ROME, JAN. 13, 2002 (Zenit.org).- A range of solidarity initiatives, from a medical services facility in the Congo, to a rural formation center for women in Peru, were launched officially to mark the centenary of the birth of Opus Dei founder Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer.
The service and social assistance initiatives in eight countries were presented in the context of the congress on “The Grandeur of Ordinary Life,” held here last week.
According to Marta Manzi, spokesman for the centenary activities, “These new initiatives are the best tangible and durable commemoration of the anniversary,” celebrated Jan. 9.
Leon Tshilolo of the Democratic Republic of the Congo described the activities of the new Moluka medical-social facility, a branch of the Monkole Hospital.
The new facility will help serve 30,000 people. It will offer programs on physical hygiene and nutrition, household and environmental health, family health, pediatrics, literacy, economics, home economics, and creation of productive activities.
Nigerian Charles Osezua spoke about the Institute of Industrial Technology for young people and unemployed adults in Lagos, the capital, where the rate of youth unemployment in some areas reaches 60%.
Open to people of all religions, races and tribes, the IIT attempts to be “an agent of relief from poverty,” by offering technical formation to help people get jobs, Osezua explained. The center, inaugurated officially last October “as a birthday gift for Blessed Josemaría,” will begin its first year with 75 students. The principal areas of formation are in electrical engineering and the car industry.
Isabel Charun, promoter of rural development in Canete, Peru, described the initiatives of the rural formation center for women.
“Condoray,” an institution promoted by Opus Dei members and located 150 kilometers (93 miles) from Lima, has already trained 20,000 peasant women from one of the nation´s poorest regions. There, 83% of women between the ages of 19-39 are illiterate, while 70% of the families are poor and cannot satisfy their most basic needs.
“The teachings of Blessed Josemaría have moved us to establish the means so that our children will have a better life,” said Charun. “This is why many of us peasant women want to be protagonists in the development of our peoples.”
Charun is an Indian peasant who learned to read in Condoray. She is now one of the center´s promoters.
An additional six initiatives marked the centenary. There are the Guatanfur Agricultural School in Colombia; the Raval Solidari nongovernmental organization of Barcelona, Spain, geared to the social integration of immigrants; the Children´s City outpatient clinic in Monterrey, Mexico; the Dworek center in Poland for the promotion of women; The Pines educational center in Montevideo, Uruguay; and an outpatient clinic in Caracas, Venezuela.