Containers without borders!

Containers without borders!

At the end of September, 12 Emmaus associations met for a training session on how to pack containers when sending material to Emmaus associations in Africa and America. During the session, they loaded a container bound for Cameroon. Here we report on the event.

Since 2009, Emmaus International has organised yearly training sessions for Emmaus associations participating in the containers programme. At the end of September, 12 communities met in Rédéné, Brittany (France) for training on sending containers. Aïcha, from Emmaus Pag-la-Yiri (Burkina Faso), and Nestor, from Emmaus Piura (Peru), came to share their experience of receiving containers.

Aïcha’s testimonial:“We have to express our needs clearly so that the goods we receive are suitable. It is important to load the container well because we have transport, customs and maintenance costs,” says Aïcha from Emmaus Pag-la-Yiri. “Furniture that is too bulky to fit through the doors of African houses should be avoided in favour of flat-packed furniture, which also optimises the use of space in the container. And there’s no point in sending ski clothing – it serves no purpose in Africa .”

The two days of training were based on exchanging and sharing experiences.
“Sending a container is not as simple as it might appear. There are many legal aspects and practical matters to deal with, and solutions can be found by sharing our experiences in sessions like this,” explained Paola Da Fonseca, head of the containers programme at Emmaus International.

After some discussion of the theory, the participants moved quickly to the practice. Over the course of three hours, companions and employees filled a 40-foot container with furniture, electrodomestics, carpets, toys, crockery and clothes to be sent to Cameroon.

Once the material arrives, part of it will be used by the group. The rest will be sold at low prices, raising funds to invest in social and solidarity activities: bakeries, schools, radio, food for children, pharmacies, training, etc.

The members of Emmaus Rédéné, who have spent months selecting goods for the container, hope to have the opportunity at some point to go and see the results of their solidarity for themselves.