Senegal is the first country in the African continent where the Piarists were present, back in 1963, when the first religious coming from Catalonia arrived in the Casamance region, forming the first community, making their home among the people and beginning their mission with the most disadvantaged. This initial adventure began bearing fruit over the decades, expanding through various areas of the country, as the seed of what is today an extensive Piarist presence that has numerous educational, social and pastoral works. A real treasure due to the human wealth and commitment of those who promote these initiatives and projects.
Currently, Senegal is part of the Piarist province of West Africa, along with the Ivory Coast and the nascent Piarist foundation in another country of the region: Burkina Faso. It is worth noting that they are all countries with great human potential, but that present enormous educational needs and, in general, suffer from development rates among the lowest in the world.
With all this, we think this solidarity campaign is a great opportunity to make this year’s motto, WITH YOU +, a reality. First, because the incorporation of Senegal into the Itaka-Piarist solidarity network helps us to be more, to expand our vision and our commitment in a place with great challenges and needs for the Piarist mission. Also, because the solidarity campaign is, in itself, a global shared activity in which we experience that every person’s contribution is important to become more: we add everyone’s efforts to sustain and grow the Piarist mission where it is needed the most, and to reach more people with it, especially the most impoverished and those with the greatest educational deficiencies.
Therefore, we encourage you to collaborate and become more deeply involved in this new solidarity campaign. We remember that a year ago we took the motto –Educate, Announce, Transform– of the Piarist Jubilee Year as our guiding principle, referring to the pillars of the mission started by José de Calasanz just 400 years ago. By joining both mottoes we can be grateful that with you this mission continues and in the future it will continue to take education beyond geographical, economic and cultural borders, as a contribution to build a more just and better world.