Jugend Eine Welt's 10 years
"Do what you can and let the Lord look after the rest”: Don Bosco.
It is incredible but true. The Association for Cooperation in Development - Jugend Eine Welt - Don Bosco Aktion Österreich, is celebrating its tenth birthday. It is a good occasion to recall how it began. Here is a brief history.
“I remember it well, when we installed the lights in the office” says Reinaldo, who 16 years ago went to Ecuador as a development worker. He recalls how he rolled up his sleeves to erect a new Centre to educate street children. What began as a tiny office with two machines, then became an institute, TESPA, a technical education centre run by the Salesians of Don Bosco in Quito. More than 60 young men now learn the basics for being mechanics, electricians, carpenters and technicians there.
Today Reinaldo is called Reinhard. For the past 10 years he has directed Jugend Eine Welt. He has always been a man of action, even when it comes to simply fixing up the lights somewhere.
How it all began
On 28.6.1997 a group of young people cam together with Reinhard Heiserer and Fr Petrus Obermüller, to found an association - Jugend Eine Welt. Most of them were ex-volunteers or development workers, and they were motivated by their experience wanting to make Don Bosco's work in Africa, Asia, Latin America Latina and East Europe known to people in Austria. They wanted to re-awaken interest and find socially committed people who would support Don Bosco projects through donations or voluntary service.
Statutes were written up, positions defined. The role of president was assigned to Ruth Radatz-Heiserer. The association was supported by the Missions and Development Office's Fr Josef Keler and the provincial, Fr Josef Vösl.
The aims as laid down in the statutes were ambitious: “The Association aims at contributing to development in Austria, working in cooperation for development, and for solidarity amongst individuals, groups and whole peoples, marked by a sense of Christian responsibility”.
Four main points
From the outset four main points were highlighted, and Jugend Eine Welt has remained faithful to them till this day.
The Association acts as an intermediary and supports projects developed by the Salesians of Don
Bosco and the Salesian Sisters throughout the world: programmes for street children, technical education centres, social bodies, schools etc. Jugend Eine Welt helps actively and looks for means of support. By means of regular contact and field visits the staff gains an idea of the situation and ensures that donations are used in the best way possible.
Young Austrians have the possibility of helping out with a project. There are voluntary service activities run by the Salesians of Don Bosco and the Salesian Sisters in Africa, Latin America, Asia and Europe. There are volunteer projects on offer and civil service overseas (para 12b of the Civil Service legislation) of 12 months duration. “Since the association was founded more than 250 young Austrian men and women have done good work through voluntary service and gained worthwhile experience for their own development” says the person in charge of the volunteers Fr Petrus Obermüller. From this year on the volunteer programme has been financed by Austrian Cooperation for Development.
“Right from the outset it was clear to us that what was important was to inform people in Austria of what is happening in the rest of the world” says Jugend Eine Welt director, Reinhard Heiserer. The work of education to development happens through good journalism, public relations and through campaigns. The “8:0 for a world” campaign using soccer balls reminds people of fair-trade, and through soccer, events, conferences, reminds people of the 8 Millennium objectives set out by the United Nations.
The more that is available, the more can be achieved. Jugend Eine Welt's work is backed by ideals and finance, on the part of people and institutions.
A balancesheet to be happy about
Over the last 10 years Jugend Eine Welt has supported more than 450 projects, collected 15 million euro by way of donations and accompanied more than 250 young volunteers. The Jugend Eine Welt Team has grown over the years from around 18 people. It has information points in various parts of Austria and from the beginning of 2007 Jugend Eine Welt Liechtenstein has started up. An international network has also been set up to allow faster more accurate and effective support for children in need. Jugend Eine Welt works along with many other associations and organisations in the field and has membership of various Don Bosco networks in Europe.
“You must have a dream to be active!”
“Our dream is that countries from the South, one day will no longer need support from the North, that children the world over will have the chance of a better future. but there is still a way to go”. Reinhard Heiserer and his team of helpers and volunteers are ready to do that. There are still too many youngsters without schooling who have to work because their parents have no work and who die because they lack the right medicines.
To respond to such challenges, we need committed people who will set out on this path.
“Each partner who gives us help without interest, who remembers us in a will with a donation helps us achieve this dream of taking a step towards this reality!” says Reinahrd Heiserer, with a view to coming years.
Continue to support the work of Jugend Eine Welt so young people may have the hope of a better existence in this unique world!