Afghanistan + 1 more

Nun heads Development and Peace fact-finding delegation to Afghanistan and Pakistan

TORONTO / January 20, 2003 -- Sr. Mary Pat LeRoy, General Superior of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, from Longueuil, Québec, will lead a Canadian Catholic Organization for DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE (CCODP) delegation to Afghanistan and Pakistan later this week to see first hand what effects aid from Canada is having on the lives of people in the region.
The fact-finding mission will visit projects in Afghanistan's Kabul and Kandahar regions, and Islamabad and Peshawar, in Pakistan. The group begins its work January 24, 2003; the mission ends February 5, 2003. The delegation includes CCODP Executive Director Robert Letendre.

DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE is financing a $2 million reconstruction program in the area. The delegation will meet with CCODP partners in the two countries, review the effectiveness of the program, and report back to Canadians about what still needs to be done.

Working through its sister agencies in the Caritas Internationalis aid network, DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE was already providing emergency aid when the American bombing of Afghanistan began in October 2001. Support was later given to Afghan refugees living across the border in Pakistan, as well as to Afghans forced to flee to other regions of their own country. Initially, priority was given to food aid and temporary shelter.

Since the beginning of the crisis CCODP has been concentrating its efforts in communities that receive little or no support from international aid agencies. More recently the focus has been placed on helping returning Afghan refugees re-build their lives. A priority is also placed on helping women and strengthening women's participation in rebuilding the country.

One aid project involves the Kuchis nomads, originally from South-Eastern Afghanistan. A prolonged drought forced the nomads to flee along with their herds of goats, sheep and camels. Many now live in make-shift camps near Kandahar.

CCODP is funding a project sponsored by the Dutch aid agency Cordaid that is helping to improve medical and sanitation services for five thousand Kuchis families.

For additional information:

TORONTO: Jack Panozzo (416) 922-1592
MONTREAL: François Gloutnay (514) 257-8711