Emmaus International

Paul Daroueche joined the Emmaus Movement at the end of 2016, first as a companion in Montpellier, France, then as a member of the group in Satu Mare, Romania, where he has been for the past two years. For the 50th anniversary of the Universal Manifesto, he spoke about the relevance of this founding text to his life as a companion.

"This Universal Manifesto represents fundamental values, an ideal of life: to be able to help, to give, "to step outside your comfort zone" to assist those suffering the most. As a companion, I've had the chance to fix myself, so to speak, thanks to these values of mutual support. Thanks to this, I've regained my dignity and my humanity that I'd lost as casualties of life.

The Manifesto inspires me every day: it's a model of life I aspire to and I try to share it with those around me. It reminds us of values which have been largely forgotten today in Europe and in other parts of the world. Those of 'welcoming others', 'solidarity' and 'sharing'. These values, which place humans at the core once again, are and should remain the leitmotiv of the Emmaus Movement and for us all in our lives.

We are reminded that this Manifesto is the legacy of Abbé Pierre's work. He created the conditions to wage a positive war against poverty and exclusion.

Today we are celebrating 50 years of the Manifesto, and over those years we have come a long way. We are united to defend rights, dignity and the freedom of men and women. Each of us is committed to fighting to overcome inequalities, to assist the weakest, by being attentive to the ills in our society.

The Emmaus Movement has evolved, while still being attentive to the needs of the people. Each community, according to its size, has helped numerous individuals. Today Emmaus has 350 groups present in 37 different countries. That's huge, and we are getting a little stronger everyday thanks to our capacity to work together for a common cause.

However, we have not yet won this positive war. The problems that Abbé Pierre saw during his lifetime are still there today and the inequalities are just as acute. This Manifesto is always current, as more and more men, women and children are living in poverty. Poverty, precariousness and modern forms of slavery remain tolerated, and can affect absolutely anyone at any point during their life, regardless of their gender, age or social class. The positive war is not over.

This struggle that we lead was, and is, only possible thanks to the commitment of volunteers and employees of our Movement. Personally, I am deeply moved to see young adults daring to get involved, bold enough to give their time to support our cause and contribute to Abbé Pierre’s life’s work. Young people are precious, and the Emmaus network needs to involve them in order to progress and to ensure that Abbé Pierre’s values, experience and teachings are kept alive. In 1962, Abbé Pierre told us: "a civilisation is measured by the quality of the objects of anger that it offers to its youth." Let's channel this anger that drives us to wage a positive war.

Ultimately, the Emmaus Movement is a catalyst for change. We create this change, by trusting in our youth and in our strengths. Let's be bold enough to implement this in our decision-making bodies; let's make the voices of the voiceless heard. This requires the involvement of companions in every decision made, on every board, in every meeting. After all, Emmaus was created for them. Let them be actors and participants in their own lives. In this way we can continue to keep the Manifesto alive, as Abbé Pierre's legacy."

20190524 Paul Daroueche

Photo : ©Patrick Piro