Lärarförbundet, one of EI’s national affiliates, has announced that it contributed SEK 50,000 to the EI Solidarity Fund. Teacher unionists decided to allocate money to this fund, rather than printing and posting Christmas cards to national and international colleagues.
The union informed its members of its decision in an advertisement in its teachers’ magazine and website, according to Lärarförbundet Principal International Secretary Jörgen Lindholm.
EI General Secretary Fred van Leeuwen stated: “We commend our Swedish colleagues, as well as colleagues worldwide, for contributing to the great solidarity effort represented by the Solidarity Fund.”
Assistance to teachers and families
He added that the Fund, established with voluntary contributions from member organisations and administered by the EI Secretariat, is a visible example of solidarity among teachers around the world. Natural and man-made disasters that threaten the lives of teachers and their families call for teacher solidarity through the delivery of immediate and effective assistance.
“At the EI World Congress in 1998, the role of the Solidarity Fund was extended to providing financial support for development cooperation activities with member organisations in developing countries,” highlighted van Leeuwen.
The decision of the EI Congress opened the way for the Fund to not only be reactive to emergency situations, but also pro-active by cooperating with teacher organisations in developing countries and countries in transition.
The Congress also decided that EI itself and its member organisations should be invited to allocate 0.7 per cent of their annual income to this work. The EI ‘0.7 per cent of income’ contribution is lodged annually in the Solidarity Fund.
All member organisations are invited to contribute to the Fund on an annual basis according to their means. These contributions allow EI to react immediately to organise and coordinate in the most efficient and appropriate way the assistance that our colleagues need.
Specific appeals are also made to member organisations from time to time, in response to major disasters, requesting additional contributions to assist member organisations affected by the disaster.
Support programmes funded
Since the Solidarity Fund was established, funds have been allocated to more than 30 support programmes. In previous years, the EI Solidarity Fund was used to:
· Rescue Colombian teachers belonging to the Colombian teachers’ union, when their lives were under threat
· Help Afghan and Liberian teachers organise schools in refugee camps
· Meet the education needs of children in war-torn countries such as Iraq
· Provide institutional support to teachers in war-torn countries such as Palestine and East Timor
· Provide relief to teachers and children who are victims of natural disasters, such as the earthquake in Turkey, the hurricane in Belize and, most recently, in the areas affected by the South Asian tsunami
· Support long-term assistance projects in troubled zones such as Kosovo, Sierra Leone and Ethiopia
The Lärarförbundet letter can read in its entirety here
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