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The John Paul II Sahel Foundation Celebrates 25th Anniversary

Mons. Karel KasteelSecretary, John Paul II Sahel FoundationEvery Sahel country is different. It’s a huge part of Africa but it’s not all the same, the common problem is the water problem. ;

It’s a problem that gave birth to the John Paul II Sahel Foundation. The foundation began after Pope John Paul visited Burkina Faso in 1980 and was struck by the devastation brought about from drought. The foundation recently celebrated their 25th anniversary in the capital, Ouagadougou.

One of the main purposes of the Sahel foundation is to provide the area with means for its inhabitants to help themselves.

Mons. Karel KasteelSecretary, John Paul II Sahel FoundationIn the Pope’s mind it wasn’t good that Europeans or Americans or rich people would tell them what to do and how to do it, no. These people know very well what they should do. If they have the means they know how to solve their problems and that was the key to the success of the foundation.

Last year alone the foundation was involved in over 200 projects to fight drought and desertification by planting trees, helping farmers irrigate their crops and providing scholarships for students in the area.

Mons. Karel KasteelSecretary, John Paul II Sahel FoundationIf great efforts are not undertaken, well, many people may be in danger and I think the Church is in a position to help people to be aware of what the needs are and what should be done to address these needs.

Awareness is one of the main concerns for problems facing Africa, many of which will be discussed during the Second Special Assembly of the African Synod of Bishops.

Pope Benedict XVI is set to visit Africa this month with stops in Cameroon and Angola where he will present the already approved “Instrumentum Laboris” for the synod that will be held in October.