Dakar (Agenzia Fides) - "Give back hope to our young people". This is Caritas Senegal's goal during its 54th Ordinary Plenary Assembly, which opened in Thiès on January 13th and ended on Sunday 14th.
In his opening address, His Exc. Mgr. Jean Pierre Bassène, Bishop of Kolda and President of Caritas Senegal, said: "reading the dramatic situations that young people live individually, especially in Africa, we feel concerned as a Church and as Caritas. The constant tragedies on the routes of illegal migrations, human trafficking, slavery and violence inflicted on young migrants are of great concern to us. The young people who remain in the Country also face other challenges, of which the last is not that of employment. This is the reason for the theme proposed this year for our reflection: "Faced with socio-economic challenges, youth entrepreneurship as an alternative. Problems and perspectives".
"Therefore, we must seek, with all those responsible, ways to give hope to our youth", continued Mgr. Bassène. "Because if we are aware of the modesty of our means and of our action, we know, on the other hand, that together with others, including young people themselves, we will find ways to create a better present and give a future to young people" .
In addition the Bishop of Thiès, His Exc. Mgr. André Gueye, underlined the expectations that young people place in the Church. "Young people expect a lot from the Church", he said, "they have the right", even if, according to him, "some poorly informed young people even dare to ask for the complicity of the Church to realize their dream of emigration". All this, according to the Bishop of Thiès, recalls the responsibility of the Church "in the formation of mentalities and consciences, a duty to raise awareness, without forgetting our effort, as an institution to reflect on strategies and perspectives to offer young people".
Senegal is the fourth country in sub-Saharan Africa and the first in West Africa for the number of emigrants. Official estimates for 2011 report that over 400,000 Senegalese have emigrated, but taking into account illegal emigration this number could be two or three times higher.
The delegates of Caritas Senegal at the end of the 54th general assembly, made the following recommendations:
• Include the development of volunteering in a dynamic of animation of strengthening of skills and enhancing their contribution;
• Strengthening solidarity within the network and mobilizing communities within the Church for an adequate response to emergencies and the challenges of integral development;
• Establish an emergency fund of Caritas of Senegal with resources mobilized at dioceses level to allow the network to have a rapid mechanism of response to disasters;
• Identify and invest in new actions in the field of rural hydraulics in a process of reform that entrusts the private sector with the management and maintenance of infrastructures, guaranteeing the supply of drinking water to the populations;
• Capitalize on relevant experiences of youth integration, based on local government partnerships, training system, civil society organizations, technical and financial partners and the private sector. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 15/1/2018)