I have met CELIM since the early 1980s by attending conferences and meetings. Later, I was offered the opportunity to follow a project in Burundi with the support of Secretary Roberto Minotti, in a cooperation program for cadre training within the St. Bernadette Vocational Technical School in Gitega (a private Christian institution). CELIM had sent four volunteers to the site in support of tailoring and administration, including the school director Annamaria Comin. For my part, I followed the project from Italy, with four evaluation missions. I then returned to Burundi other times, also on behalf of Focsiv, the federation of Christian-inspired NGOs, and with which I was able, also in Italy, to participate in cultural level meetings (conferences, legislative updates, etc.).

During this period I was able to see the strong missionary expression of CELIM. For example, in the school project in Burundi, I touched the contribution made by education and, in particular, by Christian formation, which, with its style, enriched the social fabric of the country, guaranteeing many local young people the right to study and socialization, welcoming those who belonged to different religious denominations and hosting several young people from Rwanda as political refugees.

I would like to emphasize here how this contribution has benefited women in particular, whose literacy rate in the 15 and over age group has increased from 17 percent to 34 percent.

Anastasio Ferrari