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Tuesday, July 29, 2008


VATICAN CITY, 29 JUL 2008 (VIS) - The administrative council of the "Populorum Progressio" Foundation, which met in Guadalajara, Mexico, from 9 to 12 July, has approved 2,108,300 dollars of financial aid for 200 new development projects in support of poor indigenous mixed race and Afro-American rural communities of Latin America and the Caribbean, according to a communique released by the foundation yesterday.

  "Indigenous peoples and 'campesinos' represent a high percentage of the population of Latin America. The rapid process of urbanisation of the continent and the imposition of a post-modern culture have isolated these peoples from the social context and from the development to which others have had access. Thus they have been largely marginalised and lack protection, on many occasions unjustly losing ownership of their lands. The efforts of the ecclesial community to defend and assist these peoples have been broadly supported by recent Popes: from Paul VI to Servant of God John Paul II to Benedict XVI. And one sign of such concern is the Pontifical 'Populorum Progressio' Foundation", established on 13 February 1992.

  This year the countries that presented the greatest number of projects were Brazil (39), Colombia (35), Peru (27) and Ecuador (18). A large part of the money distributed is the fruit of the generosity of the Italian Church and the Italian Episcopal Conference, although "Populorum Progressio" is examining the possibility of involving benefactors from the American content in order to increase and diversify its sources of income. From its inception to the present, the foundation has raised more than 24 million dollars, distributed to more than 2,200 projects.

  "The projects presented to the foundation - prepared by the various ecclesial communities and by pastoral groups within dioceses - are first approved by diocesan bishops then examined by the administrative council", the communique explains. "They are all aimed at the integral development of peoples and involve the following sectors: 29.9 percent to agriculture, livestock and small businesses; 33.2 percent to public service infrastructures such as the supply of drinking water, fencing, toilets and communal halls; 19.46 percent to the building of schools, houses and health centres; 12.3 percent to professional training, communication, tools and publications; 5.14 percent to healthcare: medical equipment and staff training".

  At the end of the meeting, a new president and vice president of the administrative council were elected, respectively, Cardinal Juan Sandoval Iniguez, archbishop of Guadalajara, Mexico, and Archbishop Edmundo Luis Flavio Abastoflor Montero of La Paz, Bolivia.
CON-CU/POPULORUM PROGRESSIO/...                VIS 20080729 (420)

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