22 February 2008


A group of twelve young members of the Edmund Rice Network from Victoria recently completed a successful immersion visit to East Africa accompanied by three facilitators (including myself).

Originally the group planned to divide its time between Kenya and Tanzania but with the eruption of post-election violence in Kenya the program was rescheduled to spend the four weeks in Tanzania.

Participants were assigned in small groups to two different placements around Arusha which included Edmund Rice Secondary School; a centre for street children; a remand centre for juvenile offenders; a school catering for children with special needs – visual and hearing impairment, autism etc; an English language Primary School and a kindergarten.

Shivaun teaching at Royal English-medium School near Arusha

Shivaun teaching at the English-medium primary school

Games at the orphanage

Joining in the games at the orphanage

In addition the group attended a session of the Rwandan War Crimes Trials" (an A/V presentation and a talk were included as part of the visit) and visited the Mkombozi Centre for Street Children in Arusha which as well as delivering a range of services to street children also undertakes research and advocacy in relation to the issues affecting children and young people.

The group also visited a children’s orphanage, St Jude’s a school for poor children commenced by an Australian volunteer), met with representatives of Food, Water Shelter - another initiative for children commenced by a group of Australian volunteers including three former ANZERVS volunteers, and conducted an Edmund Rice Camp in conjunction with senior students from Edmund Rice Secondary School.

Food, Water, Shelter project Arusha, Tanzania

Learning about the Food, Water, Shelter project


The Leadership Team of the Oceania Province of the Christian Brothers has expressed its support for the apology to those indigenous people forcibly removed from their families which was tendered on behalf of the nation at the opening of the current session of the Australian Parliament.

As well as supporting the move to say ‘sorry’ the statement issued by the Brothers re-affirmed their commitment to the Edmund Rice National Statement of Reconciliation which binds them to:-
- acknowledge Australia’s Indigenous peoples as the first peoples of this land
- build respectful relationships
- develop partnerships between Indigenous peoples and non-indigenous peoples
- celebrate Australia’s unique cultures.

The full text of the statement is available for download at the Edmund Rice Oceania website


Edmund Rice International (ERI) has recently completed its first official advocacy action at the United Nations. A joint submission with Franciscans International was made to the Universal Periodic Review process in relation to children’s education in Zambia.

In April when the Government of Zambia presents its report to the Human Rights Council (HRC), the Zambian Mission at the HRC will be presented with a copy of the submission and will be invited to respond to the recommendations made in it. These recommendations were developed in consultation with members of the Edmund Rice Network involved in education in Zambia.

This action demonstrates the value of having a strong relationship with people on the ground whenever country specific issues arise. It also demonstrates the value of having access to the UN mechanisms through the Human Rights Council.

As the sources of the data are referenced, the Government of Zambia will also now be aware that issues raised at the local level can potentially be raised at the international level in the context of the human rights framework.

The submission will be available for viewing on the ERI website after the report is received by the Zambian government in April.


A new justice website for the Edmund Rice Network in Aotearoa (New Zealand) was launched recently. The Edmund Rice Justice site is "for people who care about Social Justice issues and want to get involved in making a difference in our world." It contains information about current issues, events and actions.

In North America, Br Kevin Cawley, Province co-ordinator for Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation produces a "Carbon Rangers Bulletin" which contains news, stories and links relating to the challenge of global warming and climate change from the individual and community level through to the international level.

The latest bulletin contains information about the recent Climate Change Conference in Bali, Indonesia. Those interested in subscribing to the bulletins can email Kevin directly.

The urgency of the global warming issue has again recently been underlined in Australia by the publication of the Garnaut Report in which the government’s chief advisor on climate change argues that greenhouse gas emissions need to be cut by 90% by 2050 to avert the most devastating effects of climate change.

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