(ANS – Rome) – There was a meeting at the Salesian Generalate on Saturday, March 27, called in order to coordinate the various activities responding to the emergency and future reconstruction in Haiti. The meeting brought together the various Salesian agencies active in the vice province of Haiti and represented a significant stage in the engagement of the Salesian Family in the rebirth of the country.
Called by the Salesian Rector Major after his visit to Haiti, the meeting focused on achieving an integrated and shared view of the situation in Haiti after the January 12 earthquake and coordinating future activities at various levels.
Taking part in the meeting were Fr. Pascual Chavez, Bro. Claudio Marangio, treasurer general, Fr. Vaclav Klement, councilor for the missions, Fr. Ducange Sylvain, superior of the Haiti Vice Province, Fr. Mark Hyde from the New Rochelle Mission Office, Sr. Vilma Tallone, councilor for administration of the Salesian Sisters, Sr. Rosangiola Giorgi, FMA, and several representatives of the Don Bosco Network (DBN): the Jugend Dritte Welt (JWD), Jóvenes y Desarrollo (JyD), the International Volunteers for Development (VIS), COMIDE, and Noi Per Loro (NPL) from Turin.
The Rector Major opened proceedings and read the letter he sent in February after his return from Haiti. Fr. Chavez recalled the responsibility of the Salesians regarding the people of Haiti and the need to work for a rebirth, not only physical, but also psychological and human, which needs to be managed and coordinated locally.
Then it was pointed out that as far as the administration of aid was concerned, the Rinaldi Foundation of the Salesians in Haiti was the focus. This Foundation is operating under the supervision of the Fr. Sylvain. Considering the need for highly qualified personnel, the DBN offered to make available to the Rinaldi Foundation one of its own experts. As far as economic aid was concerned, the need to watch over the collecting of funds was emphasized. Estimates suggest that reconstruction will require about 95 million euros.
In addition to Fr. Sylvain’s report, the Salesian Sisters also gave an account of their situation. Of the 14 communities in Haiti, only those in Pétionville and Port-au-Prince had suffered damage; there had been no victims in their centers.
Among the practical suggestions was that of having a Haitian correspondent for the Salesian world in Haiti, in a position to look after the flow of information and to establish a Web site to furnish information and coordinate aid.
The March 27 meeting will be followed by another involving Salesian aid agencies, to be held on Monday, April 12, in Haiti. In this meeting the details, methods, aims, and priorities will be dealt with.