Latin America receives $2.1 million for rural development

.- Efforts to assist the disenfranchised in Latin America received a shot in the arm from the Populorum Progressio Foundation to the tune of $2.1 million following the foundation’s most recent meeting. 

The new funding was agreed upon at the July 9-12 meeting of the Populorum Progressio Foundation’s administrative council in Guadalajara, Mexico. The contributions, which come mainly from the Italian Church, total $2,108,300 and will be distributed to some 200 new development projects.

The projects aim to support the poor indigenous mixed race and Afro-American rural communities of Latin America and the Caribbean, according to a communiqué released by the foundation yesterday.

The foundation explained the plight of the poor in these areas, saying, "Indigenous peoples and 'campesinos' represent a high percentage of the population of Latin America. The rapid process of urbanization 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 marginalized and lack protection, on many occasions unjustly losing ownership of their lands.”

Support for these at risk communities has included numerous Popes, including Paul VI, Servant of God John Paul II and Benedict XVI.

This year the countries that presented the greatest number of projects were Brazil (39), Colombia (35), Peru (27) and Ecuador (18).

The process for presenting a project for funding involves various ecclesial communities and by pastoral groups submitting an application for the project to the local diocesan bishop, who then passes the application along to the administrative council, the foundation 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 centers; 12.3 percent to professional training, communication, tools and publications; 5.14 percent to healthcare: medical equipment and staff training," according to the administrative council.

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.

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