The brothers of the Taizé Community live entirely by their work. They do not accept any donations. Similarly, if a brother inherits something from his family, the community makes a gift of it for the very poor.
The community brings support to people in difficulty on the different continents, especially to children who are destitute or sick…
In addition, it helps certain young people coming either to Taizé or to the European, Latino-American, African or Asian meetings: many of them cannot cover the entire cost of their stay or their travel because they come from so far away…
By means of Operation Hope, those who wish may participate in this mutual assistance.
Some examples of recent commitments of Operation Hope
Support for disadvantaged children in South Sudan
To mark the 50th anniversary of the Church of Reconciliation in Taizé, Brother Alois announced in August 2012 an initiative to show our solidarity with South Sudan, just coming out of 20 years of war. "Through Operation Hope, which supports various projects on different continents we will support the disadvantaged children of the town of Rumbek for the next three years."
The war has made South Sudan a country well behind in development terms, and in particular illiteracy is widespread. Many young people have known only violence, but now there is a great effort being made to give back to younger generations the meaning of working the land or to encourage them them to study. It requires great patience and sensitivity because feelings of humiliation, frustration and anger are easily exacerbated in young people. It will take time before independence embodies all the dreams of several oppressed generations.
Spring 2012 : Meeting with young people in Rumbek during the visit to the country by one of the Brothers of Taizé
Humanitarian supplies sent to North Korea
The medicine and medical devices collected at the European meeting in Berlin end 2011 were sent on 11 February 2012, in order to arrive in North Korea in late March - early April. Many responded to the call of the community for solidarity with the people of North Korea. Dozens of packages of basic medicines, were picked up hundreds of stethoscopes, thermometers, boxes of bandages, gauze, syringes and various medical supplies. Also several large boxes of surgical devices and two sterilizers were given. Operation Hope has added two new oxygen concentrators. Everything was packed onto four pallets. In North Korea the Red Cross will undertake the distribution of the supplies to hospitals and rural clinics.
In 2011, through Operation Hope, the Community made humanitarian shipments for those who lacked food in North Korea: 260 tons of wheat flour and 120 tons of noodles. In 2007 the Community had sent a thousand tons of wheat flour. The first humanitarian shipments into this country were made by the Community in 1998 and 1999: more than a thousand tons of corn were sent to the people who suffered after several years of drought and floods. Since then, every year it was possible to make a sign of solidarity by sending humanitarian aid: milk and feeding bottles for infants, medical equipment and medicines. A brother of the community, himself a native of South Korea, was several times in North Korea and he sometimes accompanied the distribution of food aid. Between 2007 and 2011, the community also invited six doctors from the Red Cross Hospital of North Korea to spend a one-year internship in France.
In 2009, Taizé had one million Bibles printed in China
At the European meeting which brought together 40,000 young people in Brussels at the end of 2008, Brother Alois announced that, to respond to the needs of the Christians of China, the Taizé Community was going to have printed one million Bibles in China—200,000 complete Bibles and 800,000 New Testaments with Psalms. The printing was done in Nanjing, and from there the books were delivered across the country in successive stages throughout 2009.
In 2009, the Taizé Community is also supporting the biblical work of the Protestant Church in China. This support was continued throughout 2010 and 2011.
Support for AIDS orphans in Ethiopia
Operation Hope continues to help the religious sisters in Ethiopia whose work it has been supporting for more than fifteen years. In Addis Ababa they care for children who are AIDS orphans and families who are affected by leprosy.
In Burkina Faso
Burkina Faso is situated in the Sahel where the dry season lasts nine months without interruption. The population uses open wells that often dry up and the women are forced to use unhealthy water collected in artificial ponds during the rainy season. Sometimes they have to go as far as ten kilometres in order to find water and the rare wells that do exist become a source of conflict because of the scarcity of water and the long time they have to wait. Operation Hope supports the drilling of wells and the installation of pumps. These wells are an essential source of water supply for the people and for the prevention of sickness.
In 2010, Operation Hope also supported a project to provide milk for children at the hospital of Nanoro, also in Burkina-Faso.
Solidarity after Bolivian disasters
In 2007, several states in Bolivia were hit by floods. The most serious was in the State of Beni. Operation Hope provided help for buying food for families in the region of Trinidad who had lost their homes and who are living in camps.
While in the plains of Bolivia the problem was rain, it the mountains it was the contrary. The Altiplano was undergoing severe drought. Operation Hope helped farming families from El Alto who were in need of tools for working the earth and of seed.
Schools in Bangladesh
Operation Hope supports schools in Mymensingh, Bangladesh. In all, more than 1500 children study in these schools. These schools are places where young Muslim, Hindu and Christian teachers learn to work together. All of them are students themselves; they have to earn money to pay for their studies. These students understand that, if they wish to receive help themselves, it is also important for them to give something. They give their time to care for these schools, for children from very poor families. Serving the poor in this way increases the feeling of being part of one single human family.
In Cambodia: a place where the sick are made welcome
Every year since 2008, Operation Hope has been sending aid to support a centre for the sick, created in the Infant Jesus Parish of Boeng Tumpun, Cambodia. To respond to the needs of poor village people coming from different provinces in the country, the parish launched this project that promotes the dignity of the sick persons and provides them with the necessary medical care. The closeness to the capital, Phnom Penh, facilitates access to hospitals if that is necessary. Gifts make it possible to share in the cost of hospitalisation, but also to finance the centre itself: to pay the workers and the upkeep of the building, the cost of welcoming these people and of medication.