Emmaus International

The resurgence of the COVID pandemic at the end of 2021 has made it difficult to predict what 2022 might look like. Will the pandemic waves of the last two years keep crashing down over our heads forever? Do we have to learn to live with the pandemic? If so, how? Can we hope that the crisis situation will lessen? What will the ‘new normal’ look like? In these uncertain times, we’ve asked the four regions of Emmaus International to tell us about the challenges they will face in 2022. The same themes come up again and again: this public health crisis is deepening social and economic inequality and threatening our fundamental freedoms. The Emmaus movement must hold fast, stay mobilised and act in solidarity because 2022 will be a critical year for the future of public health, economies and democracy.

Emmaus Africa

The winds of change are blowing in the Africa region in early 2022. New elected members are taking up their duties and so too will new strategies and policies be adopted to reach the established goals. For the beginning of this term, Emmaus Africa has identified two main challenges and broken them down into discrete goals that the groups within the region will focus on. The first challenge is to ‘strengthen the African groups’ capacities’ in terms of technical, economic and institutional resources. The second concerns ‘education’, which the elected members would like the groups to use as a means of political advocacy against poverty and as a tool to promote democracy. To take up these challenges, the Africa region hope to be able to hold meetings as planned with its leadership bodies (Bureaus and Regional Councils). Preparing for the Emmaus International World Assembly as well as managing regional operations will take up much of the elected members’ efforts at the beginning of the year. 2022 will also be a banner year for support visits to groups experiencing difficulty. The goal is to help the groups get back on their feet and continue taking part in the movement's activities alongside the most excluded. As for the solidarity visits (projects and containers), the actions funded by Emmaus International will be monitored and evaluated to ensure that things go smoothly.

Emmaus Americas

We are welcoming the new year with hope against a backdrop of global uncertainty.

On our continent, the pandemic has hit hard not only in terms of health but also economically and socially. The already existing gap of deep inequalities is widening. Access to high-quality education is increasingly linked to one's social class. The people have taken to the streets to fight, some of the most outstanding events have been the struggle for a new Constitution in Chile, the National Strike in Colombia, among others. 

This year presents us with major challenges both inside and outside the Emmaus movement. Brazil will be holding both parliamentary and presidential elections and the whole region will be watching closely as Bolsonaro's government has been very harsh towards the most vulnerable people and has destroyed many of the rights that had already been won.

Emmaus Americas agreed to organise the World Assembly for 2020, to bring to fruition the dream of holding a World Assembly for the first time in the Americas, particularly in Uruguay. The pandemic forced us all to make adjustments and today, a year and a half later, we are once again inviting you and are delighted to welcome you to the American continent in May this year.

Emmaus Asia

There is a lot to be done in the year 2022 despite the challenges ahead. Emmaus groups in Asia are confronted with surging needs from the communities they serve as poverty, unemployment, hunger, child marriage, child labour and violence against women have all spiked, especially among the vulnerable population. Similar to groups in other regions, groups in Asia are also committed to meeting these needs, while simultaneously continuing to implement their ongoing programmes. 

During the pandemic, most of the support has gone towards immediate relief – food, health, equipment and livelihood support. Further frequent lockdowns have disrupted the economic activities, questioning the self-sufficiency of the groups. It has left the regular programmes starved of resources and we have been compelled to suspend some actions. The pandemic has made the groups realise that they are part of a solidarity movement, a movement that has supported them during the crisis so that they could survive.

It is evident that only collaboration with solidarity can multiply our capacities to solve the colossal problems that lie ahead of us. We are still battling the spread of the virus, especially in rural areas. In this new year 2022, we would like to extend our heartful wishes to all the Emmaus groups worldwide for being there for each other and continuing our struggle to make a difference in the lives of the poor. We look forward to meeting all the groups in Uruguay!

Emmaus Europe

Like the other regions, Europe has to keep navigating through the pandemic by feel and be ready to adapt to new situations.

The first month of the year has already been affected by the rapid spread of the Omicron variant, which has forced many groups to reduce their activities. This is the new normal, and we will have to learn to live in a world of mutant viruses for a long time yet. This is one of 2022's challenges, along with limiting the impact of the pandemic on the most fragile among us.

Another challenge will be for Emmaus Europe to continue its awareness-raising and advocacy work in the realm of exiled persons’ human rights and in the creation of a society that is more welcoming to those experiencing difficulties. In 2022, the European Union is preparing new laws on immigration. They will institutionalise the practice of imprisoning exiled persons in camps upon their arrival and will strengthen agreements with the departure and transit countries to prevent exiled persons from arriving in Europe and to send them back to where they came from. Emmaus groups, for their part, prove every day that it is possible to have a welcoming society that gains strength from its diversity. In 2022, Emmaus Europe will begin a campaign to raise awareness among people who visit Emmaus shops. The campaign will give groups another way to communicate about the alternatives that they demonstrate through their actions. We will also continue to call politicians to account.

Peace remains tenuous here, as evidenced by tensions with Russia and its allies in Ukraine and Bosnia-Herzegovina. Building a compassionate society is more necessary than ever.