+41 78 600 60 34 contact@solidarhumanity.org

The context

THE CONTEXT

The founder of the Solidarhumanity project, tells us how the project originated, the events and the reflections that gave it birth.

“Landing in Geneva (French speaking Switzerland) in december 2000 after 7 years of German speaking Switzerland, I quickly met people who opened for me the rather closed door to Human rights NGOs (non governmental organisation). For a third party, I also setup a fair trade business importing handicraft goods mostly coming from India that were sold to World Shops in the equitable marketing networks. I worked some 10 years in a spanish cum french speaking NGO dedicated to give Human Rights training to indigenous people of Latin America and Africa, one year for an NGO dedicated to the Rights of the Child, one year for Doctors without Borders (Médecins sans Frontières) – Switzerland, and finally two and a half years for the ICRC (International Committee of the Red Cross). Some of these organisations could give me access to the UN Palace and to see this universe closely from inside. A host of enriching experiences, sometimes really hard.

To make it short, human rights generally stop at the doors of NGOs. More often than not, salaries can be ridiculously low, conditions precarious and expectations excessively high. This is not to speak of the human factor, which sometimes can be quite surprising – to say the least – in an environment where one would expect – wrongly so – more conscience, more generosity, more greatness of soul, more maturity.

However I am really glad to have been able to be part of this environment and to have been given the opportunity to play my part. Actually I am admirative of the work NGOs are doing. Most of them are doing remarkable work, plodding relentlessly, often with very little means.

Thus, speaking of the context, coming from a monastical environment of selfless service and having abandoned the religious robes in order to live a “normal” life, through the Human Right’s environment, I attempted to combine my inner aspirations that were left unchanged with my outer existence. I have been enriched and learnt a lot. At the same time I reached a limit and felt a sense of uncompleteness. This led me to question and completely reconsider my existence in Europe and tofind a new model. What was the agenda? Shaping my destiny, coming closer to the field in order to be useful in an concrete manner.

Then came also my love of adventure motorcycling and of travel. In a world that is withdrawing upon itself, I intended to contribute to open roads of understanding.  Today the project has matured and transformed. The personalities advising me and the institutions supporting it have given it a scope that goes beyond the person at the origin of the idea: inspire the recognition and the respect of the rich cultural diversity of each people as basis for the building of a culture of peace – what the Unesco calls intercultural undestanding.

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The founder

THE FOUNDER

africa | philosophers | road | india | renunciation | return | lay life

For those who wish to know the story… First projects originate from individuals. Then they outgrow the persons and acquire their independence.

Born of a catholic mother and a jewish father, both of them atheists and non believers, Jacques Albohair spends the first 4 years of his life in subsaharian Africa, in Dakar and in Abidjan where he is pampered by africanJA-AFRICA nannies. Back in greater Paris, he has some difficulties finding his bearings and finds himself several times imploring this unknown god which is not part of his education but whon he nevertheless asks to save him.

JA-ADOAs a young adolescent, he discovers the works of existentialist philosophers like Jean-Paul Sartre and Karl Jaspers but also reads “The Great Initiates” of Edouard Schuré, among others. Very soon he understands the limitations of such philosphies and seeks another message.
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He thus comes across the work of J. Krishnamurti, the contemporary indian philosopher. For him, it is a true revelation. From the back of the classroom, he reads “To liberate oneself from the known”, hoping secretely to liberate himself from all the, to him, inadequate or incomplete information accumulated at school.

The road. 2 years before the baccalaureate, he decides to go hitch-hiking to Scandinavia searching for real philosophers actually living what he was discovering with wonder in books. It was the time of flower power, of hippies, of the Beatles, of the migrations towards India, of Woodstock, of Ravi Shankar and of the May 1968 student revolution in France. He sets out with a guitar in hand, a small shoulder bag, 2 books and 300 french francs in the pocket.

JA-ADO-INIndia. he quickly realises that it is not with those grass smoking drop-outs that were oozing a pseudo indianising philosophy that he will find what he seeks. He hits the road again, this time heading south, until he is picked up in the middle of a rainy night on some secondary roadside in Italy by the man who became my first mentor. He discover yoga and learn the basics of indian spirituality and with him travel for the first time to India with 16. During 8 years he spends the 6 winter months in India and the 6 summer months in Italy. During this period he travels to India twice overland, by public local transport, prefiguring what he plans to do this time under different circumstances.

With 24, he decides to settle down to the average middle class dream, but cannot resist to say goodbye to India beforehand. He leaves for a 3 week visit and stays this time 6 continuous years. On the 5th year, he meets a spiritual master and takes the monastic vows. Meanwhile he becomes an expert in Indology and Hindusim, studies sanscrit and the sacred indian scriptures, reads the Bible, the Quran and the mystics of several religions.
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JA-ARNOReturning. His master sends him back to the West to speak out but also to open the road for her future visits, and lay the foundation of her european centres. He is then 30 when he returns to the West in late 1984 with the renunciant’s robes. He lives precariously and gives his first public talks in the West, organises his first workshops.

Ministry. During 8 years, as spokesman and interpretor of his master, he travels extensively throughout Europe and also sets up and spreads his own network of talks in several languages. All the while, confronted with the human nature, he gradually matures and decides to give up the robes and become a  layman and to embrace my humaneness in all its fragility and all its contradictions.

Geneva. Human Rights Training activity dedicated to indigenous leader women of Latin America.

Geneva. Human Rights Training activity dedicated to indigenous leader women of Latin America.

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Return to lay life. In 1993, he is nearly 40 and integrates society and wordly life, marries and later settles down in Switzerland. In 2000, he separates and moves to Geneva to work in various Human Rights and humanitarian organisations.

In 2014, the project idea is born in his mind. As far as the complexity of today’s world allows, he decides to become master of his destiny. In 2019, the brainchild has matured and a new cycle starts… top_arrow_icon

The Association

THE USHAGRAM SUISSE ASSOCIATION

The association that carries the Solidarhumanity project and its activities
(Update Janurary 13  2019)

parentsThe Ushagram Suisse Association founded in 1999, whose projects are mostly supported by the administrations of the Geneva Canton, is a State recognised public charity exempt from tax. Official website: http://fundraising.ushagram-suisse.org/

Ushagram Suisse does fundraising in Switzerland for rural development programmes in India and in Lebanon, develops and carries out projects in collaboration with selected local NGOs. For nearly 20 years, Ushagram Suisse has raised an average of 60’000 CHF (60 000 USD) to support various programmes and projects both in India and in Lebanon. 

In India: 1. a programme impacting more than 40 000 persons in West Bengal, close to the Bangladesh border during 12 years; and also during 12 years a development programme dedicated to an aboriginal population in Kechala, State of Odisha (Orissa, India) that impacts some 2 500 villagers. In Lebanon, since 2016 the association supports projects dedicated to syrian refugees that abound in this country, which results in the near doubling of its population.

 

INDIA
Odisha is one of the tribal States of India and one of the poorest. In India, the aboriginals make up 10.5% of the population. That is a whopping 120 million souls. 300 000 of them are displaced because of mining, of extraction of rare earths, hydro-power dams and lakes etc. This population is left behind and does not benefit or take part in modern Indian development. The Government is investing a lot in rural and tribal development but only a small percentage of that reach the end beneficiaries. 

KCL1Numerous projects are financed by the funds raised by Ushagram Suisse: first and foremost the education of the children, but also bore wells, dairy farm, water pumps, maintenance of the small ferries, bunk beds for children of the boarding school, electrification of the school, computer lab, science lab, cultivation and irrigation of plantations, afforestation, etc. Accessing the zone remains a problem with no road access, except a dirt track that remains impracticable during the rainy season.

The children of Kechala will follow the “discover-thru-me” project, first of all because their school was involved in the test phase for the project launch but also because its events will be for them an open window onto the world.

 

LEBANON
This small country, is 7 times smaller than Ireland, with an equivalent indigenous population of 4 million inhabitants. It has for years been hosting first palestinian then syrian refugees, thereby increasing its population by nearly 40%, now totalling 6.5 millions. Its population density is nearly twice that of England. The burden for this country is overwhelming: environment, health, infrastructure, social, political etc. Syrian refugees live in makeshift informal settlements and their presence also weighs heavily on the labor market. Although Lebanon wants them to return home, most fear a return and prefer to stay. According to UNHCR, it takes an average of 10 years for refugees to return to their home country at the end of a conflict.

Ushagram goes to the field to identify needs, evaluate the possible response, find local NGO partners, set up support and development projects that also involve the local population in distress and then conducts a matching fundraising. The funded projects are then implemented and monitored until they are completed.

 

 

 

 

SOLIDARHUMANITY
According to its bylaws, Ushagram also aims to support programs for the promotion of peace, for the rapprochement of peoples and intercultural exchanges. The Solidarhumanity project thus fits naturally into its activities. During the implementation of this project, for the sake of resource management, Ushagram’s traditional activities will be reduced to subsistence and maintenance projects.top_arrow_icon