Emmaus International

Moon Sharma, who runs the Emmaus organisation TARA Projects in New Delhi (India), is a member of the Executive Committee and 2nd Vice Chair of Emmaus International. She talked to us about her involvement with Emmaus.

How did you come to know about Emmaus?

I first heard about Abbé Pierre and Emmaus almost 20 years ago from my father, Professor Sharma. He'd met Franco Bettoli* on a trip to Italy, and had visited the Emmaus community of Arezzo. He'd found this experience so inspiring that, on travelling to Italy I took the first opportunity to meet Franco and his wife, Magrit, for myself. I stayed with them for a few days, visiting the community and helping in the shop. Each evening Franco would talk to me about the work of the Movement and Abbé Pierre, with whom he worked closely.
I myself was lucky enough to meet Abbé Pierre at the Emmaus International headquarters in Alfortville. Although he didn't speak English, it was clear from his warmth and his Aura that he had a great soul. He was so well-known and yet very humble, acting with courage and strength to help the poorest and least privileged members of society.

When did you join the Movement?

Through various visits and meetings I came to see Emmaus as a big family, helping each other, sharing whatever they had, helping those who had lost the meaning and direction in their lives.

I also had the opportunity to attend the General Assemblies of the Movement in Ouagadougou in 2003 and Sarajevo in 2007. This gave me a better understanding of the strength of the Movement and its objectives, and a chance to meet with Emmaus Asia members. It was then that I made up my mind to become more active in the Movement, which aimed to help the homeless and protest against injustice. In 1999, TARA Projects, the organisation that I run in New Delhi (India), became a member of Emmaus International.

Why did you want to become a committee member?

Since I was actively involved at the level of Emmaus Asia, it was a natural development to become a Councillor of Emmaus International. I learnt a lot in this role and consequently as a member of the Executive Committee. It helped to make me a better human being, more aware of the importance of working to make the Movement stronger.

How do you see the future of Emmaus?

The Movement has achieved a great deal since its beginnings, but we must continue to work hard to make it stronger. We must continue to fight for equal opportunity, a fair distribution of wealth and for our basic fundamental rights...
It's also important to keep the heritage of Abbé Pierre alive. Our generation knows Abbé Pierre, but there is a danger that the younger generation will forget who he was and his role as founder of Emmaus. We have to keep our founder and his actions alive through various means. I think that through strengthening our action and our international solidarity, we'll keep the legacy of Abbé Pierre alive. We have to make our actions more innovative and appropriate to present times. We have to continue to work against the causes of poverty, and to bring about changes to social, political and economic actions. We need to ensure that our work is democratic, collective and transparent at all levels. Our Movement has a very important role to play in today's world.

*Chair of Emmaus International from 1986 to 1999