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FMSI has found the Marist Organizations of Solidarity of the American Continent

09/09/2015: Guatemala

It was an idea thought of for a long time by FMSI: to set up a global network of NGO’s and other organisms which would promote solidarity, the volunteer program and the defense of the rights of children and adolescents within the Marist Institute. It is a short time ago that the first of four encounters foreseen took place for great geographic areas: it was held in the City of Guatemala from the 17th to the 19th of August. 

For the region of the Southern Cone the following were represented: “Fundacion Marista” that operates in Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay; “Fundacion Gesta” which has its See in Chile, and Sembrar” active in Bolivia with social, educational and pastoral projects. 

For Brazil, there were delegates from UMBRASIL, a center of national coordination of the initiatives of all other organisms: IMS (Marist Institute of Solidarity), IMAS (Marist Institute of Social Assistance), AVESOL (Association of Volunteers and Solidarity), the Center Defense (for the rights of children and adolescents) and the Observers of the rights at local and national level.  

The region Arco Nord presented FUNDEMAR, working in Colombia, Venezuela and Ecuador and FUNDAMAR which has its see in Guatemala, and offices and projects in several countries of Central America.  There wasEDUCADYS, the expression of the Marist Province of Central Mexico and the Department of Social Pastoral Ministry of the Marist Province of Western Mexico.  Lastly, Brothers John Healy and Eladio Gonzales gave witness of the solidarity lived in the United States; only Canada was not able to be present. FMSI was represented by Mario Meuti, Manel Mendoza, Vicente Falchetto and Álvaro Sepúlveda, responsible for FMSI Cono Sur.  

A whole day was dedicated to present the characteristics and the works of each one. There was a whole range, varied, rich, fascinating, that made everyone exclaim: how much service the Marist Institution is offering to the American Continent and how much more can it still give, especially if we can coordinate better and unite our forces!

Some documents were also presented: the first one was a collection of reflections gathered together at the beginning, on“our idea of solidarity” in the light of Christian tradition and of the Marist experience.  Then followed a debate in groups and from here proposals and guidelines to deepen, which obviously will be shared with the Marist NGO’s of other continents.  

A second document presented the policy of protection of minors which is about to enter into force in the offices of FMSI: it has been offered as a base and guide to write the one of each NGO, especially if recognized as an autonomous organization.

The third day was the most important one: to have succeeded in constructing a network of Marist organisms around FMSI.  Even if in America, for many years, there is a network that exists and is called “Corazón Solidario”, after an attentive examination, the difference  has been seen between operating or working as Marist Organisms and united under one only voice of FMSI in all the themes concerning the protection of children.  In order to dialogue with other networks and political-social organisms it is necessary to be recognized immediately and identified as the voice of the civil society and FMSI with the consultative status  in the Social and Economic Council (ECOSOC) of ONU and with its presence in Geneva has all its documents in order for this role.  The example has been offered by FMSI Cono Sur, which is carrying on public actions in the World Movement of Infancy (MMI) and other forums… It is precisely beginning from this experience that the hypothesis of a FMSI America has taken form, as an organization that gathers together the Marist NGO’s, other organisms recognized and the Marist Provinces with their department of solidarity and social works.  

FMSI keeps the hope that the Marist authorities will not only encourage this idea, but that similar networks can arise and develop in the other continents.  Soon, from the 5th to the 7th of October it will be the NGO’s and the European Marist organisms which will face this same proposal.  And in 2016 also Africa and Asia-Oceania.

www.fmsi-onlus.org

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