115 participants, 12 countries and 3 days of foresight were the ingredients of the 3rd congress of the International Federation of Little Brothers of the Poor which took place from May 24th to May 27th at the Intergenerational Meeting Center in France.
Thinking up the future programs of Little Brothers of the Poor in 2040 throughout the world, in light of the main changes that our societies will experience: demographic changes, the explosion of the middle classes in the southern countries, technological progress, progress in medicine, evolution of the social links, evolution of the housing for the elderly …. This was the challenge of this congress!
Thanks to games, workshops, but also the speeches of Michel Camdessus (former director of the International Monetary Fund) and Louise Aronson (geriatrician and professor in the US), the members of the International Federation were able to realize how the simplest acts of love for others, human tenderness, closeness and long-term relationships are the most indispensable in making our world livable. Far from belonging to times past, these acts belong to the future. They are the key to renewing social bonds and rejuvenating our world.
Isolation is increasing everywhere, including in cultures that were thought to be safe from these problems. The work of the Little Brothers of the Poor is as useful today as it was yesterday in the fight against isolation for the coming years but each organization will have to adapt to technological, economic, social and demographic changes to best meet the needs of older people and volunteers.
These three days of foresight have also enabled all organizations of the International Federation to realize the importance of spreading similar programs in other countries, including southern countries. As well as raising awareness among the general public about the isolation of the elderly. Sam Dick, from Campaign to End Loneliness in the UK, showed how communication can move citizens and governments to take action.
“This congress allowed us to discuss how we can develop more brotherhood and friendship, how we manage to mobilize citizens, how we manage to make society aware of this problem and how we make every citizen feel responsible for his elderly neighbors” (Armelle de Guibert, Chief executive of les petits frères des Pauvres in France).