‘This village is extraordinary!’ – that’s a sentence Dany Karcher has heard many times from colleagues and visitors. He, the mayor of Kolbsheim, has no doubt as to what makes this place so special – ‘it’s the people, the community, who never fail to show solidarity, humanity, and – let’s dare to use that word – fraternity’.
Welcome to Kolbsheim, a village in Alsace, in the east of France, whose 920 inhabitants have taken up the challenge of living together, with each other and for each other, with some very positive results.
Back in 2013, Dany was among the very first mayors in France to launch the so-called Journée citoyenne (active citizenship day) initiative, which was later adopted by many other towns and villages across the country. Every spring, the people of the village come together for a day and devote some of their time and energy to painting, gardening, and other DIY works that benefit the entire community.
‘What if we stopped waiting for the village council to do things for us and asked ourselves what it is that we can do for the village and for each other instead, even if just for a day?’ – that, in the mayor’s words, is the idea behind the initiative. With this question in mind, a group of eight people recently turned an abandoned field into a vegetable garden. Each family plants something, and everyone gets to share the crops. And the garden is also a nice excuse to spend time together and have a drink in good company.
“Italy’s Western Gateway”: this is one of the names under which Ventimiglia is known. An open door to the French Riviera, with which Ventimiglia shares bonds of geographical proximity and daily cultural, economic, and social relations.
A gateway, not a border, at least until France suspended the free-movement treaties that are part of the Schengen acquis. Since then, Ventimiglia has become a bottleneck where many migrants pile up: the ones who consider our country only as an intermediate stage in their journey towards their final destination across the border.
«More than 20,000 people travelled through Ventimiglia last year» Paola - a member of the local Focolare community – tells me «It is like a second Ventimiglia, considering that our current population is around 24,000. And since the beginning of 2017, about 18,000 people have already travelled through our town!».
The summer campuses of the young people of the Focolare in Italy
According to Marc Augé, a French ethnologist and anthropologist, the outskirts are the place where the problems debated at a national level are extremely real. For the Young People for a United World of Italy, in recent years, the outskirts have become a field of action from which they can start afresh and give hope, give voice to that part of society which often suffers because of the silence by the media and institutions, and switch on the spotlights again on the work of those who commit themselves to this reality on a daily basis.
«We have the opportunity to do more important things than fighting»
The choice of peace made by Nazieh, a young Syrian man who lives in Damascus
A few weeks ago, we received the text of this experience signed by Nazieh, a young Syrian man from a little town near the city of Homs. We publish it as we received it (except for some adaptations for the translation).
«Hello, my name is Nazieh. I am from Syria and I want to share an experience from my life with all of you. I come from a village near Homs. Al Qaeda attacked this village in 2013. They entered the village and they killed about 40 people. Because of this war attack, many houses and all schools were destroyed. Two years later, ISIS attacked my village again, but this second time they didn’t enter the village. I lost my nephew, he died when facing ISIS because of a car which exploded when they attacked the village. Together with others from the village, we decided to help the people in our village: do something for them, bring them some joy to help them have a normal life again.
Roma - Il 19 Giugno 2017, presso la Comunità di Sant’Egidio è stato firmato l’accordo di pace che prevede un cessate il fuoco immediato tra il governo della Repubblica Centrafricana e 14 gruppi ribelli armati.
La Repubblica Centrafricana è un Paese dell'Africa centrale con oltre 5 milioni di abitanti e una superficie di circa 623.000 km2. Confina con il Camerun a ovest, il Ciad a nord, il Sudan e il Sud-Sudan ad est, la Repubblica Democratica del Congo e il Congo-Brazaville a sud.
L'importanza dell'Accordo di Roma non può essere compresa senza una panoramica storica di questo Paese.
Infatti, dall'indipendenza ottenuta nel 1960, il Paese ha vissuto numerosi colpi di Stato ed episodi di violenza politica. Tuttavia, la crisi esplosa nel 2012, è considerata dai centrafricani la più tragica nella storia del Paese. Secondo diversi analisti (Emmanuel Chauvin, Christian Seignobos, ecc.), dopo la presa del potere da parte degli ex Seleka, principalmente musulmani, nel marzo 2013, il presidente deposto, François Bozizé, ha invitato i suoi sostenitori a prendere le armi per difendere la loro patria. Di conseguenza, i numerosi abusi commessi da membri degli ex-Seleka a danno della popolazione, hanno spinto i centrafricani di fede cristiana a formare a loro volta una milizia armata, chiamata anti-Balaka, che ha preso di mira direttamente la popolazione musulmana.
If several African countries are known because of civil wars, extreme poverty, dictatorship, and corruption, Botswana can be considered an exception in the continent. In fact, it is a landlocked country in Southern Africa, mostly desert, rich in diamond resources, sparsely populated – only around two million inhabitants.
Economically speaking, it is one of the few African countries which has experienced one of the greatest growth in the world since the 1960s, out of the exploitation of its very rich diamond resources, but also thanks to the good management implemented by its leaders since independence. As to economic growth, for example, while the rest of Africa experienced an average negative economic growth rate of -0.3% over the period 1965 to 1998, Botswana recorded an average 7.7% growth rate over the same period. Such performance was, at the time, higher than the one of the ‘Asian tigers’ - which performed miracles of economic growth during the last quarter century. In this perspective, this country of reference for Africa multiplied by 11 the standard of living of its citizens between 1960 and 2007 according to the 2008 World Bank Report.
Today, at the Polo Lionello Bonfanti, in the Burchio neighbourhood, Municipality of Incisa Valdarno, Province of Florence, Italy, the official inauguration of a multimedia exhibition of social, civil, and communion economy - "SCiC" – will take place.
Last Saturday the first activity to introduce the Dice of Peace was held, as part of a plan scheduled to be carried out in 6 peripheral and marginalized areas of Cordoba. Behind this initiative, carried out jointly by the Focolare Movement, the Youth for a United World, and the
Office of the Ombudsman of the Rights of Children and Adolescents of the Province of Cordoba, there is the idea of introducing the Dice of Peace through theatre plays, songs, and games that would involve 6 to 12 year-old children who live in complex, stigmatized, and peripheral areas of the city of Cordoba.
2012 - 2016 United World Project - Youth for a United World (New Humanity)
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License and it was made with Free Software released under the GNU/GPL License.