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Woman aims to help poor one country at a time

Cristiana signed up with the missionary association in Argentina and founded the Father Carlo Colelli Association, in honor of a Carmelite priest that encouraged her to go where she is most needed. That's how she ended up in Colombia. CRISTIANA CASSINA Father Carlo Colelli Association "Starting with the guerillas, then paramilitaries, and then the army, we began to see young men, then entire families displaced. So we had our work set up there. They had no home or anything. We found a piece of land without an owner. And, truthfully, we seized. I'm not ashamed to say it, we seized that land, and after the owner came forward, the heir, who lived in the United States. We came to an arrangement, and nowadays 146 families made their small ranch, we cannot even call it a home.� Her NGO is simple and without great aspirations. But it wants to do its part to promote Latin America, and especially Colombia. CRISTIANA CASSINA Father Carlo Colelli Association "We began with 200 youths, now we have 900 because they were growing up and we want them to be well, give them the chance to study. We started an elementary school, then a middle school and now we have a high school. In addition to the school, which we call an education center, on Sundays, when the school is closed, we have meetings with parents. We teach them hygiene, how to maintain their homes, how to wash themselves and at times we've even had to rid each other of lice.� They began taking in people displaced by the guerrilla war. After they started the school, and seeing that kids showed up hungry, they added a soup kitchen to the school. It was all done by them for them, simply because it was needed. CRISTIANA CASSINA Father Carlo Colelli Association "We then began to see that the toddlers were hungry, so we put up a community kitchen. Now we have 10 kitchens, with 800 children that have a meal once a day. At the school we also have 900 more kids that eat once a day, and for many it's their only meal, because at their home they have nothing.� Currently, this charity group in Colombia helps out 1000 kids with meals and education. All of the work from the Father Carlo Colelli Association began with determination of a simple woman, Cristiana Cassina. BR/RCarr MG -VM -PR U:OF