Preparation for the AIC International Assembly 2015
“By valuing our strengths, let’s become agents of two-way education”
140 volunteers, delegates from the 53 AIC national associations, are expected in Guatemala City (Guatemala) from 23rd to 27th March 2015 to participate in the next AIC international Assembly; an important time for exchanges, training and shared joy.
The meeting has two objectives:
- Highlighting education as a two-way process: education in the context of poverty is not limited to filling a gap (transferring knowledge). It is also a two-way exchange and a question of valuing everyone’s ability to act to change a situation.
- Planning the priorities for future years, notably in the context of the 400th anniversary of the creation of the first groups of “Charities” by Saint Vincent, the Charities that have become the AIC we know today.
To achieve these objectives, several workshops will be organized, in order to raise awareness that every person that we support has strengths and something to share with others. It’s together that we can change a situation of poverty and create projects which transform lives!
A few key words will guide our work during the meeting:
- The strengths of every one of us and the power to appreciate these strengths
- Two-way exchanges: Each person can bring something and learn something from others
- Dreams a motor for change
“Make your hearts firm” the Pope Francis tells us in his message for Lent. “Flooded with news reports and troubling images of human suffering, we often feel our complete inability to help. What can we do to avoid being caught up in this spiral of distress and powerlessness?”
At AIC we will join Pope Francis’s prayer initiative “24 hours for the Lord” on 13th and 14th March and we will unite with the whole Church to pray in communion with the Church on earth and in heaven.
News from the President of AIC-Ukraine
“I beg you to not grow tired of praying for peace. We feel your prayers!”
“In Ukraine the situation is as before and even worse. There is strong inflation. The value of the dollar and the Euro has increased again, since last summer it has increased more than threefold. And this tendency continues. With this everything becomes more expensive – food, fuel, transport… everything. Life has become more difficult materially and psychologically.”
“However we try not to lose hope, praying to God, trusting in his mercy and favor towards our country and our nation!”
November 25: International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women
During this day of struggle against violence towards women (and little girls), we think to all those who we do not speak about, but who suffer from poverty, illitteracy, early mariage, rape and are ill-treated, and to the elderly abandoned women; the list is long and incomplete.
All together « change the world : women can » let's believe it more than ever !
To learn more : United Nations Website
AIC takes part in the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty
On 17th October, AIC participated in the Council of Europe’s Conference of INGOs, which took place in Turin as part of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.
Paola Agnani, President of AIC-Italy (GVV) recounts her experience of the day:
“For me it was an honour and a pleasure to take part in this event. The day was filled with emotion and I felt the importance of belonging to a network like AIC, capable of fighting every form of poverty.
We presented during the first workshop which was on the theme of elderly people and disadvantaged families. We realised that in this period of anthropological crisis where human beings are not treated with dignity, where it seems that we have lost the meaning of living, volunteering can revive our ideals and encourage ways of life that allow us to hope for a better future.
Thank you to the team of organisers, the local AIC volunteers and the city of Turin for the energy they put into this day and for their example of commitment.”
October 17: International Day of the Eradication of Poverty
This meeting is very important for AIC, as we are at the same time organizers and coordinators of this day that will focus particularly on ‘testimonies’.
The AIC-Ukraine president, the only representative of the Central and Eastern European countries during this meeting, will give her testimony.
The general topic of our workshop is “ACTING TOGETHER TO IMPLEMENT THE ARTICLE 30 OF THE EUROPEAN SOCIAL CHART” (the theme is common to the 4 workshops). These 4 discussion groups proposed complementary topics about the following questions:
a) How to promote the participation in social life and the dignity of the most vulnerable persons?
b) How the associations, together with the persons living in a situation of poverty invented “a way to restore dignity” (support, access to an address, shops,...) ? Where and how did these people find the strenght and the confidence for themselves and to help the others?
c) How could be improved all what is done, in spite of the difficulties of understanding, the language barriers, the prejudices ?
d) How and to what extent would it be possible to provide a right to proctection against poverty and social exclusion?
For more information: Website in Italian of the Social European Chart. For our workshop, article 30
Council of Europe Website: http://www.coe.int/t/ngo/default_EN.asp?
Prayer from the Vincentian Family for the Christians in Iraq
Dear Members of the Vincentian Family,
Happy Feast of the Assumption of Our Lady!
Since the last circular letter, which I addressed to all branches of our Family a few days ago, there have been many events that require me to write to you again; I do not want to miss the call for deep reflection and prayer that is made to us.
For months now, we have listened to Pope Francis speak of his concern and sadness regarding the reality of the persecuted Christians in Iraq specifically, and other situations of famine, drought, war, and disease in many parts of the world, where the poorest always suffer.
A few days ago, I received a letter from Michael Thio, International President of the Saint Vincent de Paul Society, in which he tells me that among those persecuted Christians in Iraq, there are many who belong to the Conferences in that country. This makes us even closer to the situation.
On Sunday, 10 August, at the Angelus, Pope Francis insisted: “we are stunned and dismayed by the news coming from Iraq: thousands of persons, among them so many Christians, expelled from their homes in a brutal way; children who die of thirst and hunger during the flight; kidnapped women; massacred persons; violence of all kinds; destruction throughout, of houses, religious, historical, and cultural heritages. All that seriously offends both God and humanity. One does not hate in God’s name! War is not made in the name of God!”
As members of the Vincentian Family, let us not ignore the call that the Church and the poor make to us, specifically in Iraq, to unite for this cause. Not long ago, a report from the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, noted that since June there are ongoing humanitarian assistance programs for Iraqi refugees. Therefore, if we can make a material contribution, let us do so through the national branches of Caritas (Catholic Charities) and the Episcopal Conferences. But especially, I want to launch a call to all branches, nationally, regionally, or locally to organize a day of Prayer (and fasting) in a creative way, for 22 August, when we celebrate the feast of the Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Let us pray, as the Pope has said, “together to the God of peace, through the intercession of the Virgin Mary: Give peace, Lord, to our days, and make us builders of justice and peace. Mary, Queen of Peace, pray for us!”
Your brother in Saint Vincent,
G. Gregory Gay, CM
An AIC Online Diploma
More than 650 AIC volunteers and members of the Vincentian Family have signed up for the AIC Diploma, a distance learning program developed by the AIC Regional Coordination team in Latin America and which should spread to other continents in time.
The AIC diploma entitled “Training for Institutional Reinforcement” will run from February to September 2014. It is aimed at all volunteers who speak Spanish or Portuguese; it is made up of 8 modules which have the objective of giving the AIC volunteer the tools and knowledge to:
- Explore in depth the qualities needed to BE an AIC volunteer
- Develop the skills need to UNDERTAKE better grassroots work; offer tools which will allow our work to be well organized and coordinated
- Develop the knowledge to run projects, fundraise, communicate using social media and create a strategic plan in our associations.
This program should help volunteers to better organize their AIC work and to take on new tasks such as those associated with management.
The EB meets in Brussels
The twelve members of AIC’s Executive Board, led by International President Laurence de la Brosse, met in Brussels for their annual meeting from 10th-13th March 2014.
The Executive Board meets once a year and each member gives a report on her activities that year, which may concern training, communication, regional coordination, finance or representation. The EB also prepares the year to come: the next international assembly in 2015 and a little further ahead, the celebration of AIC’s 400th anniversary in 2017.
In 2017, AIC will celebrate its 400th anniversary. In order to prepare for this event, all groups of volunteers are invited to progress together along the same path from 2013 to 2017, with the help of the 2013 training booklets and the 2014 monthly reflections. It is therefore important to ensure that these are distributed as widely as possible.
St Vincent founded the first groups of AIC volunteers in 1617. This 400th anniversary is an important occasion to motivate ourselves, we the AIC volunteers of 2014, and to develop our sense of belonging to our large international network. With this goal in mind, we plan to expand the distribution of our training material: each month the volunteers receive a reflection about AIC and our mission. These reflections and other AIC publications are sent out via e-mail: please send us your e-mail addresses and those of the volunteers in your groups so we can improve communication between us all.
AIC-Peru receives the Delva Prize 2013
On 25th November, International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, an AIC project in Naranjos, Peru, was awarded the Jean and Claire Delva Prize 2013. It simultaneously combines elements of combatting violence and education (our Operational Guidelines).
The aim of this project is to support 70 women who are victims of domestic violence. The AIC volunteers in Naranjos are going to organize workshops aimed at preventing situations of violence, learning how to manage them and encouraging the building of self-esteem. They will be offered training to learn how to make food products with the goal of beginning an income-generating activity. Finally, some women will receive training in leadership and self-management in order to be able to continue the production activities and in turn pass on what they have learned in order to ensure the continuity of the project.
We would like to give our warmest congratulations to the Naranjos volunteers and our full encouragement to all those across the world who dedicate themselves to fighting violence against women.
Claire Delva, Laurence de la Brosse and the AIC Project Service
Vincentian Family Symposium
From August 9-11, Christine Peeters, AIC representative, was among the seventy two members of the Vincentian Family from every continent met in Paris to reflect on Vincentian management of the patrimony of those who are poor as Wise Stewards. The work was based on the conviction that the resources that the Lord has entrusted to us “are the patrimony of Jesus Christ, the sweat of poor people” (Costa XI p.201). Christine gave a presentation on accountability and transparency.
AIC celebrates World Day for Overcoming Extreme Poverty
17th October: World Day for Overcoming Extreme Poverty – AIC will be particularly involved in celebrating this day. In fact the team of AIC representatives will offer its expertise on the subject of fighting poverty and social exclusion to the different bodies within which we participate as an NGO: Aliette de Maredsous will make a contribution at UNESCO, Marie Christine Davy at the Council of Europe and Maritchu Rall will participate in a seminar organized at the French Embassy in Moscow. The primary objective of the team of representatives is to publicize the activities and grassroots projects of local AIC volunteers at the highest level.
En route for AIC's 400th Anniversary
For the occasion of the Feast Day of Saint Vincent on 27th September, our international Spiritual Advisor Father Eli Chavez sent us this letter, addressed to all the AIC volunteers:
Dear friends and sisters in Christ,
It is now nearly 400 years since AIC was created! Over these years how many paths have been trodden, how many stories we have to relate, how many dreams have come true – and how long a road lies still before us, how many dreams must we still conceive and realise!
As this significant date draws close, the “old AIC” praises the Lord for the abundant graces it has received and for having thus been given an opportunity to make a contribution to the work of Christ in serving the poor.
May the “old AIC” renew, cultivate and increasingly discover the joy, pioneering spirit and evangelical vitality of the ideal bequeathed to us by Saint Vincent and Saint Louise.
May the Holy Ghost, who inspired and guided the founders of our association, blessing it with so fruitful a spirit of charity, and so many dedicated volunteers, grant AIC the grace of continued perseverance in its mission of charity and the capacity to ever renew and renovate its commitment in the spirit of its original ideal.
As we follow this joyful path, may the Faith and Charity which inspired Saint Vincent and Saint Louise, as well as many volunteers past and present, be the driving force for the progress of AIC’s enchanted and enchanting mission and lead other volunteers to follow Christ the Evangeliser and Servant to the poor.
By adopting and applying the words of Benoit XVI, regarding the “Year of Faith” and the “new Evangelisation”, hopefully, all volunteers will be able to interiorize, communicate and celebrate this truth:
“We cannot allow for the salt of Faith to fade or the light of Charity to dim. Like the Samaritan and the Founders, today’s volunteers are capable of renewing the need to approach the well and listen to Jesus, who invites them to believe in Him and to collect the living water of Charity which springs from the fountain. That is why there is still a need for a more certain and radical commitment to a new Evangelisation, so as to revive the joy of serving by rediscovering the enthusiasm necessary to communicate Faith and Charity”.
Through the process of becoming enchanted and thus enchanting others with Christ’s passion for the poor, AIC strengthens its ideal through the mechanism of reciprocity. It thus develops its purpose, making an intense, creative and daring effort to enhance its strengths.
Certainly, pains, sins and problems encountered may cause disenchantments. May the divine grace make these be an opportunity for continuous conversion, purification and enhancement of the quality of the evangelical charitable service which is to be sought constantly with hope and trust in God.
And, as Saint Paul said, “I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and straining towards what is ahead”. Phil 3:13-16.
With friendship, prayer and the desire to help, I join all the volunteers on this journey towards celebration. May their faith, mission and charity be fruitful.
Père Eli Chavez dos Santos, CM
AIC celebrates International Literacy Day in Madagascar
More than 300 volunteers and beneficiaries from the TSIRY project, an extensive education project that takes places in south Madagascar, were invited to participate in the celebrations for Literacy Day organized by the Minister for Education and the Director of Preschool Education and Literacy. The programme for the day included a carnival, some craft activities and a literacy evening. The minister presented the participants with a certificate after having listened to their speeches.
To find out more
For more information about the Tsiry project, see our AIC Solidarité website.
World Youth Day 2013 : AIC gives testimony before young Vincentians
The AIC Brazil President, Marla Barros, writes us: "I have just come back from the international meeting of the WYD. It was really a unique experience being amongst thousands of young people coming from different countries, all of them motivated by the same faith in Christ and the love of Saint Vincent. The joy they express is contagious and cheers us up to carry on our way full of hope as we know that they will not let the call for charity die..."
2013 AIC International Assembly of the Delegates - Bangkok - Thailand
120 AIC volunteers coming from over 20 different countries have met in Bangkok, Thailand, for the AIC International Assembly and Training Seminar. “Education – a two-way process. Educating ourselves to work together”, is the title of this year’s gathering, which has taken place at the Assumption University’s Suvarnabhumi Campus in Bangkok, Thailand from 14 to 17 March 2013, for the first time in the Asian Continent.
AIC is convinced that education, especially that of women, is key to poverty reduction. In the over 13.000 local projects that AIC volunteers are engaged worldwide, they have observed that education of women, with reciprocity at the basis of the process, has a long lasting impact on the community’s development and the future generations.
1° Impressions - March 14 : This is the first time AIC assembly ever to be held in Asia, and the co-coordinator for Asia, Joan Sarasin, is to be congratulated for all the hard work that she and her team have put into organizing this gathering in the beautiful surroundings of Assumption University.
It was good to hear about all the wonderful work being done by the AIC volunteers in Asia, in Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Philippines Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam. We started the day by praying for our new elected Pope, and subsequently Fr Peralta in his talk commented on this choice of name – Francis- suggesting humility, simplicity, and a servant of God . This serves as an inspiration to our work as AIC members of AIC.
In her opening speech, the international President, Laurence de la Brosse used the image of a flock of geese. By flying together in a shape each goose is able to fly at least 71% more effectively than if it were flying alone. If people had as much intuition as geese have, they would understand that success depends on team work, with each person taking on responsibilities, working together and helping each others.
During discussions in the afternoon, participants commented that we cannot do our work in AIC without the help of God. Everything we do is based on our Vincentian spirituality. Our busy and fulfilling day ended with a joyful and convivial folk evening of song and dance, with much audience participation. Marlene Burt, EB member.
2° Impresiones 15 de marzo: Hoy tenemos la gracia de celebrar el día de Santa Luisa de Marillac. Su recuerdo nos va a acompañar y animar a lo largo de nuestro día de trabajo, tras la hermosa y emotiva reflexión sobre Santa Luisa en el marco del año de la fe. Comenzamos pues con entusiasmo y gozo la jornada de hoy.
Hemos acogido con atención y avidez la exposición de los 4 proyectos AIC sobre la Educación, y nos ha emocionado la puesta en práctica y la evolución de todos ellos. El intercambio sobre lo que pueden aportar a nuestros respectivos proyectos ha sido rico, fluido y muy enriquecedor. También la tarde ha sido rica en emociones. El momento de la foto de grupo nos ha brindado un momento de alegría y de distensión calurosa, y ha supuesto un pequeño paréntesis en la jornada de trabajo, que hemos retomado con energía y entusiasmo. Tras el interesante ejercicio de reciprocidad que nos ha vuelto a situar en nuestras líneas programáticas, hemos trabajado intensamente en los talleres, por temas de proyecto. La idea de la reciprocidad, tratar a los beneficiarios de igual a igual, respetándolos, amándolos y haciéndoles sentir firmemente su dignidad, pedirles ayuda desde un plano de igualdad, como hijos de Dios que somos todos, hacerles sentir que los necesitamos, han sido conclusiones a las que se ha llegado en todos los grupos.
La Eucaristía ha sido una celebración gozosa y festiva, por ser el día de Santa Luisa y porque vamos avanzado y compartiendo juntos esta enriquecedora experiencia. También hemos vivido con alegría y distensión el bazar solidario, con risas, calurosas muestras de afecto y fraternidad. Un precioso día por el que dar gracias a Dios. Milagros Galisteo candidata al CE
3° Impressions – March 16th: The Asian volunteers were invited to share a workshop about AIC projects in Asia. It was coordinated by Aliette of Maredsous, AIC international Representation Coordinator, and Sumaia Sahade, E.B. member.
A brief resume of workshop: Donation of food : Thailand + Laos + Japan Donation of clothes : Thailand Nutrition project for children : Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia, Laos, Japan.
Visits to prisioners : Philippines Education projects, scholarships for children and for women : Thailand, Philippines, Japan, Indonesia.
Medicines project : Laos + Thailand.
In the afternoon, after a wonderfull cruise to discover Bangkok by boat, Solemn Mass celebrated by Bishop Banchong Chaiyara,C,SsR. Dinner at the new Pastoral Center of Holy Redeemer Church. (AIC Thailand Headquarters). Sumaia Sahade EB Member
This assembly was financed partly thanks to the generous support of : UNESCO - Fondation de France - Compagnie des Filles de la Charité - Missio
Welcome to Pope Francis.
AIC international would like to join the Universal Church in welcoming Pope Francis. In conjunction with the volunteers of the other 53 countries who belong to the AIC, we offer him our love and support. His message of serving the poor and abandoned in simplicity, humility and charity is also our mission. May his reign, supported by our Pope Benedict XVI prayers, bring about the unification and evangelization of Christ’s Church! Laurence de la BrosseAIC International President
World Communications Day 2013
World Communications Day 2013 to Focus on Social Media" SIGNIS WEBNEWS
Why being attentive to the popularity of the social networks?
Read more: http://www.signis.net/article.php3?id_article=5364
DPI/NGO Declaration to prepare RIO+20
Further to the 64th Conference of the Department of Information for the Non Governemetal Organizations (DPI/NGO) that was held in Bonn, Germany in September 2011, a declaration has been published.
The objectif of which is, on the one hand, to contribute to the sessions of the General Assembly gearded toward volunteering that will be held on December 5th on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the International Year of the Volunteers. And on the other hand, to prepare the Conference of the United Nations about sustainable development (Rio+20) that will be held in Rio in June 2012.
For more information, download the complete report
Template for project's presentation on AIC Website
1.- Name of the project: “Salgamos adelante” (Let's go forward)
2.- Country: Mexico
3.- Explanation of the focus given to the project (WHAT, WHO, WHERE?)
Support to blind people or those with any kind of visual impairment so that they can go forward on their own. This project is implemented by the volunteers from AIC-Puebla, in Mexico.
4. Objectives (WHAT FOR?)
To strengthen their self-esteem, integrate them into the world of work and also to raise awareness in society so that it will support such a project. We hope that for some of the blind people and part of the society, there will be an opportunity to commercialize the products developped in the project.
5.- Possibilities – Justifications of the Project (FOR WHICH REASONS?)
Before, a lot of the blind people from our Project were begging in the streets to survive, which is undignified as they have skills and capacities to work. That is why the volunteers spoke to them; after that, 65of them agreed to join the group and are now working.
6.- Strategies – Activities – Methods (HOW?)
Through conversations about self-esteem ; vocational training ; micro-credits and materials to develop their products; through a revolving fund that is used for buying materials to make, among other things, handicrafts to sell, buy cleaning products and sell fruit, traditional sweets, shoes, peanuts, cookies, pinatas, etc.; by networking with other associations and the government, so that they can sell their products in commercial places; by creating a music band too: a conductor has been found and as time goes on, they will be able to liven up feasts and religious events.
By encouraging them to play “volvol”, using a ball with little bells.
As far as spirituality is concerned, they are preparing to receive the sacraments.
7.- Action Plan (WHEN?) From 2009
1st step – Observation of the context: elements of the system and how they interrelate.
The AIC volunteers began with visiting people at home. On the basis of the socio-economic and domestic situation and information about their skills, the type of help to offer is decided, whether through micro-credits from a revolving fund, that they have to return according to the personal agreement they signed or through incomes to invest in materials for them to develop products.
8.- Project Coordinator: Marcela Sesin.
Local President of the Vincentian Volunteers of Puebla, A.C.: Carolina Cervera
9.- Emails: email@example.com
Presidenta local: Carolina Cervera: firstname.lastname@example.org
Template proposed by Sumaia Sahade (AIC-Brazil), EB member in charge of AIC Communication
UN: DPI/NGO: International NGO Conference in Bonn –
During this conference, Rose de Lima Ramanankavana, from AIC-Madagascar, AIC Project Coordinator for Africa, made a contribution about:
"Civic Engagement and Voluntary Actions for Achieving Sustainability". For more information and to download Rose's text, see:
open life webcast and scroll down to Roundtable III)
The full text is attached.
Non-governmental organizations and civil society are invited to attend the 64th United Nations DPI/NGO conference, “Sustainable Societies, Responsive Citizens” to be held from Sept. 3-5 in Bonn, Germany.
Over 1,500 members of civil society are expected to gather to discuss volunteerism and sustainability in high-level plenary and workshop sessions.
Among them, AIC that will be represented by 3 of its members:
- Laurence de la Brosse, AIC International President ;
- Rose de Lima Ramanankavana (AIC-Madagascar), in charge of AIC projects in Africa and former AIC Vice-president, who will speak in Round Table 3 about "Role of Civil Society in a Fast-changing World: Civic Engagement and Voluntary Action for Achieving Sustainability";
- Anne Sturm (AIC-Germany), former AIC international president, who took part in the preparatory work of the conference.
The conference also offers NGOs a strategic opportunity to mark the twenty-year review of the groundbreaking UN Conference on Environment and Development. The event is organized by the German government, the City of Bonn, the NGO/DPI Executive Committee, the German NGO focal group and UN Volunteers. Young people are particularly encouraged to attend.
plus d'info sur ce sujet)
International Labour Organization
On June 16, 2001, the International Organization of Work signed a convention about decent work for domestic workers.
AIC contributed in the elaboration of this convention via testimonies, particularly in Brazil. The beneficiaries of this convention are mainly poor women, very often migrants. Lots of them are partners in AIC projects, for example in Lima.
(learn more on this event)
New Spiritual Sheets
From now on, you can download the 2011 Spiritual Sheets: "Let us be guided by Sainte Louise". Numbers 1-2-3 are available under heading "Publications".
News from AIC Haiti president: “some volunteers have lost members of their families, their homes… We are living in the street and we’re lacking everything – water, food, shelter… We thank you for your prayers and all you are doing for us”
Let us help AIC Haiti to fonction for the poor again with our prayers and our generosity;
You may send your donations, mentioning “for Haiti” to the AIC account : IBAN: BE62 3100 3971 9061
AIC Madagascar - 2009 SYSTEMIC CHANGE AWARD WINNER
The Commission for Promoting Systemic Change has “decided to award just one Startup Grant this year” to the project TSIRY in Farafangana,Madagascar - “Against poverty and for education for all, acting together”.
Our best wishes to AIC Madagascar! May this project generate a systemic change in the communities of the South East Coast and others in the country.
To read more ...