Emmaus International

Juan Melquiades is the leader of the Emmaus Piura association in Peru and since April he is also a Vice-Chair of Emmaus International. Juan spoke to us about his connection to Emmaus and the challenges which lie ahead.

What has your Emmaus journey been like?

My wife, Carmen and I started some social work in 1986 under the name Comunidad de Amor [Community of Love], but we didn't know of Emmaus back then. We welcomed young people into our home to come and live with us; we collected clothing, food and other essentials from our friends and then gave these on to poor families. In 1990 we learnt of Emmaus in a magazine article about Urracas Emmaus Chile, we wrote to them and they responded, urging us to join the movement. That same year we received a visit from Brigitte of Emmaus International and Manuel Gavilán from Chile, they assessed us in order to formalise our work and to obtain the legal status by adopting our deeds to the name "Comunidad Traperos Águilas Emaús Piura".
Since then I have been part of the Leadership team from the Community, today we have 8 people on the team.
I have also held the role of National Delegate for Emmaus Peru; I've been a World Councillor for Political Action and International Solidarity and also an Emmaus International Councillor in the previous mandate. I was recently re-elected Vice-Chair of the Movement.

What motivated you to become a member of the Executive Committee/Vice-Chair?

First of all I was motivated by my identification with the movement's values, my belief that it is possible to live using just what is necessary for a decent life and by sharing what we are and what we do with others.
My experience and my work on how to keep our movement up-to-date in today's society is something which I want to share and this is another a source of motivation for me to be a member of the Executive Committee.
The role of Vice-Chair is one I took on bearing in mind that it is an important role in service of others so I am doing everything I can to be efficient and transparent in my work.

Which projects or challenges are most important for Emmaus?

Firstly keeping Abbé Pierre's social and political legacy alive and ensuring that there is coherency between our practice and the values we promote.
Promoting our proposal to implement a solidary system in this capitalist society which excludes people and harms our environment.
Taking responsibility for planning and implementing the different tasks that the groups asked us to carry out in the resolutions of the World Assembly.
Encouraging the groups to meet their commitments through good communication and information about management and economics.
Encouraging the creation of spaces to meet and exchange with our friends and colleagues.
Leading by example.

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