2020 Recap by Emeric Clair, Fidesco International

The year 2020 is coming to an end! It is an opportunity for Fidesco to remember all that we have experienced during this special year, marked by the ordeal of the pandemic. Through this letter, we wish to share with you the joys, the difficulties, the challenges taken up, the reasons for hope that have marked this trying but so richly instructive year.

A mobilized team

The year 2020 has been turned upside down by the outbreak of the pandemic. Faced with this crisis, the Fidesco team, and in particular the monitoring center, took action: setting up a crisis unit, daily monitoring of the situation in the various countries in close collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, repatriation of some volunteers… This monitoring work is still ongoing.

Recruitment, training and dispatch continued

The needs of our partners in the field are even stronger today! This is why Fidesco resolutely pursued the recruitment and training of volunteers in 2020, with one key word: adaptation. E-discernment session, Fidesco remote meetings, and an additional discernment session in Paray-le-Monial in July: a new promotion of volunteers was thus formed and sent during a very nice sending session in Paray -le-Monial, for our greatest joy! The attitude of abandonment and availability of these new volunteers, who said yes to the mission in an uncertain context, particularly touched us. At present, some of them have been able to go to their place of mission; others are still awaiting departure. Fidesco maintains contact with everyone and closely follows the openings of the mission countries.

In the field: missions under the sign of fraternity

The pandemic had a considerable impact on the missions of our volunteers: confinement, missions to arrest or cut off certain activities, increase in poverty. This difficult situation allowed the volunteers to enter a more essential dimension of the mission: to be a simple fraternal presence, at the heart of the ordeal. This presence in fidelity and perseverance has greatly affected the local populations: we have received many testimonies of it through the mission reports of the volunteers. Many of them have also invested in local solidarity actions to deal with the crisis.

Support our partners in times of crisis

The current crisis sharply worsens poverty situations around the world. During 2020, our partners had to face immense needs, not only health, but also economic and food. That is why Fidesco has decided to open an exceptional fundraiser to meet the needs generated by COVID. We were touched by the outpouring of generosity that this fundraiser generated!

New projects have emerged

Finally, the current pandemic has not prevented us from implementing new projects. After a long preparatory work, the South-North mission now allows Fidesco to send volunteers from countries of the South for a year of mission in France! The pioneers of this project are Aimé and Laura, two young Rwandans who arrived in France in September, at the service of the associations Aux Captifs la Liberation, APA and Simon de Cyrene. Other South-North volunteers are expected in 2021 from several African countries: a very concrete way of living this culture of encounter to which Pope Francis invites us in his last encyclical Fratelli Tutti.

Finally, a new mission formula has been put in place for retired people, with the possibility of leaving between 4 and 6 months per year, over a period of 4 consecutive years, in the service of the same partner. The first volunteers who will experience this new mission proposal will leave at the beginning of 2021!

During this year 2020, you have once again shown us your faithful support, without which our mission would not be possible: we would like to warmly thank you.