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Sacmi: solidarity in action.

Gifts. With the coming of Christmas the word in itself raises a thousand questions, questions fuelled by the ever-more disturbing images of world-wide dramas and tragedies that flash across our TV screens. For some years now Sacmi has, as an alternative to the usual Christmas gifts, been involved in concrete, well documented humanitarian projects which allow it to play a role at international level as well as at local level: so as not to forget, in the frenetic haste of work, a more human dimension. Likewise, we must not forget that those receiving Christmas gifts generally receive mountains of them and therefore that one extra present may, no matter how original, pass unnoticed. The exact opposite happens when someone is involved in a clear-cut charity initiative: we’re convinced – a conviction rooted in the many letters of appreciation received from customers and business partners over the last few years – that the Director of a bank or owner of a company finds it much more gratifying to take part in a project of this kind than he does to receive the standard Christmas hamper. We started off in 1995 in Brazil in the favela of Sao Bernardo, in close collaboration with the Imola-Sao Bernardo project, by purchasing an area of land dedicated to a Professional Training School. The following year saw the construction of the first site, with building and carpentry courses being held regularly since 1996. The following years saw commitment to a three-year plan for the finance of a second school site, with SACMI also acting as a mediator with Confindustria and the Brazilian Labour Union to attain special terms of payment and support. Today, the Professional Training School is a concrete reality. A professionally-oriented school that teaches a trade, is, for youngsters, the key to real change and a society with a future. In 1999 we worked with the Capuchin Friars who used our donation to build a crêche in Dawro Konta (see letter of thanks). The construction of the crêche, which is more of a mother-and-child education centre rather than a crêche as we know it, allows mothers to be given a grounding in basic hygiene and receive general information on child-rearing. All the donations made so far have always been controlled “at close quarters” by SACMI itself, as we intend to ensure that the money allocated by the Board of Directors reaches its intended recipients directly. In the first case it was Ermes Gaddoni, Director of SACMI do BRASIL, who directly handled payments for the works to which SACMI had made a commitment. In the second case it was our colleague Romana Mainetti who personally handed over the agreed sum to the Friar responsible for the Mission in question. Following the controversies surrounding the Italian government’s Mission Arcobaleno project, we have been extremely attentive as to just how this money arrives at destination. For the coming festivities the Board of Directors has once again decided to allocate the sum normally set asi

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