Human rights lawyer motivates Pilgrims 100
Supporting a shared humanity without a ‘them’ and ‘us’ divide was a key message for Pilgrims 100 members who gathered together recently.
Guest speaker at the May 27 function was Bill Smith, who was previously the international deputy co-prosecutor of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, bringing to trial those most responsible for the war crimes committed under the Khmer Rouge.
The Saint Ignatius’ old scholar told the gathering his experience of living in Cambodia and hearing about the horrors of the 1970s reinforced that you should never “turn away” from those in need.
“These Khmer Rouge atrocities against an innocent public, along with the many other barbaric political and military campaigns that have occurred in our lifetime and beyond only highlight the importance of never dividing our humanity into an ‘us’ and ‘them’ divide,” he said.
“Within Australia and outside we are all ‘us’…an ‘us’ society that respects differences in line with the universal fundamental human rights we have.
“So when members of Pilgrims 100 and others give financial and other support to education, infrastructure, immediate relief, health and other community projects, it is for the benefit of ‘us’. Individuals with a shared humanity which we all respect.”
A former police officer and police prosecutor in South Australia, Mr Smith went on to study law at the University of Adelaide and also worked at The Hague as a trial attorney, legal advisor and analyst at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.
Established in 2020, Pilgrims 100 is an Adelaide group that supports the work of Jesuit Mission. The initiative seeks to develop a ‘like-minded community, passionate about helping people living in the margins and suffering the indignity of poverty and injustice’.
Members, who are predominantly from the Saint Ignatius’ school and parish communities, donate $1000 each year to support projects.
Helen Forde, CEO of Jesuit Mission, gave an update about Pilgrims 100 projects at the event. She outlined how money raised so far is being used to fund a program in Railaco, a remote mountain village in East Timor, which is helping to feed and educate children and provide medical services. Another project will result in six large water tanks being built in East Timor.
Pilgrims 100 chair James Hill, who founded the program with wife Genevieve, said more than $150,000 had been raised to date to support Jesuit Mission. He added it was hoped the target of 100 members would be attained this year.
Meanwhile, Jesuit Mission is urging the people of Adelaide to ‘blaze their own trail’ and get moving to help change the lives of those in at-risk communities.
Starting this month, the One Foot Raised event challenges participants to walk and raise funds for Jesuit Mission using a peer-to-peer online platform. Schools, parishes, a group of friends or individuals can sign up and set their own pace – with the option to walk for one day, one week or spread it over the month of July, coinciding with St Ignatius Day on July 31.
All proceeds will go directly towards supporting communities in more than 10 countries in Asia and Africa, including Cambodia, Timor-Leste, India, Myanmar, Thailand, Malawi and more.
To learn more about the challenge visit www.onefootraised.org.au
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