The Emiliani Project: April Newsletter

Volunteering with The Emiliani Project

Volunteers make up the entirety of The Emiliani Project staff, so we are looking for motivated people to help us out!  Many people have asked us how they can get involved, so below are some ideas.  You can choose something that is of interest to you, or you can give us other suggestions.  We are always open to new ideas!  At any time you want to get involved, you can register on our Join Us page or contact us at [email protected]

 

Volunteer – Awareness

This is a critical to our ability to accomplish our goals.  We need greater awareness of our project and our mission in Colombia and we rely heavily on volunteers to help.  A few ways in which you can assist with our awareness campaign include:

  • Social media promotion – tell your friends, family, clubs and church about what we are doing.  Direct them to our Facebook and web pages for more information and tell them to get involved by Liking our Facebook page, following us on Twitter and registering through our website.

  • Join our mail marketing team – we have a direct mail marketing campaign in California, but we need to expand.  We are mailing letters to churches and outreach organizations (Rotary Club, etc.) offering our help in organizing mission trips to Colombia.  We need volunteers to help build mailing lists, send out letters and help work with local organizations to facilitate group involvement.  We will provide all of the training and materials needed to get a campaign rolling in your area.

  • Help start a local fan club – we need volunteers to organize fan clubs in your area to help solicit new ambassadors for our cause.  Help your son or daughter start an Emiliani Project club at their school, or organize one yourself with friends and family.  Churches are a great place to organize a group.  Groups can work together to raise awareness or donations for the project.  We will work with you to provide idea and materials for building a fan club.

Volunteer – Mission Trips

If you are interested in working in Colombia, then let’s work together to organize a mission trip.  This is our brand new initiative and we’re very excited about it!  We want to organize groups to travel to Colombia to directly support what we are doing in country.  You can be our point person for organizing a group!  We can work together to design a mission that both meets group objectives and budgets.  Then, we will pre-brief your mission group on everything you need to know about the travel process, the Colombian culture, and exactly what you can expect.  Together, we can organize a safe and exciting mission experience.  We will give you everything you need to start your own mission group…and support you every step of the way.  Visit our Mission Trips page to get started.  Or, you can contact our Director of Missions at [email protected] and learn how to help coordinate trips for others.

Volunteer – The Emiliani Project Gourmet Coffee

We are in the process of researching the feasibility of importing gourmet coffee from Colombia to sell retail in the U.S..  We are going to use 100% of the profits toward building our new children’s home in Medellin, Colombia.  We need your help!!  You can work directly with our Board of Directors, assisting us with local research.  We have a lot of research needs and we need to find coffee retailers willing to sell our coffee.  We would love to have your help!

Volunteer – Fundraising

Of course, building a new home costs money!  We can help you identify ways in which you can help us raise money in your local area.  Or, maybe you have ideas that you want to share with us.  Like I said, we are ALL volunteers here…just like you.  We listen to EVERY idea.

The Emiliani Project: Guest Blogger

St. Jerome EmilianiThe Emiliani Project strives to not only to help children, but the Christian community at large.  As such, we have an open invitation for guests to submit posts for this blog that are relevant to The Emiliani Project and our mission.

About today’s author:  Brandon is an 8th grader at the Saint Patrick’s School in Carlsbad, California.  We offer our thanks for his time and dedication in writing this post.  If you wish to become a guest blogger, please send your submission to: [email protected] as we are eager to hear what you have to say!

St. Jerome Emiliani: Patron Saint of Orphaned and Abandoned Children

Jerome Emiliani was born to Angelo Emiliani and Eleanor Mauroceni in 1481 in Venice, Italy where he grew up.  At the age of 15, Jerome’s father died and he ran away from his home.  In 1506, he became a soldier where he helped defend Castelnuovo, a territory in central Italy, from the league of Cambray – an alliance made by Roman emperor Maximilian I, Pope Julius II, King Louis XII of France, and King Ferdinand V of Aragon.  He was captured and chained in a dungeon.  During his captivity, he prayed to Mary for help and was unexpectedly freed by an apparition.  After being freed, he hung the chains in the Church of Treviso, in Veneto, northern Italy, as a tribute to the answering of his prayers.  This was the start of his conversion to Christianity and service to the Lord.

During a plague and famine that swept Italy, Jerome Emiliani began helping the sick, poor, and abandoned children and later became a priest in 1518.  Fourteen years later, he started a congregation for educating children.  He later founded six orphanages, a hospital, and a home for regretful prostitutes in northern Italy.  Jerome spent the remainder of his life dedicated to serving the sick, especially abandoned children.  In 1537, Jerome Emiliani caught a disease in Somasca, Lombardy while helping the sick and he died.

Pope Clement XIII declared Jerome Emiliani a saint in 1767 and Pope Pius XI recognized him as the patron saint of orphaned and abandoned children in 1928.

The Emiliani Project was named in honor of Saint Jerome Emiliani and his work with the helpless orphaned and abandoned children of Italy.  Our mission is to follow in Saint Jerome’s footsteps by building safe and nurturing environments for abandoned children around the world.

Sources for this post: acatholiclife.blogspot.com, jesus-passion.com, catholic.org

The Emiliani Project: March Newsletter

Medellin Colombia ImageRecent News – Mission Trips to Colombia

If a commission by an earthly king is considered an honor, how can a commission by a Heavenly King be considered a sacrifice? – David Livingstone

The Emiliani Project has begun a brand new Christian mission trip campaign.  In the coming months, we are going to be visiting many churches, schools and other organizations throughout California inviting them to send their missionaries to Colombia to help the children and community of Medellin.  The Emiliani Project will help facilitate mission trips for groups by assisting them with planning, travel logistics, and fundraising.  We plan to offer a variety of safe mission volunteer options ranging from construction projects, to social programs with our children, to ministry in the Medellin area.  We believe that The Emiliani Project’s role is not just to serve the children of Colombia, but also to serve the Christian community at large.  We feel that time working with Christian groups is time well spent toward accomplishing our mission objectives.

The Emiliani Project staff will help organize a safe and comprehensive mission program to fit any size missionary group with any size budget.  Groups will fly into Medellin, Colombia, where our staff will help organize transportation and lodging.  Groups might want to stay in the city, in surrounding pueblos, or at our mission site in Caldas – where we are currently building a home for orphans and abandoned children, approximately 30 minutes south of the city of Medellin.  Our staff will help guide the planning based on groups’ mission objectives.  The Emiliani Project will help coordinate work with the children; furnish groups with supplies and equipment; and provide expertise and assistance in performing missionary tasks.

A sample mission trip might include working on the Caldas construction site, renovating existing structures or erecting new buildings; leading retreats or hosting social functions for our children; visiting the coffee plantation where we grow the coffee beans that will soon go into The Emiliani Project gourmet coffee; and/or working to help feed and house the poor in local community outreach.  Our staff will work with groups to design a mission trip that both meets their objectives and fits their budget.  Then, we will bring the mission groups up to speed on everything they need to know about the travel process, the Colombian culture, what to do and not do, and exactly what they can expect.  We will help mission groups have the best and safest experience possible.

If you have or know of an organization, church or school that you think might want to participate – regardless of where they are located; or, you simply want to organize a group of your own, please contact our Director of Missions at: [email protected], or sign up on our Join Us page.  We are happy to speak to you or your group about upcoming opportunities!

Fundraising Update

We have already begun development of our home in Medellin, but we are far from reaching our fundraising goals.  We will be releasing our final budget estimate for the project soon, but we need your help now.  If you have already donated, then THANK YOU!  And if you’ve been meaning to make a donation, please consider making it soon.

Colombian Child Labor

Colombian Child Labor“There is no trust more sacred than the one the world holds with children. There is no duty more important than ensuring that their rights are respected, that their welfare is protected, that their lives are free from fear and want and that they can grow up in peace.”
— Kofi Annan

You may not see them, but they are there: the invisible children of Colombia working in the dank and dusty mines and quarries. These Colombian children are subjected to workloads far exceeding their youthful physical capabilities. While youth employment is a common practice in most countries and can help young people learn responsibility and skills, this should never come at the cost of a child’s health and education.

Too many Colombian children are working long hours under brutal conditions. The result of such hard work is hugely affecting their bone development, the ultimate possibility of lung and skin problems; and even worse—death.

For some of these children education is non-existent. There is barely enough time in the day for the work they must complete. Statistics also reveal exploitation in the home environment with young girls logging 15 hours of work per week instead of going to school. Yet this is the lifestyle they know and have become accustom to.

With an estimated two million Colombian children laboring deep within mines and quarries, farming acres of agricultural fields, and working numerous other jobs throughout the country the Colombian government recently stepped in to try and help the situation.

Minister Rafael Pardo announced back in November that new policies for the promotion of youth employment would stop Colombian child labor and promote education and reasonable youthful employment. The intention is to avoid children abandoning their studies to seek a living in tunnels and places unfit for young people. This program will be scrutinized by the Youth Employment Committee, which was created to study, review and provide feedback on the issue of Colombian child labor. We can only hope that the program is a success.

Today, we are doing everything possible to rescue Colombian children from unfathomable conditions and get them not only off the streets, but also out of debilitating and demoralizing situations. They need to be cared for and loved and educated and protected in safe and healthy conditions.

Without the strong education we are providing these children, they will never be able to be anything but victims of poverty, prostitution, addiction, violence and more. With your generous support, we are not only feeding Colombian youth physically, but mentally as well; providing them empowerment on every level. Your donations support us in achieving this goal.

Please help the children of Colombia by sharing this article on Facebook or Twitter .

Your comments are welcome and appreciated.

Colombian Education Continues to Improve

“Education is our passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today.”
― Malcolm X

Going to college is becoming more than just an impossible reverie for Colombia children who may not even have been able to conceive graduating high school. According to the article in Colombia Reports entitled, “Colombia govt invests $28M in higher education,” the government has approved more than $28 million for higher education projects in central Colombia.

Bolstering the quality of Colombian education has become a huge focus, and rightfully so for a country that’s aggressively attempting to transform their economy.

According to the article in The Chronicle of Higher Education entitled, “Winds of Change in Higher Education in Colombia and the World: Where Are We Heading?” the number of high school graduates in Colombia increased by 50 percent from 2002 to 2010. It is anticipated that this will increase to another 28 percent by 2014.

The Colombian government is striving to go from 37 percent of college-age students (age 18 to 24) enrolled in higher education to a 50 percent college-age student enrollment rate in only three years.

It is true that a prosperous future for Colombian children is more obtainable with a college education, and the fact that the Colombian government is working tenaciously to improve the Colombian education system gives our organization much hope, but a solid foundation must be formed to get there. Children who aren’t adequately cared for lack the opportunities to obtain even basic education.

The Emiliani Project provides Colombian children that could have easily ended up in gangs or prostitution the opportunity to learn how to read, write, and solve problems so they are adequately prepared for secondary education.

It’s crucial that in addition to a formal education, orphaned and abandoned children are given a safe, stable, nurturing environment with ample encouragement to stay in school.

In order to provide the kind of education and care capable of stifling the vicious cycle of poverty and violence for these children we need your help. We need people to spread the word about our organization’s mission. We need volunteers and donations. How will you help these beautiful Colombian children live a happy, healthy life and realize their dreams?

Your comments are welcome and appreciated.

The Number Of Displaced Colombian Children Surges

According to the article from Colombia Reports entitled, “Colombia ill-equipped to care for displaced children: NGO,” the number of displaced Colombian children surged to 17, 573 in 2012. This far surpasses the amount of children the Colombian government is adequately prepared to care for.

And the numbers are increasing. Beyond malnutrition and sickness, many of these children have suffered extreme emotional trauma stemming from psychological, physical and sexual abuse.

The article in Colombia Reports highlights the magnitude of psychological treatment needed as a result of this. “‘The issues of psychological rehabilitation are the most difficult and long-lasting to work with. [Treatment] isn’t the same at two years of age [as it is at] 10. Each child requires a particular and specific treatment,’ said deputy director of the Colombian Family Welfare Institute Adriana Gonzalez.”

The massive displacement of Colombian children is primarily due to a continuous armed conflict in the nation. It’s been estimated by the Colombian government that more than 600,000 people have been killed in the conflict since it began in 1964. As a result, thousands of Colombian children have been left without homes or family to care for them. These innocent children end up on the streets of Colombia as beggars or worse.

The Emiliani Project needs your help in order to give these innocent children the lives they deserve, complete with a full-time home where they are protected, lovingly cared for and able to receive a formal education.

You can help by simply sharing this article on Facebook or Twitter to help increase awareness and the numbers of those assisting displaced Colombian children.

Your comments are welcome and appreciated.

The Emiliani Project: February Newsletter

Recent News

The Emiliani Project has begun the first of three phases of our first project in Medellin, Colombia.  We are building a loving home that will eventually provide safe haven to 160 orphaned and abandoned children .  We have selected a beautiful property just 30 minutes south of Medellin in the city of Caldas.

Phase 1 consists of the renovation of existing structures on the property, the structural and architectural design, and city site and building permits for the home.  We anticipate completing Phase 1 in the spring of 2013.  Phase 2 will consist of the construction of all common areas and sufficient sleeping and classroom space for 64 children.  We hope to begin Phase 2 by the end of 2013.  Phase 3 will consist of the construction of the additional sleeping and classroom space to support 160 children.  The start of Phase 3 will be dependent on our fundraising efforts.

Visit us on Facebook to see the renderings of the most recent designs.

Volunteer Opportunities

We get many requests from people asking how they can help.  There are many things we need, so here are some ideas:

In the U.S.  If you want to help here at home, our biggest need is awareness.  We have to spread the word on what we are doing as it helps tremendously with our fundraising efforts. Some easy ways to help include going to our Facebook page to “Like” it.  Visit our website.  Follow us on Twitter.  Then encourage your friends, family and coworkers to do the same!  Want to think bigger?  Some other ideas include coordinating a fundraiser event on our behalf.  Our team will come to your city and speak to any size group to help.  Get your kids involved. We have a group of high school kids that formed an Emiliani club at their school to help us raise awareness.  Bringing kids into the solution is a great way to encourage them to learn more about how children in other parts of the world live.

In Colombia.  Feel like getting on a plane?  Come to Colombia!  We have many opportunities for you and your family to work with orphans right now through our partner foundation there.  It’s an experience of a lifetime!  We can help you plan a visit that will be easy and safe.  You can even come to the site of our project and see, first hand, what we are doing.  Want to pick up a hammer?  Great!

Fundraising Update

We have already begun development of our home in Medellin, but we are far from reaching our fundraising goals.  We will be releasing our final budget estimate for the project soon, but we need your help now.  If you have already donated, then THANK YOU!  And if you’ve been meaning to make a contribution, please consider making it soon.

Beacon of Hope: The Education of Colombia

Education of Colombia“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” 
― Nelson Mandela

It’s the second largest city in Colombia, rich with a vibrancy that has become a magnet for lovers of music, books, a wealth of historic museums, botanical parks, beautiful gardens and cultural centers. Known as Medellin, the bustling metropolis offers endless promise for the lucky ones. But for those orphaned and abandoned children of the region all those tantalizing possibilities are beyond their reach.

The Colombian government has worked to improve the higher education system in Colombia, but the orphaned and abandoned children need our help if they are going to have any chance of attending college. Without any family structure, no one to care or feed or educate them, these impoverished youth—over 100,000 living in extreme poverty within the City of Medellin alone—fall by the wayside. Most of them succumb to horrific abuse, child prostitution, pornography, sex tourism and more. In 2011, 45,000 children went missing, were exploited for labor, or ended up as one of the many ravaged street children in Colombia. In fact, 12% of youngsters under five years old not only suffer from chronic malnutrition, but a child dies a horrendously violent death every five minutes in that bleak world of lost little ones.

Their needs are so great it’s a tremendous challenge to keep those that are in school to believe in any kind of promising future at all. Up until recently, Colombia education statistics have reported that only 23 percent of young Colombians (aged 18 to 24) continue their education after high school. Most 8.2% of Colombians live way below the poverty line, living on less than $1.25 a day. Basically, they have nothing to look forward to in just about every level of their lives.

But there is hope. The Emiliani Project has become a shining beacon of promise for these desperate youth. Working 24/7 to provide round-the-clock care and education and housing, Emiliani is bolstering the Colombian education system to greater new heights. Together with a local charitable foundation—Fundacion Gente Unida—Emiliani is building a beautiful haven for these children. A home where so many young people can live full-time, protected, and lovingly cared for while receiving a formal education and at last becoming a productive part of the Colombian education system.

Emiliani won’t stop until all these beautiful young people have the kind of lives they deserve. The education of Colombia is one of The Emiliani Projects highest priorities.  The goal is to provide not only well-rounded intermediate and higher education, but also training in life skills for future job placement.  Every child should have a chance at a life full of literature, music, art, theatre, and so much more. There is nothing more beautiful than seeing the face of despair transform into delight once these children of Medellin are rescued one-by-one. It takes very little to help them. But this tremendous effort cannot be done alone.

It really does take a village to help a village. It takes the power of education and the promise of a future for young people who never believed they could even look forward to one. We hope with all of our hearts you join our efforts so we can truly shine a light on their lives.

Visit our Join-Us page to find out you can help.

Street Children in Colombia

Street Children in Colombia

The New York Times article, “Displaced Residents Grapple With Hurdles of Going Home,” discusses how thousands of Colombian families have been displaced in the town of Mampuján due to 25 years of violent land takeovers by paramilitary groups.

Mampuján is just ten hours away from Medillin, so this article resonated with our organization. It points to a more deeply rooted problem in Colombia. It illustrates the devastation that occurs when violent groups infiltrate an area and use intimidation to gain dominion.

It creates a state of disarray in which the ability to recover becomes mind-blowing. This is how so many families have become impoverished, resulting in an influx of street children. These street children of Colombia are left without proper food, education, health care, and shelter.

According the United Nations, 65% of the population in Colombia is below the international poverty line. When Colombian families don’t have homes or a means of income, proper parenting becomes compromised. Colombian children aren’t adequately fed or supervised, and education is often non-existent. This typically results in Colombia children being exposed to physical and sexual abuse, and violence.

The article breeds hope as it explains how the government is implementing a nationwide program to bring back tens of thousands of displaced farmers to rural communities, like the one in Mampuján, that have been oppressed for decades by paramilitary groups, guerrillas and drug traffickers. Faith is tested when it becomes apparent just how complicated the logistics of retrieving land for these displaced families actually is.

Paper work is lacking for long-abandoned homes, the process is slow and fear still looms. The wound is deep. But as our organization knows well, healing is possible. We can save the street children of Colombia with your help. There is power in numbers.

We love the story in the article of how 32-year-old activist Mayerlis Angarita visits remote villages encouraging people to make land claims, despite threats on her life. It’s truly inspiring. And we revel in glimmers of hope.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on this article. Please comment with your feedback.

The Emiliani Project begins it’s first home!

 

The Emiliani Project in partnership with Fundacion Gente Unida and the city of Caldas, Colombia has begun phase one of a three-phase home construction project.  After many months of research, The Emiliani Project has selected Fernandez & Cia as the builder for El Hogar de San Emiliani (The St. Emiliani Home).  F&C will build the home using modular and light construction material and modern construction methods, typical to that used in the United States.  Many materials will be imported from U.S. companies, like Boise Cascade and Louisiana Pacific.  F&C is committed to working alongside The Emiliani Project with the goal of building a wonderful new home for 160 beautiful children.  The home will include dormitory-like living facilities; kitchen and dining facilities; library and education facilities; recreation facilities; laundry facilities; medical, dental and psychological offices; boarding facilities for guests and volunteers; and administrative offices.

Phase one of the project includes the renovation of existing structures on the property; architectural design of the complete project; soil, hydraulic and topographic studies; and final approval from the city.  The property is located here.

Phase two will include all necessary construction to support the care of 64 children, including a new school.  Phase three will expand the home to care for 160 children.  Phases two and three will start as soon as The Emiliani Project has received sufficient donations.  More detailed designs will be completed soon and posted to the site when they are finished.

For more information on Gente Unida, go to www.genteunida.org.co

For more information on F&C, go to http://www.fyc.com.co/