Emmaus International

The Covid-19 pandemic will have a long-term impact on our movement and the world in general. During this crisis period, Emmaus International wants to help you understand what life is like for groups right now, the difficulties they face and community life which, despite all odds, is continuing. This includes initiatives to support the most excluded which are maintained, or put in place, to not lose sight of why we exist: to serve first those who suffer most.

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Reports from the field!

Although work is grinding to a halt in many countries, the Emmaus groups are mobilised and life goes on in the communities. They continue to be outward looking and have not forgotten those who suffer most. Initiatives are being set up or maintained around the world to guarantee the solidarity of the Emmaus movement. Here are some examples of what is happening in the four corners of the world:


International Forum of Solidarity 

The International Forum of Solidarity (I.F.S.), as a humanitarian organisation, has been asked by the Bosnian government to provide support to vulnerable people. Today, some of their initiatives are focussed on distributing food parcels to two particularly vulnerable population groups: dependent elderly people and families with children.  Due to the health crisis, I.F.S. is faced with an increasing number of requests.


Emmaus Alternatives  (France) 

During the epidemic, people living on the street are in a more precarious situation and have greater exposure to the virus. Two weeks ago, the town of Montreuil (near Paris) working together with Emmaus Alternatives, opened up a day centre at a municipal gym for homeless people. This is a place which respects the health guidelines in place and distributes essential hygiene kits.

Solidarity and mutual assistance in the Sahel
 (Burkina Faso) 

Following instructions from the Ministry of Health, the district of Yako in northern Burkina Faso set up a Rapid Response Team on coronavirus at the start of March. Solidarity and mutual assistance in the Sahel (S.E.M.U.S) is part of this team. “Today S.E.M.U.S is working to raise awareness among its service users, partners and the population on prevention and symptoms of the disease. Along with other civil society actors, we also participate in information and advocacy meetings", explains Maurice Ouedraogo, Head of the Solidarity Initiatives Department at the association.

Emmaus Amor e vida  (Brazil) 

In view of the food insecurity which is threatening thousands of independent workers and the homeless in Fortaleza, a city in Northeastern Brazil, the Emmaus group, Amor e vida, joined a solidarity movement called “Supera Fortaleza”. Local authorities, non-governmental organisations, companies and citizens have joined forces to collect and distribute food and personal hygiene items to the most vulnerable. Solidarity is one thing this virus cannot take away from us!

Pollee Unnyon Prokolpo  (Bangladesh) 

Pollee Unnyon Prokolpo (PUP) is a rural development NGO based in the province of Rajshahi, northern Bangladesh, focusing on handicrafts and fair trade activities. Faced with this health crisis, members of PUP are manufacturing their own masks and cleaning products for hands (a mixture of bleaching powder and detergent) and distributing these to the craft workers they support along with people in neighbouring communities. The NGO is also running awareness initiatives with the population to respect the hygiene rules in place. “We collect and print brochures from different organisations on coronavirus and distribute these to our craft workers and members of our community”, explains Mashruqul, Programme Coordinator at PUP. 

PUP is also working to provide food assistance (rice, pulses, potatoes, oil) to around one hundred families of very poor craft workers. “Our long-term goal is to be able to help nearly 700 families, whether those of craft workers who we support through our social action or people living in neighbouring communities. We are aware that due to the lockdown, “day-to-day” workers will not have the means to buy food, as they will no longer be able to earn money to meet their basic needs”, Mashruqul warns.