One of the great challenges of any non-profit social organization is to find means and resources for the continuity of its works. Establishing partnerships, obtaining donations and attracting volunteers that can help in the initiatives are constant goals of any group that carries out philanthropic actions.
When she arrived in the interior of the state of Pernambuco, with the mission of managing the fund-raising sector of a home for the elderly, the Vicentine missionary Sister Rafaela found a difficult situation. “I arrived here in Nazaré da Mata four months ago, I was sent on a mission, and when I arrived, I came across this reality: precariousness, the house infrastructure also in very difficult conditions, many water seepages on the ceiling, on the walls, with mold, and I felt a lack of sensitivity on the part of the community. Few donations, few groups and family members coming to visit those in the home, they practically abandon the elderly and do not return here”, says Sister Rafaela.
The Imaculada Conceição Charity House, also known as Sister Guerra Shelter, has been active for 89 years in social causes. The work of welcoming the elderly is the main service rendered by the entity in the town of Naraze da Mata, about 70 km from Recife. The institution is a beneficent civil association supported by the Vicentine Sisters – Daughters of Charity of Saint Vicent of Paul, a Christian order founded in the 17th century with headquarters in France.
The Sister Guerra Shelter currently houses forty elderly residents. Many have weak health and do not have any oficial or family care support. With so many needs to be met and few resources, Sister Rafaela decided to ask for help. She discovered Fraternidade – International Humanitarian Federation (FIHF) after a search on the internet and made contact. “I read a little and became deeply identified with your mission. We serve the poor, the most suffering brothers and sisters, just as you also do”, says Sister Rafaela.
Immediately after Sister Rafaela’s contact, the Northeast Brazil Light-Network affiliated with FIHF, was called, and an action of emergency support was organized by the volunteers. The collaborators made a survey of the most urgent material needs and on August 14 a group of four volunteers left Recife for a visit to the shelter and delivery of donations of food, geriatric diapers and hygiene and cleaning products.
“I was even surprised, for you are an International Fraternity, I said, ‘My God, before so many needs’. But you looked at us with this gaze of tenderness, of mercy, of much kindness.. as your very name says: Light-Network, you really came to illuminate, renew our hopes, our faith that we are not alone on this journey. The donation that you brought came with perfect timing. We only had three little bags of milk and I was thinking, ‘My God, how will these coming days be?’ But I always say that God is a good provider”, states Sister Rafaela.
But the objective of the visit of the Northeast Light-Network to the Sister Guerra Shelter was not only carry out the delivery of material donations, but also bring a little attention, care and respect to the elderly welcomed by the institution. According to Sister Rafaela, the greatest lack of the elderly is due to the absence of the family members and human contact.
“I perceived this spirit of simplicity, of humility, of charity that you have, this spirit of helping your neighbor… in the visit, you were able to feel together with me how the elderly need your presence”, concludes Sister Rafaela.
To one of the collaborators of the Northeast Light-Network that visited the shelter, the spirit of Fraternity united two groups that find in service for their neighbor a meaning for their existences. “It was a meeting of souls that seek to serve the same purpose. This synergy between both groups was very interesting. It was very noticeable and heart-felt”, says Esther.
Other actions of the Northeast Brazil Light-Network in the Sister Guerra Shelter are being planned. Currently the coordinators of the shelter seek funds or donations to obtain special beds for the most debilitated elderly, body walkers, controlled medicines not provided by the town and especially humanitarian support.
For additional information about how to collaborate, get into contact with the Sister Guerra Shelter.
Casa de Caridade Imaculada Conceição – Abrigo Irmã Guerra
Rua Irmã Guerra, 75 – Nazaré da Mata – PE – Brazil
Landline: +55 (81) 3633-2757 / Cell phone +55 (87) 9 9920-3122