The Fraternity – International Humanitarian Federation (FIHF) and the Irdin Publishing House are releasing the first edition in English and Spanish and the second edition in Portuguese of the book “Fraternity – International Humanitarian Missions”, written by Ana Regina Nogueira.
The book tells the story of the humanitarian missions carried out by Fraternity (FIHF) volunteers between 2011 and 2018 in Brazil and 16 other countries in Africa, Latin America, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East, adding 23 national and international missions. These missions represented a step further in a history that began in 1987 by its members dedicated to developing service activities.
In this long trajectory of love, solidarity, and selfless service, Fraternity (FIHF) volunteers have been adapting, maturing and perfecting themselves from each experience, such as the earthquake in Nepal in 2011, the welcoming of refugees from the war in Syria in 2015 and the care of thousands of Venezuelan migrants, indigenous and non-indigenous, who arrived in Brazil and Colombia since 2016, among many others.
The book’s narrative ends in 2018, but the humanitarian missions carried out by Fraternity (FIHF) continue to this day, in the five refugee shelters managed by the institution in the state of Roraima and in the Transit Shelter in the city of Manaus, located in the Brazilian Amazon region, which received more than two thousand Venezuelan migrants and refugees.
Fraternity (FIHF) began its activities in the state of Roraima, Brazil, in November 2016, in the same fashion that it had been developing until then. Acting in the streets to mitigate the suffering of the neediest guided by goodwill and the rescue of human dignity applying best international protocols on humanitarian responses. In mid-2017, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) proposed a partnership to Fraternity (FIHF) that represented an expansion in its ways of operating.
Since then, other partnerships with other organizations have been established and have contributed to the institution’s maturity. Among others, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the Canadian and US Embassies, Bethany Christian Services, the Brazilian Civil Defense, the Fire Department, the Armed Forces through “Operação Acolhida” (Welcome Operation). This Operation was developed by the Brazilian Government, through the Ministry of Citizenship and the Ministry of Defense, to address the humanitarian crisis in Northern Brazil. Together with the other agencies, it is on its third stage of this humanitarian response, known as “interiorization”, which is the creation of opportunities for refugees to rebuild their lives in other states, in the interior of Brazil.
Part of these partnerships was established in other humanitarian responses, carried out by the Fraternity (FIHF) after the book was published in early 2019. One of them through its affiliate in Colombia, Fraternity – International Humanitarian Missions (FIHM), in response to the same Venezuelan migration crisis. Developing educational activities with children and families together with members of the Interagency Group for Mixed Migration Flows (GIFMM). The Fraternity (FIHF) also promptly responded to one of the largest environmental disasters that occurred in the city of Brumadinho – Minas Gerais, the rupture of a mining dam, where Fraternity (FIHF) provided veterinary assistance to the animals and psychological care to the affected families. Team of volunteers carried on visiting every month, from January 2019 to March 2020. The consistent assistance was only interrupted due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Fraternity (FIHF) maturing process, which comes from relatively independent actions developed over more than 33 years of history through timely actions on both humanitarian aid and environmental emergencies, consolidated by the permanent presence and institutional partnerships, has led the institution to seek specialization in the humanitarian response and establish its most effective areas of service.
The experience with the Education Project “The Common Good”, developed by its volunteers in the humanitarian response in Roraima addressed approximately 3,000 children in 10 shelters, in a partnership with UNICEF. It was then expanded to the city of Manaus and Colombia that led to an additional specialization, this time in education, through the Emergency Pedagogy organization which originated the “Seminar on Education in Emergency Situations and Humanitarian Responses” held at the Fraternity (FIHF) headquarters and attended by several experts from various organizations.
As a result of this Seminar, Fraternity (FIHF) came into contact with the Sphere Standards Handbook that established the minimum standards for humanitarian response. The Sphere Handbook was published for the first time in 1998 after the Rwandan genocide in which, due to the ineffectiveness of the response, realized a need to pool efforts and coordinate actions among the different humanitarian organizations. As it is already in its fourth edition, but did not yet have a version in Portuguese, the Fraternity (FIHF) contacted the Sphere team and is voluntarily translating the Sphere Handbook into Portuguese. This work is in progress and is scheduled to be launched in August this year by Irdin Publishing House, one of Fraternity (FIHF) affiliates.
As a result of this new partnership, the Fraternity (FIHF) has become the Sphere focal point in Brazil thus expanding the dissemination of the Sphere Standards not only in Brazil but also in other Portuguese-speaking countries. In addition to the responsibility of ensuring the applicability of international standards to the humanitarian response in the country, which points to another area of action that comes as a result of the consolidation of a history of selfless service.
Moreover, the Fraternity (FIHF) has been carrying out in-house Sphere Handbook training for its volunteers worldwide, thus undertaking its first efforts as a Sphere focal point. Training is virtually conducted by the Fraternity (FIHF) core missionaries located both and simultaneously in Brazil and at its affiliate in Portugal. Training content is based on Sphere online resources available combined with their extensive field experience. Between the two locations there are approximately one thousand collaborators from 13 countries.
According to the Fraternity (FIHF) General Manager, Friar Luciano, throughout all these years, the institution has been perfecting its actions of service in the humanitarian response, which express its ethical values, i.e., the care for all realms of nature, the awakening to fraternity and the common good, and the relief of immediate suffering in emergencies.
The Fraternity – International Humanitarian Federation (FIHF) gathers 22 national and international civil associations that, with affiliated groups, provide voluntary services, independently and neutrally. It welcomes all creeds, cultures, religions and has no ties to political or economic groups.
(activate the English subtitle)