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Charities say it with flowers

Profits from the sale of roses will go to developing countries. Bread for All

Human rights projects in developing countries are set to benefit after the sale of more than 100,000 roses across Switzerland on Saturday.

This content was published on March 25, 2006 - 11:59

The fundraising was jointly organised by the Catholic Lenten Fund and the Protestant Bread for All charity as part of their annual pre-Easter campaign.

Leading Swiss retailer Migros donated the fair-trade roses, which were sold at SFr5 ($3.80) apiece by teams of volunteers. Television and sports personalities - including figure skating champion Stéphane Lambiel - have lent their weight to the campaign, along with some politicians.

The flower fundraising event started last year but the collaboration between the two church charities goes back more than 20 years.

With close to 120,000 roses sold across the country, organisers said they had raised more than last year's total of SFr500,000.

Dignity and safety

"We started this campaign last year with an anti-violence theme," Patrick Frei of the Lenten Fund told swissinfo.

"A rose is a symbol of the integrity of each person and it is just as appropriate this year too because human rights are part of the same wish that every person has the possibility to live in dignity and safety."

The Lenten Fund supports several projects relating to human rights in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

One project looks after widows who risk losing their home to their husband's family after his death. "We help these women stand up for their rights and be aware of these rights. Through advocacy and lobbying we help them stay in their homes," Frei explained.

Some of the money raised will go to the Vicaria del sur charity in Columbia, also financed by the Swiss charity. Vicaria del sur is based in a conflict zone and supports farmers who are driven out of their homes by violence.

In Chiapas, Mexico, Bread for All finances a women's organisation called Codimuj, which works for the empowerment of poor Mayan women, who are often badly treated when they come into contact with officialdom.

Codimuj, Vicaria del sur and the Congo projects will all directly benefit from the day of the roses in Switzerland.

swissinfo, Clare O'Dea

Key facts

The joint campaign by the Protestant charity Bread for All and the Catholic Lenten Fund is the latest expression of many years of collaboration.
The theme of the ecumenical campaign is "Engagement for Human Rights":
Retailer Migros donated more than 100,000 Max Havelaar roses to the one-day fundraising campaign.

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