PARAGUAY, Juan Vicente Ramírez •
Starting this year, the Chamber of Commerce and Services of Ciudad del Este – Paraguay, implemented a new program called Distinction to Solidarity Companies, which consists of recognizing and highlighting the community and social work developed by the associated companies. —
The outstanding companies would receive plaques of recognition that express the distinction of solidarity company of the current year, in this program the presence of the hands of our Blessed Mother of Schoenstatt is perceived, who uses us, members of the CIEES community (International Community of Schoenstatt Businessmen and Executives) of Ciudad del Este, as instruments to indicate to the business community some of the many roads that lead to the kingdom of God.
Solidarity Enterprises Recognition Night 2023
On Friday, December 1, in the context of the celebration of the 51st anniversary of the founding of the Chamber of Commerce, the recognition of the Solidarity Enterprises of Ciudad del Este took place. With joy and the Blessed Mother in our hearts we were able to culminate this idea that emerged from CIEES, within the core of the Chamber of Commerce of the city. We had the pleasure of having the pleasant presence of Babbio Sallustro, from Asunción, who was able to accompany us in this transcendental moment for us.
The celebration was held at the Sachs Restaurant. We were 175 people, national authorities were present, representatives of public institutions such as the National Port Administration, Customs. Others present were the Minister of the Interior Enrique Riera, Commander and Vice Commander of the National Police, the Municipal Mayor of Ciudad del Este, representatives of the Departmental Government, as well as some representatives from Brazil, who are part of the Tri National Development Council: Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay (CODETRI).
This event was very important to position CIEES in this field that sometimes is not so friendly, since it is mainly commercially competitive. And our contribution was to humanize the companies a little, to play in that aspect. The fact that we were given that space within the evening program, where awards and recognitions were given to authorities and companies, was very important; CIEES had its space presenting awards or giving recognitions to solidary companies.
Companies do show solidarity, but no one talks about what they do
I began to observe, about two years ago, the immense amount of good practices that companies do and that no one really realizes the great contribution they make to society. Each company does and does not share its work, so I said to myself, why not create a space where everyone can share and motivate others to also do great transcendent works?
And that is how the idea was born; I was able to develop it within the chamber’s board of directors, to give importance to this point, since it is not something that is normally dealt with within the chamber of commerce. This is partly thanks to the presence of CIEES, since we have been working together for some time and we have been carrying out this type of more social, more human, more formative actions, and we do it in coordination with the chamber of commerce and always at its headquarters, it was to give continuity to this work.
We started this several years ago. We support each other and contribute among all of us. And in this way, I believe that we walk well together without conflicts, we open our hearts and those who receive us, we transmit these ideas to them.
Conectando sueños: The company that donates computers to schools in need
We began to closely accompany the different solidarity or social actions developed by the companies, participating in the delivery events, watching, evaluating. I can list a number of things, such as the importation of fire trucks for volunteer firefighters on behalf of two or three businessmen. The sponsorship of public schools, providing them with more than 100 computers for computer labs and support. Not only leaving the machines there, but also instructing the children’s parents to take responsibility and take care of these computers, since in public schools they can “disappear” … So the parents’ committee is also part of this program in these schools.
The program is called “Conectando sueños” (Connecting Dreams), where customers contribute part of the contribution with the purchase of products, and the company covers the rest with its contribution, thus making this type of action possible.
Another company committed itself to the complete refurbishment of a public school, from the wall, entrance gate, refurbishment of classrooms, toilets, schoolyard and sports area. A very important work, carried out by the company Mega Electrónico.
Throughout the year, the different solidarity actions carried out are monitored and certified by the members of the International Community of Schoenstatt Businessmen and Executives, whose members are actively involved as members of the Chamber of Commerce.
Three distinguished companies
We decided to distinguish three companies that were the most outstanding. CIEES monitors through its members, with the engineer Saúl Pasos, who is a member of the Chamber and CIEES. We began to monitor and certify that the works were actually carried out and we also evaluated the creative result of all this, talking to the beneficiaries. Thus, the idea of instituting a recognition was built.
Finally, at the Chamber of Commerce, the Board of Directors approved and took charge of acquiring the awards. CIEES was listed on each plaque as the certifier.
Motivating companies to get involved with the community
The purpose of this program is to motivate companies to get involved with the community, and from their business role to feel motivated to contribute in solidarity with the poorest sector; to help meet the real needs of the people, since many times the state does not have the capacity within the time required by the need.
We see that these unforeseen or unbudgeted needs arise in various areas such as education, where schools generally require financial support for improvements in infrastructure and security, or a reinforcement to provide better social assistance to children, or the community itself requires support to provide better security or strengthen its fire prevention or fire fighting system, etc. etc. etc.
All these actions are verifiable and that is where the CIEES offers its time and management to monitor them, certify them and finally recognize them before its own business community and before representatives of the public sector.
We ask the Holy Spirit to enlighten us and keep the flame burning to infect others to also feel instruments in the mission to serve. A fire that lights other fires.
Audio transcription: Tita Andras and Juan Zaforas; editing: Maria Fischer; proofreading: Roberto M. Gonzalez
Original: Spanish. Translation: Maria Fischer @schoenstatt.org