Pushing the boat out for solidarity…
One of the Emmaus movement’s objectives is to pool resources internally. Emmaus organisations in Europe do this by shipping goods by container to member organisations in Africa and Latin America.
Depending on what’s requested by receiver organisations, sender organisations in Europe set aside all kinds of goods such as clothing, furniture, and equipment. The goods are then sent to Africa or Latin America in 66 cubic metre shipping containers.
Receiver organisations donate the goods to people in need, sell them in their second-hand shops to generate income for their activities, or use the goods themselves.
Sender and receiver organisations are encouraged to visit each other so they can see for themselves just how vital this form of solidarity is. Members then have a chance to meet and work together to load or unload the container.
Emmaus International coordinates this initiative and has a special fund to cover some of the shipment costs and enable sender and receiver organisations to meet.
Benebnooma, Burkina Faso
To generate income for its activities, Benebnooma has a second-hand shop and hires out an ‘Abbé Pierre’ reception centre. The five containers the organisation received in 2013 have helped it generate income, since it was able to sell good quality items at its shop and furnish its reception centre. Workshops have also been equipped and are used to train disadvantaged young people. Other goods have been donated – clothes have been given to inmates of Koudougou prison and crutches and wheelchairs to disabled people, via some of the region’s healthcare centres.
Clothes sent by container to Nuevo Paris have been donated by the organisation to inmates of several prisons in the capital and elsewhere in Uruguay. Other equipment has been put to good use to make improvements to the organisation’s workshops, which are used to give training to disadvantaged young people, and to fit out relaxation areas for them. Nuevo Paris has also sold some of the goods to pay for training sessions.
Solidarity without barriers
Every year, Emmaus organisations meet to hear about the container programme and how it works. In October 2013, 15 members of 11 Emmaus groups came together for the so-called “container days” in Marseilles, France, including one from the Africa region and another from Latin America.
Luciano Callañaupa Triveño, who is Treasurer and responsible for goods collection at his community in Villa el Salvador, Peru, came to the meeting to represent Latin America. During his stay he saw that “Emmaus is a movement where nothing gets in the way of helping others.” His community received two containers financed by Emmaus International in 2011 and 2014. For Luciano and his community, receiving containers is essential, because that’s how they’re able to sell goods, create jobs and come to the aid of many people.