Carmelite NGO Karit 20th Anniversary
This year the Carmelite NGO Solidarity for Peace Karit has fulfilled its first twenty years of existence. From CITOC-magazine, we asked its president, Father David Oliver, O. Carm., That would tell us what it means Karit and something that this Carmelite NGO has been doing for the needy. This is his testimony.
Twenty years ago a group of Carmelites of the religious Iberian Region (Spain and Portugal), laity, they wanted to make real and concrete commitment to those most in need, with the last, with God’s preferred reality.
The starting point was the reflection from the Justice and Peace that the region was performing. The service among the people with the poor led them to give birth to Karit Solidarity for Peace, the NGO of the Carmelite Family. It is, therefore, an important part of Carmel, always committed to a more just and fraternal world peace. Celebrate twenty years of projects, activities, educational projects and awareness that have approached the Carmelites to the needy, to live and be with them, we helped to think and design future with them, to share goods to reality who have to live not lead them to conformism but to project a different world where the fact born here or there does not undermine the dignity with which we have been created.
Karit Solidarity for Peace is born inspired by the torrent where Elijah receives ‘water and bread’ for a path where you will meet with the widow in Sarepta and their presence will enable the food is not finished. We desire to carry the spirit of Elijah in the defense of many people, our brothers, who as Naboth deprived of his vineyard, what is necessary to live with dignity, that which belongs to them as children of God who are food, school , health... the fundamental rights that help them develop what they have and are. Our presence we want a little breeze that testimony of God, His justice and his bliss. Our ‘few’ become ‘many’ where projects where you do get water, where a service to the most needy in our world is dignifies are made. A ‘bit’ of all it has a ‘lot’ in a pharmacy in the countryside of the Dominican Republic or in a school in Rwanda or Mozambique. We want to be instruments that bring the gentle breeze that changes the hearts of people, which awakens the best of them to be, to be.
A third pillar of our birth twenty years ago is the real presence of Carmelite missions in underprivileged countries. People who receive the announcement of the Good News announcing the Carmelites in those places is where we fixed his eyes as the handmaid of the psalm, to know what to do, what to propose, how to help. The presence of religious missions was the impetus needed to organize and be born. They needed and continue to need the support of development aid projects. It was a way to support a lot of work they performed. We want to be, since then, support and security for the continuity of those Carmelite presences come and show Jesus to transform the hearts of men and reality where they live. Karit Solidarity for Peace is at the service of this process of transformation from the Gospel the sisters and brothers living next to the last, they want to make.
These three points are at the origin of Karit Solidarity for Peace have been forced reference of our doing during these twenty years. After twenty years particularly value that this project is of all, whether the state of life that are or structure where they belong, in Karit Solidarity for Peace is not asked, nor unlike anyone by origin, state of life or condition. They are the last that bring us together, is the spirit of Carmel that unites us is the desire to transform reality who moves us. A second nuance that has helped us and is always present is the closeness with which, in the distance of kilometers and actually collaborate. That meeting in the commitment has always been and the proximity of the family, the sense of belonging and shared identity and project remains grounded. There are no middlemen, we are part of the projects mission and they feel part of this reality in which we find ourselves, of our thinking and our doing.
Karit presences Solidarity for Peace doubles. In Spain in the delegations in which the group of partners (religious and laity) gather to learn and get closer to the reality of the projects that will encourage, meet and finance. Each encourages one or more projects during the year will be made elsewhere in the world. We gather, analyze reality, read from a proposal of hope, we know better through the relationship with the partner and look for ways to involve more people to do it. We started wanting to change reality and that reality, which we are approaching in the distance, which changes us, which transforms us when we put name, situation and context. We currently have open thirteen delegations: Madrid, Valladolid, Seville, Malaga, Barcelona, Zaragoza, Murcia, Elda, Onda, Quart de Poblet, Caudete, Lladó and Vila-real.
The presence really important now during these twenty years has been to the places where we carried out development projects. They are those places where a Carmelite community has done this. Places where men and women have relied on Solidarity for Peace Karit his desire, hope and plan to change things, move coordinates that had or have limited resources to be what they are. They have been much wider communities that religious or religious, where after an analysis of reality have opened it for sharing, between them and us, that reality starts to change, to have another color, discover many times rays light and hope. So our presence in these twenty years has been and is in: Venezuela, Dominican Republic, Peru, Argentina, Colombia, Rwanda, Congo, Cuba, Bolivia, Paraguay, Burkina Faso, Kenya, Mozambique, Timor Leste, Indonesia and also in Spain.
The various initiatives and projects we do can be divided into four main areas:
1. Development Promotion Projects. It is the part that consumes most of our resources. These are projects that are born in the Carmelite missionary presence and to reach our offices looking for ways to accompany and finance. These are projects related to education, to health, to social animation, integration, acceptance of the excluded... related to the basic needs of the projects and how to mitigate these needs by creating personal and community future. In these twenty years there have been projects that have contributed to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals that attempted to perform and that marked the agenda of cooperation until 2015. Today we are looking for ways to develop proposed as Sustainable Development Goals .
2. Awareness and communication. It is a permanent task and often unimpressive. It is the presentation here, where we live and we are, of a reality that needs understanding and solidarity. Sensitizing is to put the past in front of us so that no one forget, to know them that we are all able to love them. A second important task of this dimension is the complaint. We can not remain indifferent to the injustice around us, lack of resources or how are distributed. We must, and we feel called to do so, point out how some of our privileges are the result of an unfair distribution of wealth or the way of abusing trade laws ... We would also be a cry for peace in our world, a shout conflict reporting and / or proposals for solving them and build a different and possible world.
3. Volunteer. During these twenty years it has been changing and growing this part of our doing. Many people have participated as volunteers in different projects. It is a truly transformative experience of life and involves traveling. It is not the same after collaborating with the Carmelite sisters in energizing their community school in the Dominican Republic or monitoring a water pipeline Jose Galvez or Antona, to name some some example. On your return, you value and resitúas your center, you make your life has a different meaning. You, the same that was, but we live different, look different, you value different. Many young people have been able to share this experience and all of them have been discovered as men and new women. Travel south to engage in projects requires a preparation Karit accompanies Solidarity for Peace.
4. Education for development. We develop materials that propose other values, another way of looking at reality and serve to generate commitments. They are educational materials for schools, for youth groups, for reflection of adults. Education is true and real change of engine structures. We believe that the task should be constant and permanent, which should not be left to chance change all that oppresses man who does not make you live with dignity. Our materials want to open windows that present us with another world, do we choose the values that dignify the man. Approaching, know, love and commit to a different world where people come first.
We would like to continue to grow. We share some of our concerns for the future:
1. We want the whole Carmelite Family to know us and feel us as part of it.
2. Grow to other presences that are not directly related to the Carmelite Family of the Iberian Region. We are at the disposal of Carmel.
3. Provide more space and material for awareness and education in the most disadvantaged countries. Let’s change our hearts here and change the reality of others, both there and here.
4. Perform projects or programs greater capacity to transform reality: most organizations involved, networking, greater continuity in the time of our presence in projects or programs. Generate a broader transformation of reality in the Carmelite presence planning.
5. Growing number of partners and branches in Spain or Europe?