testata tramonto rosso

From Burundi to the Philippines for research

Gloria Imumpaye: "One dream drives me, indeed three".


Gloria Imumpaye, from Burundi, graduated from Sophia on 27th June 2017 with a Master’s thesis in Economics on ‘Participation et réciprocité dans la coopération au développement. Le cas d’un projet de microcrédit communautaire au Burundi’ (Participation and reciprocity in development cooperation. The case of a community microcredit project in Burundi). Only a few days after her graduation, she left for the Philippines to make one – or, as she puts it, several – of her dreams come true.

The first dream of Gloria’s was born out of her aspiration to study. When you come from one of the poorest countries in the world, Burundi, where a twelve-year-long period of political and ethnic conflict caused a million people to be displaced and killed 300 thousand, you ask yourself some crucial questions and feel the push to give your best. That is why Gloria decided to come and study at Sophia and to carry on with her research: to better understand the causes of poverty and development.

She could not have foreseen it only a few months ago, yet the experience she is now living is perfectly in line with the subject of the Master’s degree she earned at Sophia. Gloria was recently invited to spend a few months in the region of Manila, in order to take part in one of the research projects initiated by the OPLA/Observatory of Poverty, one of the many initiatives launched within the Economy of Communion project.


The aim of OPLA is to analyse the development processes generated by Economy of Communion initiatives through the lens of reciprocity. That is why OPLA was named in honour of Leo Andringa, one of the protagonists of the EoC who passed away one and a half years ago. He realised that considerateness and tactfulness are necessary in the process of distributing benefits to the people who find themselves in a state of economic, social and cultural need.

Within this framework, the overall objective of the research project underway in the Philippines is to investigate on a new model of accompaniment to people in need that has been taking shape in the Asian country. Gloria’s work in Manila will contribute to this phase of the project. She will  monitor the effectiveness of the model from both a material and a relational point of view, studying the valuable relations that arise among the people involved.

Gloria’s second dream is more specific: she wants to acquire some skills in the field of micro-credit. Through an internship with Bangko Kabayan, a rural bank that adhered to the EoC proposal many years ago, she will be able to gain deeper knowledge of this peculiar way of supporting business ideas, even those that come from people who are usually not considered eligible for loans, because they cannot provide the necessary guarantees.

Finally, her third dream. Here’s how she describes it: ‘I know I was lucky to find out about the Economy of Communion and live the Sophia experience. What pushes me to work hard now is the desire to let many other young people in the world know and experience the reality of a more equitable and fraternal world. That is what gives value to the dreams I have for myself’. During her months in Manila, Gloria will also be contributing to another initiative: the organisation of the Genfest, an international event for young people promoted by the Focolare Movement. The eleventh edition of the meeting will be held in the Asian capital in July 2018.

Author: Redazione Web
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