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.“