The Economy of Francesco

young people, a pact, the future

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young people, a pact, the future

international events

September 22-24 2022, - Assisi

September 22-24 2022, Assisi

"The Economy of Francesco"

young people, a pact, the future

Breaking news:

published today the letter with which Pope Francis summons young economists and entrepreneurs to Assisi to propose a pact for a new economy. Economy of Communion participates in the organizing committee of the event together with the Diocese and the Municipality of Assisi and the Seraphic Institute.

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Innovation. A start-up from South Africa that helps the homeless.

#EoF: The Stories - Charl Reyneke has created a coupon system to provide meals and services to those living on the street

by Maria Gaglione

published in Avvenire on 20/03/2020

Charl Reyneke lives in Stellenbosch, a town in South Africa 50 km from Cape Town. "In 2017 I founded a start-up company named Heartflow that deals with homeless people and beggars. In my hometown, where the economic and social inequalities are so great, I often met one of the "poor" asking me for money. Many times I saw them spending money on destructive and bad kinds of habits. I didn't want to become their accomplice. I got to the point that if I saw a homeless person from a distance, I would change direction to avoid them. As if not meeting them released me from the responsibility I actually felt towards them. It didn't work. The desire to help the very people I was trying to avoid was stronger in me. A blanket, a meal, a bed in a night shelter. That's what they needed, to maybe start a new life. I founded Heartflow to offer people an alternative to begging, to help beggars through a coupon system. Townsmen who want to make a concrete and direct help can buy a coupon in local shops and offer it to the homeless who then benefit from the different services provided by the partner organizations".

We all know today that those who lack of food or housing suffer from a complex condition, often the sum of different frailties and fragility and that their state is an expression of a deeper social and relational type of poverty. Although the models of development are still dominated by the myth of indefinite growth and the culture of each and everyone for themselves, there are still many, very many people who are willing to stop at street corners to shoulder their share of responsibility for the difficulties of the weakest. There are many stories of closeness aiming to restore justice and to help the most vulnerable to resume life with dignity and respect. "Our reality is based on building relationships between people in difficulty, almost always left on the margins of our sidewalks, untouchable and untouched, and the townsmen eager to help in an active and constructive way. Some of our services also offer job opportunities and vocational training. To date we have involved more than 45 partners, including non-profit associations and social workers, Stellenbosch University and over 30 companies. For the time being, we are only active in Stellenbosch, under the patronage of the municipality, but many other cities are asking to replicate our model". Charl looks to the future. "The paper coupon solution is only the first step, however. We are developing a digital system that can provide more data and a more complete platform".

Heartflow is a response to the challenge of poverty that speaks of inclusion, discourages bad habits and does not treat the poor as culprits but promotes opportunities to start over. "I believe that participating in the Economy of Francesco will have a positive impact not only on me, but also on my entire community of friends in desperate need and on all those people who do their best every day to make a difference in this world. Our country lags behind the rest of the world on some fronts. On the other hand, since we are familiar with the inequalities because of our direct experience with them, we are aware of the complexity of the problems and their solutions. We need to broaden our horizons and share experiences and perspectives in order to give global answers. This is what we will do in Assisi".

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