Madagascar: A new thrust for justice

Although at the time of its independence in 1960, Madagascar was quite developed in comparison with Africa, it now numbers among the world?s fifteen poorest nations. With the expulsion of Fr De Puybaudet SJ, the newly independent Republic lost the founder of a Christian trade union and an important mentor to lay people with influence in the nation?s political and economic life. At the same time, the social apostolate found itself dispersed in various charities, especially hospitals, assistance to migrants, and schools for the poor in villages. Finally in the 1980s a ?Faith and Justice? centre was founded. It became an important place for documentation and dialogue, working for example, with the National Committee for Election Observation, which proved very effective in dealing with graft and electoral fraud. Now, to regroup many scattered efforts in the social apostolate, a new multi-disciplinary centre is in the planning, to be built in 2002 within the Jesuit parish of the capital Antananarivo and named after former Father General Pedro Arrupe. The director-designate is the anthropologist Pierre André Ranaivoarson SJ, to work with a team of young Jesuits currently in training. A place for meetings, research and publications, the Arrupe Centre?s mandate will be to raise a voice for the island?s poor and unfortunate and against injustice and to make that voice heard among political and economic decision-makers. [HL10503]