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We definitely don’t miss out on life (Part II)

Weaving networks

In the face of the various needs that are arising in the midst of the pandemic, one strategy is taking on greater importance: the strength of networks in the midst of crises.

The common denominator of social organizations in the emergency has been networking. Networks of community leaders who never let down their community, nearby food stores, businesses, institutions and volunteers, all of whom are committed to supporting, helping and accompanying those in greatest need.

In Bolivia, for example, the UNISOL Fundation has not stopped looking for ways to weave links with other organisations to help the most vulnerable people. Everyday its community leaders are accompanying those who are going through the most difficult times. Those who work there devise all kinds of initiatives to raise funds that can help solve those with most pressing needs. In early May, they launched the campaign Todos Podemos Donar (We Can All Donate), which has been accompanied by volunteer initiatives such as the virtual concert held on the 17th May.

Also in Bolivia, at the Casa de los Niños, various initiatives have been launched both collectively and individually. Ani Hernando, a volunteer from milONGa, devised a strategy to raise funds, by putting her professional experience, as a specialist in physical exercise and lifestyles, at the service of the campaign. With this proposal and with the support of many friends, she managed to raise €1000 in less than a week, which will support the community that hosted her when she volunteered in Bolivia in 2018.

The Society of the Focolare Movement (SMF) one of milONGa‘s partner organizations, is accompanying the emergency care in the Jardim Margarida and Quilombo do Carmo projects in Brazil. 287 families in the two communities have been assisted through the delivery of emergency kits and personalised accompaniment of their needs. However, in spite of the fact that the number of families requiring attention has been decreasing, the situation of those who need it is getting worse, which implies more networking will be needed to be able to attend to the most basic and immediate needs, but also to accompany, encourage and help each other to create new ideas that allow a better accompaniment.

For this reason, the SMF, Sumá Fraternidad and another milONGa partner organization for the Mesoamerican area “Promoción Integral de la Persona para una Sociedad Fraterna” (PIP), have initiated a process of accompaniment for the social organizations linked to the milONGa volunteer project in order to build relationships, to share experiences, to highlight needs and to join efforts to respond to the emergency in the vulnerable areas where the pandemic hits most strongly.

Particularly in Mexico City, Leslie Muñoz and her friends started an online volunteering “from home”, organizing the collection and distribution of weekly groceries, for the benefit of families, among whom are mainly single mothers, the elderly and families with sick members. The initiative is also bringing in many adults who are donating what they can. They have managed to assist people who lack money to buy their medicine because they do not qualify for Social Security.

Within the framework of this campaign, to date, more than 300 groceries have been delivered, an initiative that has increased during United World Week (UWW) by promoting a solidarity marathon through which people participated in a virtual race by donating to the groceries drive and receiving a diploma of fraternity in return. The initiative is part of the campaign organized by Cáritas Nacional #FamiliasSinHambre #DonaDespensas. All this to give a sense of communion and testimony of unity in assisting those most in need.

At the same time, special masks are being distributed for people who need greater protection and sanitary material in some of the hospitals. Ways are also being sought to raise funds for the Centro Social Integral Las Águilas (Mexico City) and the Colegio Santa María (Puebla), institutions that are part of the milONGa network, where the participation of children in educational activities is at serious risk because of the severe economic and social consequences caused by COVID19 among many low-income families.

Against this backdrop, there is no doubt that in these months the strength founded in creating networks, of weaving together, of finding allies. We find volunteers to accompany this path that is discovered as the days go by and the needs become clear.

You, too, can be part of this network, of this joint fabric together
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