VATICAN CITY, JULY 13, 2004 (Zenit.org).- The pontifical “Populorum Progressio” Foundation will soon meet in Brazil to allocate $2.5 million to about 260 development projects presented by some of Latin America’s poorest communities.
The meeting July 20-23 in Brasilia will gather Latin American cardinals and bishops, as well as representatives of the Pontifical Council “Cor Unum.”
The projects to be approved address various aspects of a community’s integral development, such as health, housing, potable water, education, communal infrastructure, production, nutrition, and religious and civic formation.
The “Populorum Progressio” Foundation was established by John Paul II in 1992 as a gesture of the Church’s solidarity with the poor in Latin America and its minority groups, such as the Indians, mestizos and Afro-Americans.
The foundation’s headquarters are within the “Cor Unum” council in Vatican City. The council’s president, Archbishop Paul Josef Cordes, is also president of the foundation.
The foundation has an administrative council, which ensures compliance with the organization’s statutes, and studies and approves project applications.
“The selection of projects which are supported is made by those who receive the material aid and not by foreign sponsors,” Archbishop Cordes explained to ZENIT. “We always stress this to avoid all paternalism.”
“In fact, the important aid-agencies run the risk of working like forces of occupation; that is, they come from abroad without knowing the reality of the country on the spot,” he added. “This is the reason why meetings are held in Latin American countries, and our council, made up of Latin American cardinals and bishops, is the one that decides.”
Since Feb. 13, 1992, when John Paul II established the foundation, about $17 million has been allocated to more than 2,000 projects.