The District Council of Eastern Vallés (Consejo Comarcal del Vallés Oriental, Barcelona, Spain) has awarded to Fr. Jaime Calvera Pi, Comboni Missionary, the award for International Cooperation and Human Development for the work done in the neighbourhood of Mahube Valley in the town of Mamelodi in the peripheral area of Pretoria, the capital of South Africa.
Fr Jaime Calvera Pi has worked in South Africa from 1985 to 1994 and after a period of work in Missionary Animation in Spain and Italy, he returned again to South Africa in 2006. Since January 2007 he is the Parish Priest of the new Parish of St. Daniel Comboni in Mahube Valley. Fr Jaime Calvera and members of the parish have begun different projects to address urgent social needs of this neighbourhood.
The District Council of Eastern Vallés, by granting now in its third edition the award for International Cooperation for Human Development, intends to acknowledge individuals and institutions particularly related to Eastern Vallés that are engaged in projects involving International Cooperation for Human Development.
The prize that amounts to € 11,000 was collected by his brother Fr Antonio Calvera at a public event that took place last 29th April in the municipality of Vilanova del Vallés (Barcelona).
Among the projects initiated by the Parish of St. Daniel Comboni there is a plan to build classrooms where children and young people can find a place to study. Every day, from Monday to Friday for two or three hours in the afternoon, the parish will offer the possibility of remedial classes by creating a learning environment with the supervision of teachers of the community who voluntarily offer themselves for this service. The three classrooms, covering an area of 120m ², are equipped with tables, chairs and a small library with dictionaries of English and local languages, encyclopaedias and some basic texts of literature.
Mamelodi is a city with one million inhabitants and more than 25% of the population are infected with AIDS. A serious work of prevention, education and training is called for particularly among adolescents and youth. The parish of St. Daniel Comboni wants to open in the premises to be constructed an information office and to organize courses.
One of the activities undertaken in the Parish which had a major impact was the creation of the Choir “Izwi Lethemba” which in Zulu means “Voice of Hope”. The choir has religious themes in their repertoire and a large number of traditional songs and dances of different ethnic groups. With the help of individuals, institutions and the Municipality of Llinars del Vallés (Barcelona), the Choir visited Barcelona in December last year. They offered concerts in Eastern Vallés area and in Barcelona city. With this trip they established cultural ties, thus fostering mutual understanding, and at the same time they could raise financial support to carry out the projects mentioned. With this trip to Barcelona the Choir won the prominence they deserve.
The jury for the District Council of Eastern Vallés has considered the above mentioned projects as a priority. It also praised the work accomplished by the Choir “Izwi Lethemba" as a tool to enhance cultural and human values. The initiatives taken by the Choir are perceived as a clear response arising from the community itself in meeting its needs. Taking charge of its own future it put everything into this effort.