A brief reflection on the notion of Justice.
One definition of Justice that speaks to me is: Right Relationship – the understanding goes: If I don’t pay someone a fair days pay for the work they have done for me then I am not in ‘right relationship’ with that person. If I knowingly wear products that have been produced by slave-like labour then I am not in right relationship with the producers of my clothes. If I am having an affair with another person then I am not in right relationship with my spouse and children. If I am burning fossil fuels with no regard to the consequences that I am not in right relationship with the natural world.
Further, it is often said that we cannot have peace without justice. If we abuse, neglect, take advantage of our relationships then we will not experience peace nor will we help to create a peaceful world.
Establishing and nurturing good relationships is central to the notion of Justice. This includes our relationship with money, alcohol and food – but more on this in a later post.
Volunteer in Brazil, with the support of CAFOD Lancaster & Salford and the Jesuit Fund for Social Justice, will be running a Lenten Programme of Reflection in March & April 2014
The programme will enable participants to explore their spiritual journey and the role that justice plays in that journey. The programme has been designed for people who support organisations and charities that work for justice at home and overseas.
The programme will take participants deeper into their own spiritual landscape helping them to identify the major influences on their journey and the values that sustain them in their work.
We will keep you posted on the dates and venues for the programme.
Who would have thought that Indian curry, Brazilian Samba and a Yorkshire man would be the mix to enable young people to learn to play music!
Tom Ashe, a musician from England, works with young people at the To Ligado project in Santa Teresa, helping them to participate in the the rich musical traditions of Brazil.
To help finance the purchase of instruments Tom runs a curry club once a week. So the next time that you are Rio and you fancy a curry then do make your way to Tom’s place for a night of Indian curry and Brazilian Samba served up by a hairy Yorkshire man!
You can find out more about Tom and his work at: http://en-tomashe.blogspot.com.br/
On Wednesday 08 Jan the trustees met to review the work of VinB over the last 12 months.
The trustees were very happy with how the micro loan project is developing. In 2013 the project enabled six families to invest in their farms and generate addition family incomes. Over the course of 2014 we hope to support more families. Oliveira, a local Brazilian and Agronomist, has now taken over the coordination of the projects as Martin has now returned to his homeland in Slovakia. Schools in the UK are engaging with the projects and greater understanding of the challenges faced by people living in semi arid conditions is being developed.
Similde & Fabiana
Our four volunteers, Martin and Martina from Slovakia and Dave and Shelagh from the UK have done some great work with communities in Rio and Cristino Castro. Building on the strengths of the work our international volunteers have done over the years we are now moving towards supporting more Brazilian volunteers to engage in their communities.
Dave & Shelagh Richardson
During 2013 VinB worked with over 500 young people from across the Northwest of England, engaging participants in inter-active development education activities. Evaluations were very positive and requests from schools are already coming for 2014.
St John’s Chorlton
VinB is very grateful for all the support that we have received from organisations like CAFOD, Assumption Lay Volunteer Programme, volunteers, schools and individual donors.
We are looking forward to the joys and challenges of 2014.
We have just received news that Beth’s father has passed away.
On the behalf of all connected to VinB I would like to extend our heart felt condolences to Beth, her mum and all the family.
Our thoughts and prayers are with them at this time of great sadness.
Jose Oliveira Filho has taken the reigns of the VinB Micro Loan project.
Oliveira lives in Cristino Castro, he is a great friend of VinB, a skilled agronomist, an active member of the local parish, founder and secretary of the local Rotary Club and well respected member of the local community of Cristino Castro. We could not have found a better person to take over the coordination of the Micro Loan Projects.
Jose Oliveira Filho
I would like to extend our warmest welcome to Oliveira who will be a key person in the work of VinB over the coming months and years. Seja bem vindo!
Joe reflects on the comings and goings of 2013
I know many people for whom 2013 was a very difficult year, the loss of loved ones, illness, redundancy, depression. My heart goes out to all those who have suffered and continue to suffer in body, heart, mind or soul.
For me personally 2013 was a good year not because of any major happening, great events or sudden change in fortune. It was a good year because I felt and feel much more in tune with life. Not that I don’t still experience those dark nights of the soul but generally I feel more connected to what is really important. An indigenous community in Brazil define poverty in this way: ‘You are poor when you are disconnected from the Great Spirit, when you are disconnected from community and when you don’t have enough to share’.
I find profound wisdom in this simple definition. My goal in 2013 was to recognise my own poverty and journey towards restoring right relationship with the ‘Great Spirit’, right relationship with my community, which includes family, friends, people in our local communities, people in Brazil and my relationship with the natural world. It was also to develop right relationship with material well being – to have enough to share but no more than that.
I will spend the rest of my life on this journey as I have barely begun to restore and develop all of those relationships but I now feel that I am on the camino (way), I have taken the first step. I know that keeping on the camino will involve nights in cold, dark caves; climbing steep mountains and swimming in ice cold water but I feel that my pilgrimage has begun and 2013 marks the beginning of a new beginning.
In my next post I will try to explain how the work of VinB forms an integral part of this camino.
I wish you well with your new years resolutions and wish all those connected to VinB an ‘adventurous’ 2014!