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Economic Justice Workshop

June 7, 2012 @ 8:00 am - June 8, 2012 @ 5:00 pm

The workshop was held at the Generalate, Rome, from 6 to 10 February, 2012. It was organised by the Mission Development Office (MDO) to enable them to:

– present the goals, developments and achievements of the ‘Networking Our Way Out of Poverty’ project to the current partners and to the new ones.

– enable GSS marketers to share successes and lessons learned, confront their different business models, stimulate a frant self-assessment and come out with a proposal to improve their business outcomes.

– allow the producers to present their experiences in selling and marketing their products at local level, proposals to increase local visibility and sales, with a special focus on the South East Asia Pacific markets, starting from the invitation to Singapore/Malaysia to become Economic Justice partners.

– facilitate exchange of information, decision making and agreements between marketers and producers on commercial and organisational issues, coordination of orders and shipments, pricing, labelling, etc.

Gloria and I had the privilege of being invited to attend the meeting. When Sr. Joan Lopez our Province Leader first broached the subject, we were reluctant to accept the invitation. Not only because both of us had no prior entrepreneurial experience but with such short notice we had no time to do any research to prepare for the meeting. We also felt the weather would be cold in February. (Actually at that time Sr. Susan had assured me “Don’t worry, the winter is mild this year!) So after all the convincing from Joan and Susan, we went with an open heart and mind.

Talk about the cold….unbelievable as it seems, Rome was enveloped in snow to welcome us on our arrival!!

From the very start of the Workshop, the 22 participants worked very hard in the task assigned them. The presentations given by both producers and marketers in their use of powerpoint to explain their situation made the sessions more interesting. Questions for personal reflection and small interest group discussions helped us to be more focused on the task assigned. The plenary sharing, brainstorming and discussions were so lively that the poor facilitators had a difficult time to get people to give others a chance to share! This goes to show how enthused and animated the participants were. I guess it augus well for the future development of Economic Justice projects in the Congregation!

There was an exhibition of handicraft produced by the four centres in Thailand. The MDO is currently running a project with the Thai production centres to improve the quality of their products. An array of costume jewellery made by them in partnership with some renowned Italian designers was also on display.

Despite the cold and snowy welcome to Rome, we have to admit that our physical attendance at the Workshop was a great opportunity for us to learn more about the project. We got a clearer picture of what is currently happening in the area of Economic Justice in the Congregation. Before leaving Rome we did some brainstorming and planning with Sr. Susan Chia on how our Province could help to open new markets in Singapore and Malaysia.

On our return home, we have already ordered 200 sets of Easter Chickens and 80 Hats from Nongkhai, Thailand. These are sold out! Though on holiday with her husband in Bangkok lately, Gloria made time to visit Fatima Centre to buy home two big boxes laden with Easter Chickens and other samples of their products for discussion with prospective retailings. And now the hard work continues…


June 7, 2012 @ 8:00 am
June 8, 2012 @ 5:00 pm