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St Vincent said to us: “Charity allows no rest; it is an ever-growing fire”

AIC – International Association of Charities – is a network of 150,000 local volunteers, mainly women, who work in their local communities to combat poverty in 53 countries in Africa, Latin America, Asia, Europe and the United States.

At the moment, there are over 13,000 activities underway in 53 countries, in Africa, Latin America, Asia, Europe and the USA. Activities are mainly in the fields of education, health and social inclusion. Many AIC activities also have a personal involvement aspect, such as home visits, especially to older people, and visits to hospitals or prisons. 80% of the beneficiaries of AIC’s work are women and their children, who are those most commonly affected by poverty and injustice. AIC is committed to helping them seek self-improvement and independence, in the firm belief that they themselves are vital participants in the fight against poverty.

These activites are undertaken by local AIC volunteers, in response to the situations of poverty they encounter in their own communities. Belonging to an international network encourages exchanges of experiences and best practices, creates synergies and promotes mutual support, leading to a global approach to the fight against poverty.

Here are just a few examples of AIC projects…

Education: “TSIRY” – Madagascar, south-east region

“Now, I am able to read and write. It’s so nice to feel valued and to be considered as a full citizen!” Since 2010, 2619 adults – mainly women – and 1145 children have taken part in the literacy program run by the AIC volunteers in the south-east of Madagascar. The children are given a wholesome meal every day, which motivates them and improves their health and their academic performance. The adults receive a small amount of capital (about 107€) at the end of the training program so that they can set up an income-generating activity (such as a vegetable garden, rice cultivation, fishing, raising poultry, etc.).

Welcoming Migrants: “No one is a stranger” – Italy, Turin

In a block of flats in the city of Turin, 40 families from all over the world, mostly single mothers with children, are learning to live together with the help of AIC volunteers. Different services are on offer to help them with social integration, gaining independence and entering the job market: personal support, language classes, professional training, administrative assistance and other activities to encourage integration. For the children, the volunteers offer help with homework and recreational activities.

 

Training: “Solidarity in Production and Stronger Communities” – Dominican Republic, North and East regions

This is a huge professional reintegration project run by AIC Dominican Republic since 2014. More than 400 people who were excluded from the job market have benefitted from professional training as well as educational workshops on participative and cooperative management, human and family rights, etc. The objective is to find a job in the private sector or to create an income-generating activity from home.

 

Education: “Training to get decent work” – Guatemala, Guatemala City

Since the beginning of 2016, women living in a shanty town next to a dump in Guatemala have been participating in training sessions organised by AIC volunteers (on making piñatas, hairdressing, dressmaking and waitressing). At the end of this training, they will have the chance to set up a small income-generating activity other than the collection and sale of rubbish.

 

 

Struggle against domestic violence: “St Vincent House” – France, Antibes

“I didn’t know mum could laugh!” For 15 years, women who have been victims of domestic violence have been welcomed to a shelter by AIC volunteers, who offer them a community and a family living structure to help them with social integration, gaining independence and entering the job market: personal support, language classes, professional training, administrative assistance and other activities to encourage integration. For the children, the volunteers offer help with homework and recreational activities.

 

Nutrition and Social Reintegration: “Come Dine with Me” – Cuba (nationwide)

In Cuba, the only support elderly people get from the state is a basic food parcel.  So AIC volunteers across the country have started a project where they take these parcels provided by the state, cook appetizing meals with them, and then invite the elderly to come and share lunch with them in their homes. The chance to enjoy healthy food in a family atmosphere both improves their health and helps them to escape from isolation.

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