Since 2002, Harambee has financed 24 projects in 14 African countries, all promoted by individuals of that continent.

“The 2006 campaign aims to foster hope in Africans,” said Carlo De Marchi, a Harambee coordinator. “We know that these four projects are only four drops of water in the desert. Nevertheless, they are important because they encourage those already working for African development and they are achieving good results.”

Moms are central

Also participating in the press conference were two representatives of projects in Congo and Sudan which will receive funds from Harambee in 2006.

Patiance Mongo, a nurse in the Monkole Hospital in Kinshasa, spoke about the efforts being made to offer health care to more than 100 women and 500 children. Nearly 500,000 people live in the outskirts of the capital.

“Mothers are central to the social development of Congo,” she said. “They are the primary ones educating the children, and only with their help will the continent be reborn.”

Sister Liliana Ugolino, a Canossian nun, recounted her experiences in Sudan, where she works on programs for the social and professional development of women.

“I have learned that what helps African women is not so much the education we provide but the encouragement and help we can give them to develop the potential they have within themselves,” she said.

Harambee is an initiative of the Rome-based Institute for University Cooperation, which has promoted development projects since 1966.

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