Dear friends of EPES,
I am always moved and impressed when I receive descriptions of EPES’ latest work and realize how much they are able to do with so few resources. In 2021 alone, EPES reached people from 18 countries, all while coping with the ongoing stresses of the COVID-19 pandemic, now in the latter half of its second year. In this Update, you’ll learn about how EPES is addressing mental health issues in the communities it serves. EPES has organized workshops on psychosocial support, addressing issues such as self care, Grief, caregiver burden, collective responses to mental health challenges, and the importance to mental health of engagement in the natural world.
EPES’ important work on food sovereignty continues apace, with a training workshop and creation of a community garden in Concepción. In Santiago, a transcultural workshop with participants from the Mapuche community who live in the El Bosque municipality provided an opportunity to explore and exchange indigenous knowledge and methods of growing food.
Food sovereignty was also on the agenda (along with other topics) in an exciting online event in October, when women from Kenya, Uganda and Zimbabwe who had attended EPES’ International Training Course held a reunion to share experiences applying what they had learned about popular education, strategic planning, community participation, and creative evaluation methods. EPES’ methods clearly travel well, and are contributing to improved nutrition and greater economic autonomy for women in these communities.
The Update also describes the various activities through which EPES has continued to support the struggle for human rights and access to health care on the part of Chile’s immigrant communities. This work, as is EPES’ custom, combines practical responses to concrete needs, capacity building, and advocacy to change public policies and institutions.
This multilevel approach has characterized EPES throughout its history, and, I believe, has been a major contributor to its extraordinary longevity. Next year, EPES will celebrate 40 years of work, 40 years in which they have dealt with recession, repression, natural disaster and public health calamity, never once wavering in their commitment to stand with the poorest and most marginalized. Thank you for all you have done to support EPES’ efforts on behalf of health, dignity and justice. I hope we can count on your continued support as we enter the homestretch for EPES’ 40th anniversary.*
In solidarity and peace,
Christina Mills MD FRCPC
*Join us in Chile for the 40th anniversary celebration the week of November 19-26, 2022. More information in March.