The panel discussion initiated by KOLPING INTERNATIONAL and the One World working group gave some deeply moving insights into the solidarity of the global Kolping family. Moderated by Yvonne Willicks, the guests from Myanmar, Burundi, Rwanda and Ukraine, some of who joined the discussion live from their countries, talked about what was going on in their countries. They all agreed that they had missed the personal meetings during the pandemic. Many Kolping members were at immediate risk of losing their livelihoods as a result of COVID-19. Everyone perceived the solidarity of the Kolping community in this crisis and the financial help provided from the Corona Fund as a blessing.
Marcienne Gakobwa (Kolping Burundi managing director), Abbé Josef (Praeses Burundi national organization) and Dancille Mujawamariya (International Executive Board – KOLPING INTERNATIONAL) from Rwanda reported that climate change results in soil erosion in their countries, which can be mitigated by collecting rainwater in large water tanks. There is major political unrest in Myanmar following a military coup in February 2021. Stephen Tino, President of Kolping Myanmar, reported in a video message that the government is clamping down ruthlessly on the population. Kolping families had to flee their homes, fields can no longer be cultivated, educational institutions are closed, many people are losing their livelihoods. Nonetheless, Kolping brothers and sisters in Myanmar continue with projects such as an agricultural school for organic farming.
Joining live from Ukraine, Vasyl Savka gave a deeply moving and emotional account of a wave of solidarity that had reached Kolping Ukraine from many national Kolping organizations right after the start of the war.
Soledad Urunaga from Paraguay presented her volunteer work in the Diocese of Rottenburg-Stuttgart.
The impressive donation made by Kolping Burundi to help flood victims in the German Ahr Valley in 2021 showed that aid does not always flow from north to south.
All participants emphasized that particularly in the current crises (COVID-19, Ukraine war, climate change) they have learned to appreciate the global power of and the joint commitment for a more just society in the global KOLPING family.
The deeply moving afternoon ended with everyone reciting the “Lord’s Prayer ” together in their own language for peace in the world.
The Kolping diocesan association of Rottenburg-Stuttgart and KOLPING INTERNATIONAL had a stand in the exhibition tent of the Centre of the Universal Church on Karlsplatz. The motto was “A global family shares that all may live – The worldwide commitment of the Kolping Society”. Representing KOLPING INTERNATIONAL, General Praeses Msgr Christoph Huber and Sigrid Stapel were available for discussions. Photos of Kolping Families and projects from Burundi, Rwanda, Myanmar, Paraguay and Ukraine were shown. At the stand there were numerous encounters and discussions with people from all over the world. The guests from Rwanda and Burundi also informed about their projects and their work for the association.