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Basilian Fathers Promote Peace and Justice at Home and Abroad

March 9, 2023

The Basilian Fathers promote peace and justice and challenge systems of inequality through the Basilian Human Development Grant. Last year, $200,000 was awarded to 45 local and international organizations. The grant provides financial assistance to programs and projects that promote a biblical vision of peace and justice and aims to go beyond helping people directly and to challenge the systems that promote inequality. The Basilian Human Development Grants Committee supports projects that empower the poor and marginalized and, when feasible, involve them in planning and executing the project. Here are some of the projects the grant has supported this past year:

African Family Services Foundation was awarded $5000 to provide vocational training to children in Aweil, Republic of South Sudan whose schooling has been disrupted by the civil war. The school provides vocational training in the trades, primarily in woodworking and carpentry which are high in demand skills. The money went towards teacher salaries, school supplies, and lunch for staff and students. This training empowers the youth to become skilled workers in their community with a means of earning a sustainable income to support themselves and their families.

Students of the Kuc Majok Vocational College receive hands-on training. 

Students learn in demand skills through the Kuc Majok Vocational College.

Burning Passions Theatre received $2000 towards making its theatre productions in Ottawa, Ontario more accessible. Through its Save-a-Seat program, Burning Passion Theatre provides free tickets to low income or socially marginalized community members. Many of the recipients who would not have had the opportunity to attend live theatre otherwise go on to volunteer or gain employment through Burning Passions Theatre. As a result, the theatre company increases the diversity of its audience and staff, while reducing social isolation and anxiety experienced by those living in poverty.

A refugee family attends the Classic Theatre Festival through Burning Passions Theatre’s Save-a-Seat program.

The lobby area is used as a space to raise issues of racism, inequality and colonialism. Indigenous artists were hired to create a display about what it means to live and work on unceded, unsurrendered Algonquin territory. This gives audience members a place to recognize and give respect to the traditional owners of the territory on which they stand.

For the past two years, the Basilian Fathers have funded Lok Manch (People’s Forum), a partner of Canadian Jesuits International, a national platform that promotes the well-being and dignity of marginalized people in India through policy interventions and community organizing. It is comprised of about 100 Jesuit and secular organizations in 15 Indian states and 15 Jesuit Provinces. Many rural areas and urban populations in India lack access to food, adequate housing, education, and health care. This is especially true for groups that the government classifies as Scheduled Castes (Dalits) and Scheduled Tribes (Adivasis). Taking a rights-based approach, Lok Manch’s goal is to establish a vibrant network to help improve the quality of life for 300,000 households. The process is guided by thousands of community leaders who have been trained to provide their local communities with up-to-date information on their civil and human rights. Thousands of households have already been trained on how to access these rights, beginning with obtaining the required identification.

Community members in Kartanaka, India, discuss issues affecting their neighbourhood. Photo: Ullash Muduli

A community leader meets with construction workers to inform them of their civil and human rights. Photo: Lok Manch

Amid growing concerns about the impacts of increasing and intensifying climate change-related disasters on the poor and marginalized, Lok Manch is raising awareness about climate change and solutions on how to create climate-resilient communities.

Children take part in tree planting program to raise awareness about climate change. Photo: Lok Manch

The deadline to apply for this year’s Basilian Human Development Grant is April 1, 2023. Visit Basilian Centre for Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation to learn more.

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