Newsletter September 2023

Dear members and friends,

Hoping that you have all had a relaxing and positive summer, thank you in advance for reading this update.

1° International Day of Older persons 2023

Seeing that Vivere has been working for the past 11 years to help vulnerable, and often abandoned elderly people who have no roof over their head or means of getting help, we are particularly sensitive to this call to action by our friends at the Belgian branch of Amnesty International. They demand that an international and legally binding UN Convention on the rights of the elderly be set up. This is a demand that we fully support. Please sign the petition below if you too support this cause:

“The International Day of Older Persons, observed on October 1st every year, is a global occasion that recognizes the invaluable contributions of senior citizens while shedding light on the unique challenges they face. This day, established by the United Nations General Assembly, serves as an opportunity to honor and celebrate the elderly, acknowledge their vital role in society, and address the issues that impact their well-being.

Theme of International Day of Older Persons

In 2023, the 33rd commemoration of this significant day revolves around the theme of “Fulfilling the Promises of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights for Older Persons: Across Generations.”

To access the petition: click here:

2° Syria

In July, 21 new babies were given nutritional supplements in addition to the 29 who were already receiving this help in June. In August, 50 new-borns were helped, 2 of whom were new to the scheme.

3°  War Crimes Committed in Ukraine.

The Washington Post reported on a case in Izyum where a civilian couple were tortured by Russian soldiers. Please click on the link below for the article and video:

Mike H was in Izyum in June and met with two Ukrainian prosecutors and our partner, the lawyer Gennady G. As well as providing the legal defence of six war crime survivors in this region, we have decided to actively support this couple in the courts. We estimate that this will cost about CHF 800- CHF 1 200 per case and per victim (i.e. Euros 830- 1240) or perhaps a little more if one of the cases is brought before the International Criminal Court in The Hague. Any contribution, however small, to this fight against impunity, is very much appreciated. Thank you very much in advance.

4° Columbia

Project to give nutritional and educational support to children in Santa Fe and Nueva Columbia in Magangué, Bolivar.

1st Stage (project started on 14 January, extracts from the report received at the beginning of April)

We had envisaged the project starting in Tolu Viejo, a new community for Atucsara Atiscara, in desperate need of help. Unfortunately, this has been delayed due to administrative reasons, and the project has remained in Magangué, and gives much needed nutritional aid and educational support to the children in Nueva Columbia and Santa Fe.

In these areas, the mothers stay at home while the fathers try to scrape together a living, earning between 10 000 and 15 000 COP a day (CHF 2.16- 3.25). This means that in many homes in the community, children only eat once a day. As far as schooling is concerned, reading and writing levels- according to a recent study- are well below average, partly due to the 2020 pandemic.

Children in this project are given nutritional supplements after each lesson or sports activity – a cup of porridge and a packet of biscuits.

The children’s reading and writing skills are reinforced in the following way. 

The children are divided into two categories: pre-school and the first two years of primary school, and the older children from year 3, 4 and 5. The youngest children don’t know how to read. We have started to teach the alphabet and vowels through various activities, especially and most effectively through games. As far as reading is concerned, we started with the DOMAN method; this divides words into different categories. One category is chosen per day (fruit, for example) and five words are revised each week.

The older children have made progress in their reading- fairy tales and short stories are used as sources. A different book is brought in each day to spark the children’s interest.

In addition to reading, the children are also taught how to prepare organic fertilizer, with emphasis on the importance of plants, grains and seeds. Lessons are also given on animals and how to make vegetable gardens, from recycled materials such as car tyres and plastic bottles. Whilst this is an alternative approach, it is very relevant to the children’s lives. They understand the importance of growing things organically, without chemical fertilisers, and appreciate how this can improve their health and quality of life.

The children have planted tomato, coriander, chive and paprika seeds which are now starting to germinate. They have also learnt how to nurture plants from seed.

More than 180 children have benefited from the first stage of this scheme.

The results, after only 3 months, are extremely encouraging. The children have been learning to read and write effectively, as a result of the support they have been receiving, and they now enjoy reading. The snacks we provide are essential for the children’s health, given the problems they face at home.

The following photos are from Atucsara:

5° Ukraine Refugees in Poland

Below is a summary of the aid we have provided in Krakow in the last few months :

  • February- March:  84 people (30 women and 54 children) were given food, clothes, hygienic products, school provisions and medicine.
  • April- May: 122 recipients (37 women and 85 children)
  • June- July: 92 recipients (32 women and 60 children)

Place of origin of recipients : Kyiv, Ternopil, Vinnytsia, Khmelnytsky, Odessa, Zhytomyr, Poltava, Chernihiv, Kharkiv, Kramatorsk, Slaviansk, Nikolaïev, Zaporozhye, Dniepr, Krivoy Rog, Irpen, Rivne, Lutsk, Zolochev, Uman, Borislav, Kremenets, Donetsk, Konstantinovka, Melitopol, Sarni, Bucha, Kherson, Nova Kakhovka.

6° D.R. Congo

We carried out a mission in the Congo from 11-26 September which will be fully detailed in our next update.

We would just like to draw your attention to the following press release:

“The DRC provides shelter to the largest amount of displaced people in the whole of Africa, and the largest amount of people in the world subject to food insecurity.”

Thank you for taking the time to read this and for your continued support.

With our best wishes,

Vivere Committee