CJI hosted an “Open Doors Day” with Fr Bill Robins on 6 September 2016. Fr Bill spoke about the work of the Jesuits in Nepal, and especially focused on their educational work and gave some history about how this work has expanded over the years. His stories brought to life the wonderful opportunities that come with an education and how major differences can be seen in the lives of people, in villages and families, in just one generation.
Fr Bill also brought us up to date on the response to the devastating earthquake that hit Nepal in April 2015. Following the Jesuits’ initial emergency relief program that reached over 7,000 households in more than 60 villages, the work moved into a reconstruction and rehabilitation phase. Locally, the coordination of this phase was undertaken by the newly formed Nepal Jesuit Social Institute (NJSI) and, more broadly, support was coordinated by the Xavier Network (XN), of which CJI is a member.
The great advantages to donors and to CJI of addressing crises like the Nepal earthquake through the Xavier Network include access to XN’s considerable experience and expertise in responding to emergency situations, a wide network of on-the-ground contacts through Jesuits and their social agencies around the world, and the coordination of relief efforts between members of XN so that duplication is avoided and the impact of resources is maximized.
CJI’s International Programs Coordinator, Miriam Lopez-Villegas, provided an update at the Open Doors Day event on CJI’s role responding to humanitarian emergencies through XN. To date, in Nepal, people in 11 districts have been assisted by Jesuit programs, which include the provision of shelter and food, medical attention, rebuilding schools, psychosocial support and livelihood assistance. Canadians have generously given more than two hundred thousand dollars to these programs.
The Open Doors Day included a question and answer session for those in attendance, as well as refreshments and a photo exhibition featuring Nepal. Thank you to all who came out and supported this event!
Fr Bill is returning to Nepal where he has served for 39 years. We wish him well and thank him for giving us such a vivid picture of the work of our partners there.