Happy 2014 from IPM, January E-Connections
It is with great sympathy for all who had the honor of knowing Dr. Vimala Charles, of the Trust Hospital in Nagercoil, India, that we share with you her passing on January 14 of 2014. Please keep her family, loved ones, and all our friends in South Asia in your prayers.
Dr. Charles was one of the most amazing women I have ever met, and she is missed dearly. My time with her was always full of inspiration and awe—as I know it was for many of you during your own travels to India with IPM. There were many moments of deep spiritual connection and shared aspirations for the future. I will never forget the first time she asked me to join her to meditate at a small, rural convent of Indian Sisters. Dr. Charles wasn’t a Catholic, but spending an hour or so in deep quiet with the Sisters helped nurture her in her work, and provided me with a deeply personal gift that I will never forget.
In Nairobi, Kenya on May 23, 2013, representatives from EATON Corporation's Nairobi office presented to Brother Hillary and students at St. Charles Lwanga Vocational Training Institute a donation of various electrical installation equipment and tools in addition to a generous monetary donation in partnership with IPM.
Check out this great piece by Jordan Scruggs and Dana Capasso from Yale University about their recent IPM Interfaith Leaders Immersion Experience to the Dominican Republic. What a beautiful reflection!
IPM is proud to partner with CIFF again in 2014 to show "Beyond the Walls" on Saturday, March 22 at 5:10 p.m., Sunday, March 23 at 8:30 p.m., and Monday, March 24 at 5:10 p.m. To watch a trailer, click http://www.clevelandfilm.org/films/2014/beyond-the-walls. Redeem a $2.00 discount for your ticket! Online: Use the code IPM when purchasing tickets at www.clevelandfilm.org (available 24 hours
March is Women’s History Month, a time to honor the role women play in our lives by creating, nurturing, and transforming our world. As I write this from Ibague, COLOMBIA, during the week leading up to International Women’s Day, I am meeting with IPM’s longstanding Project Partners and witnessing first-hand the transformative power that women-led organizations play in ensuring social justice through the holistic development of their communities.
This morning we met with a number of local leaders from the academic and political sectors who speak beautifully of their commitments, but are hampered by the endemic corruption and socio-economic realities of Colombia. Once again, I am reminded that beyond funding and rhetoric, it is the deep, inter-personal relationships which IPM nurtures that do more to develop and sustain partnerships than any other factor.
The women of Ser Mujer spend their days laboring under the sun in Ibague’s marketplace, doing back-breaking domestic work in the informal sector, and raising their families against often insurmountable odds. Through their personal strength and shared collaborative efforts they somehow find the time to also nurture the Centro de Formación para la Paz (Center for the Formation of Peace). They do so knowing that the Centro equips their children with alternative responses to the violence and self-destructive behavior prevalent in their community of Barrio Ciudad de Luz (ironically, the City of Light).
As we continue celebrating IPM’s 40th Anniversary Year, it is women like Martha Cecilia Arroyave and Jennifer Gualteros Pastrana—the Project Coordinators for both Ser Mujer and Centro de Formación para la Paz—that epitomize the difference the women of IPM continue to make every day in creating, nurturing, and transforming our world.
Peace and best wishes to each of you as you and your loved ones celebrate International Women’s Day this weekend!
Joseph F. Cistone
March 5, 2014
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