Four solidarity projects win 2019 ICUSTA Contest

December 2019

Four proposals for ICUSTA’s Fund for Solidarity Projects were considered worthy of an award by the Executive Committee, and so they decided to give on this occasion four grants instead of three. This decision was confirmed by the representatives of ICUSTA’s institutions. Each of the winning projects was jointly proposed by three member institutions. Thus, once again the goal of promoting the joint work among students and teachers from various ICUSTA universities at the service of those in need will be achieved.

The “Gerardo Rocha Global Solidarity Fund” (GRGSF) was created by the General Assembly of Delegates of ICUSTA during the tenth biennial meeting carried out in Manila, 2011. Thanks to the special contributions made by the Angelicum Foundation, this fund has been in effect and since then it has financed several of our members’ projects, encouraging cooperation among them. The four winner projects will receive ten thousand dollars each in order to support the implementation of the voluntary work proposed.

One of the selected projects is “Chiloé 2020 Mission”, jointly proposed by the Universidad Santo Tomás Chile, the Universidad Católica de Ávila and the Universidad Católica de Valencia. With the local support of the Franciscan brothers on the island of Quehui in Chiloé, Southern Chile, these volunteers will care for the needs of this small Chilean community of 300 families by means of various activities: teaching and playing with children and young people, visiting families in their homes, rehabilitating households, promoting health and attending to basic health care needs, offering catechesis and evangelizing with the Franciscan brothers. This project will serve as an intercultural exchange, one of ICUSTA’s aims, for its participants through the sharing of daily life.

“Vets for Africa” is a project jointly proposed by the Universidad CEU Cardenal Herrera (project coordinator), the Universidad CEU San Pablo and the Universitat Abat Oliba CEU. It will take place in the town of Benga in the Nkhotakota district (500,000 inhabitants) of Malawi and in partnership with the local Missionary Community of St. Paul the Apostle and the Veterinary School of Lilongwe University, in Bunda, Malawi. Its focus will be in the following areas: support for local goat and bovine livestock, through disease diagnosis, deparatization, artificial insemination and training; creation of infrastructure and training for the management of honey bees and for the drying of food; support for the nutrition of pregnant and nursing mothers with the creation and optimization of food resources; and, teaching activities as well as training and evaluation in primary and secondary education. They will also provide Spanish lessons for the missionaries.

The project “Hope and Charity Mission in Palermo” is jointly proposed by the same three CEU Universities but coordinated by the Universitat Abat Oliba. With the local support of the “Missione di Speranza e Carità” in the Italian city of Palermo in Sicily, the volunteers will work on farms, deliver food in the evenings to people who are living on the street, accompany patients in residences and hospitals, and work in the three foster homes for migrants (more than 1,000 homeless). They will also participate in Mass, meetings and prayer of the Mission community.

Finally, the fourth of the selected projects named here, “Social Development in Los Vazquez Quarter,” is jointly proposed by the Universidad del Norte Santo Tomás de Aquino (project coordinator), the Universidad FASTA and IRCOM. It will focus on the improvement of Los Vázquez quarter (a small community of 300 families) in the city of San Miguel de Tucumán, Argentina. The volunteers will focus on the improvement of the neighborhood by means of constructing a community recreational space and bathroom; training for the elaboration and marketing of canned fruit and baking; training for entering the workforce, handicrafts and entrepreneurship; supporting school studies and legal procedures; and training in social project management. In addition, the project will include events for raising food and founds for the community kitchen and dining room, and an internship program for IRCOM’s students.