Four social projects in Africa
“All of us, to the extent possible, need to put ourselves in contact with people who are suffering, with the sick, with the poor . . . with those who are lonely, the abandoned.” These words, written by Msgr. Alvaro del Portillo in 1981, reflect his desire to help those in need and bring to everyone the loving and merciful face of Christ. This ardent desire led him to spur forward dozens of social and educational initiatives throughout the world in his years at the head of Opus Dei.
For his beatification, Harambee Africa International is seeking to give a new impetus to that desire. In coordination with the Beatification Committee, the NGO has organized a special collection to assist four of the projects promoted by Bishop del Portillo in several African countries.
1. The creation of a maternal and infant center dependent on Niger Hospital and Diagnostic Centre in Enugu, Nigeria. The Niger Foundation and Diagnostic Centre (NFH) began operating in 1990, with the aim of contributing to the improvement of the health of the people living in Enugu, Nigeria. Today the hospital offers medical consultations, diagnoses, therapeutical services, radiology and clinics for analysis. The creation of a maternal and infant pavilion will contribute to better health care for many of the 1.2 million people living in Enugu.
2. The expansion and improvement of three medical dispensaries and the training of nursing personnel at the Centre Hospitalier Monkole and the Institut Supérieur en Sciences Infirmières in Kinshasa, Congo. Monkole Hospital Center, located in the district of Mont-Ngafula, opened in 1991. Today the hospital, along with the nurses training institute, cares for more than 80,000 patients a year, of which 48,000 are women and 70% of them live in conditions of extreme poverty. The new ambulatory clinics will provide care for 10,000 children each year.
3. The development of a program to fight infant malnutrition by the Centre Rurel Ilomba in Bingerville, Ivory Coast. The country’s continued instability since the war in 2002, and the ensuing economic crisis, have caused a great deterioration in people’s living conditions, especially in the countryside. To alleviate this situation, the project seeks to mount a fight against malnutrition, provide medical attention to 4,800 persons, and offer training in hygiene and nutrition through courses for 500 women, as well as the acquisition of a vehicle to permit medical visits to homes.
4. A scholarship fund for African priests and seminarians who are receiving formation at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome. This project seeks to further the formation of priests and seminarians from African dioceses who are unable to pursue ecclesiastical studies due to a lack of financial resources. A scholarship of 13,500 Euros ($17,000) per year covers all of a student’s costs in Rome, offering the opportunity to come to know the history of Christianity close to the Holy Father and at the service of the universal Church.
Romana, No. 58, January-June 2014, p. 105-106.