On October 21- the Marist Foundation for International Solidarity – commemorated its 15th Anniversary of work for children’s and adolescents’ rights through a special event in the General House, The celebration was an opportunity to share the activities and objectives achieved by the Foundation in its first 15 years, through the projects and interventions carried out all over the world.
It was attended by supporters and partners, Marist Brothers and Laity – who have enabled the Foundation to implement development, emergency, and advocacy projects over the years.
During his intervention, Br Ernesto Sánchez Barba, Superior General, said “We are happy to celebrate FMSI’s 15 years of activity. We know that in various parts of the world we have similar organizations in the Institute at national or regional level, and the FMSI in Rome tries to be in contact with all of them. FMSI, together with the Secretariat of Solidarity are of great support to the Institute. They help us to be a prophetic voice and to respond concretely to the needs of those who live on the margins of today’s society. Thanks to everyone for the support and collaboration”.
For his part, Br Ken McDonald, President of FMSI, thanked Br Ernesto and the members of the General Council for their constant support. He also thanked to FMSI Staff, the Board and the Partners and Donors. Speaking about FMSI’s solidarity trajectory, Br Ken said that FMSI has worked in favour of migrant children, refugees and victims of violence, Through Solidarity, Advocacy and Emergency Projects. “During its 15 year of history, FMSI has supported over 400 projects in 65 countries, raised 9,000,000 Euros in funding for these projects and submitted 57 reports on child rights through various mechanisms in the United Nations”, highlighted.
Outstanding presentations marked the anniversary of FMSI. Among them, the participation of Dr. Nabil, representing the Blue Marists, who spoke about the solidarity vocation in Aleppo; Br. Valcícer Fachi, director of the CMI, who illustrated the opportunity to transform society through inter-congregational collaboration, which is carried out through the Fratelli project; and Brother Ángel Diego, director of the Secretariat of Solidarity, that coordinates the advocacy initiatives together with FMSI.
“FMSI wants to continue along this path: works to ensure a better future for those who will be the future of our world. Proud of our achievements, we wish to share them with those who have supported us over the years, helping us to make FMSI what it is today”, said Andrea Rossi, Director of FMSI.
During the event, FMSI presented the “Marist Program of the Year” award to the “Marcellin Juvenile Justice Program” (in Philippines), which aims to offer new reception opportunities as alternatives to prison for the social inclusion of minors at risk and in conflict with the Law. Br. Crispin, Executive Director of the Marcellin Foundation, said: “With your help and with the support of FMSI, we have been able to give a second chance; sometimes many other possibilities, and a better future for children and young people at risk”.
Agnes Reyes, (Volunteer program coordinator of Marcellin Foundation projects) accepted the award and said: “We thank FMSI for the full support and technical assistance for the implementation of the project”.
The “A Better World for Children” prize was awarded to the “MAISHA MAPYA – A New Life”, founded in the north of Chivu (Eastern Congo), by the group of volunteers “Heart Without Borders”. The project is aimed at boys and girls who are victims of numerous traumas such as separation from their parent, the forced escape from their villages, the dispersion of the community of reference, and being the victim of armed conflict, exploitation and forced recruitment.
Professor Cristina Castelli, who withdrew the award, said that, from the beginning, the Marist Foundation for International Solidarity has always been close to BICE (first institution that with its potential and its values has contributed to this great association), and that like BICE (Bureau International Catholique de l’Enfance), it also has the good of children as its objective. The “A Better World for Children” award aims to be a regular event of FMSI and will be awarded each year to the most commendable projects.