Reflections on the Annual Meeting 2018
On a rather cold and wet December 11, 14 persons from all over Switzerland attended our 2018 annual meeting in order to hear about the works of our charity.
The President, Urs Müller, reported in detail the work of Partner sein in 2018. All foreseen projects for 2018 could be completed as proposed without encountering major problems. Due to reduced income from the Lenten Ecumenical Campaign, the budget had to be drastically reduced. Further budget cuts are probable in the future. Interestingly, a number of private persons have shown their willingness to support individual projects with large donations. At the next session of the National Synod in June 2019, the revised version of our legacy brochure (endowments) will be presented for approval. It is hoped that this will help us to generate more income. Further challenges for our charity are the continuation of collections in the Old Catholic and Swiss anglican parishes in support of Partner sein, to search for endowments from charitable foundations, as well as ensuring continuity in the composition of the commission. In the coming days, Project list 2019 will be published. We would like to draw your attention to a new project to assist long term residents of a refugee camp in Mozambique. In 2019, the Ecumenical Campaign celebrates 50 years. To celebrate 50 years of cooperation between the churches, a celebratory church service will be held in Bern on April 3, 2019. In the Lenten Calendar 2019, 50 strong women are portrayed. 1 of the projects is a Partner sein project. The 3 church charities strongly support The Responsible Business Initiative (Konzernverantwortungsinitiative) which the Swiss people will soon be called to vote on.
In a following discussion Urs Müller and the project leaders answered various questions relating to current and previous projects. The idea of a presentation of all school projects was mooted, the annual rose sale day as well as other fundraising activities were discussed. A question was also raised about the possibility of donating per mouse-click (to be followed up).
Three of our projects in Africa have been visited by the project leaders or persons close to Partner sein (at their own cost). In the 2nd part of the AGM, Beatrice Reusser Rüthy, project leader for english speaking Africa and Asia spoke about her visit, together with her husband Nick, in April 2018 to our work in South Sudan and her meeting with our local project leader Bishop Wilson Kamani. Owing to the ongoing civil war, such a journey must to be carefully planned. Beatrice Reusser reported on the newest country in the world and of the hope of the people for peace and stability when independence was declared in 2012. The following civil war has displaced 4.6 million people; 300’000 of which live in refugee camps with little hope of improving their situation. With an annual population growth of 3.3% malnutrition and analphabetism is rife. The country is rich in natural resources, but no functioning infrastructure. Beatrice Reusser reported on the large presence of NGO’s, from the catastrophal road conditions and lack of transport capabilities in the country, from the sever climatic and agricultural conditions and last, but not least, from the criminality in the capital city of Juba.
Our project, “Education for young children” in the anglican diocese of Ibba, 300 km from the capital Juba, was founded by Bishop Wilson Kamani who had the idea of providing vocational education to pregnant girls, who had dropped out of schools. In the meantime, various training opportunities are offered to young people and more will follow. Despite continued difficult conditions in the country. Partner sein has supported this project since 2011. With an impressive show of photographs Beatrice Reusser spoke of their visit, from adventurous flights with rickety small planes, from the cheerful singing of the schoolgirls on their arrival, from the peaceful atmosphere in Ibba, from living conditions in small farmhouses and the equally small Bishop’s residence to the successful construction of the cathedral church in Ibba with its multicoloured plastic chairs for the worshippers as well as from the impressive vision and initiative of Bishop Wilson Kamani. The diocese also has a kindergarten, several primary schools and a secondary school, all financed by donations. Our project continues in 2019 with an extension of the school buildings. Apart from the land for 2 new classrooms, a toilet block and a water supply need to be financed. A short description of the project can be found in the 2019 project list.
With a small present, Urs Müller thanked Beatrice Reusser for her presentation and for putting her heart and soul into this important project. Thanks were also expressed to the commission members for their ongoing work, to the Bishop and National Synod for their support and trust in the work of the commission as well as to the guests for their interest and support. The day was rounded off with further discussion over drinks and snacks.