Cover Image
close this bookEducation and Development while Safeguarding the Environment (WOC, 2001, 6 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentEducation and development while safeguarding the environment
View the documentInterim report
View the documentWater - as precious as gold
View the documentMembres de l'OME


World Organization/or the Child

P.O. Box 55, 1211 Geneva 19

E - GamPh - 05.00


The Swiss Army recently introduced boots of a new design, consequently a large quantity of leather gaiters became obsolete. Disposal of the gaiters in Switzerland would not only be costly in money and energy, but would cause pollution. For the WOC, on the contrary, these gaiters represent a most welcome gift, since the leather can be used as an ideal raw material in setting up 6 or 7 apprenticeship centres in the Middle East and Asia. One of these centres is described below. The creation of such centres relieves the North of an environmental problem, while giving many young people the opportunity to learn a useful trade.

Education and development while safeguarding the environment

Philippines - Children with no schooling

In Manila, the capital, 70,000 childen live in and from the street, sometimes from the age of 3. Most of them are able to eat only one day out of two. It is estimated that some 15,000 children have been forced into prostitution.

Educational difficulties

While education is compulsory and free of charge, poor children are virtually unable to go to school: their parents cannot afford to buy the clothes or the materials the children need for their schooling.

Moreover, in the absence of any stimulation at home and of nursery schools to give them a start, children from poor families often leave school after the first year.

Existing structures and direction

In order to help the greatest number of children to receive schooling, not only in Manila but in the whole of the Philippine archipelago, the Catholic priest Father Pierre Tritz, born in Lorraine, created «Back to School»: in 1974 he founded ERDA (acronym in Spanish for «Foundation for research and development in education» of which he is president), an institution that enables about 30.985 children to go to school. Most of them still work for half of the day in the public refuse heaps known as «Smoky Mountains» in Manila, so as to obtain a few pesos for their families, who live an almost vegetable existence.

Shoemaking school for apprentices

The lack of equipment in the state schools induced ERDA to establish ERDA-TECH (a technical and occupational school) with a capacity of 2,000 pupils. It is equipped to train 50 young people a year in making shoes and leather goods. Completion of the course will be attested by a certificate of competence recognized be the state.


The aim of ERDA -TECH is to enable young Philippines to learn a trade that will provide them with a decent living, in their own area, and to take part in developing their country.

Making shoes and leather goods is an activity that meets vital requirements in the country. If young people are trained in this trade, it means that industry will be able to employ local employees who are skilled workers.

After financial aid to start with, and with the sale of the essential items made by the apprentices, this occupational centre is likely to become rapidly self-supporting.

Duration and scope of project

The great majority of former pupils of ERDA, some of whom completed their training more than 20 years ago, are still faithful to the institution that enabled them to acquire a trade. An association of former pupils provides funds to help ERDA to survive in a period of major economic difficulties, in a praiseworthy gesture of solidarity and loyalty.

The amount of raw material donated by the Swiss Army will also make it possible to supply an adequate stock of leather to newly qualified young people who wish to set up their own enterprises, which in turn will be able to train more apprentices.

The WOC has supported ERDA-TECH for a number of years, and has never encountered any problems. Consequently, the WOC considers that the success of the apprenticeship centre is assured.

Budget for 2 years: Sfrs. 240.000
The first centre was launched in October 1999
(Interim report next page)

Interim report

E - IR - 05.00

The young people in the Philippines have begun to make sandals, briefcases, purses and keyrings, also cases for credit cards and pens, together with other useful articles. We have already received the first batch of samples.

These prototypes were very well received when presented, not only in the Philippines, but also to potential buyers in Switzerland, who propose to order certain articles to offer to their clients. Among those interested are companies that intend to give orders for the manufacture of special products, not shown in the catalogue, which will carry their logo.

Special orders present no difficulty to our young partners - on the contrary, they feel appreciated when called on to show their skills. They are also aware that each new order brings closer the day when their apprenticeship centre becomes autonomous, an event to which they look forward impatiently.

Father Tritz and his closest helpers have told us that the project has produced enormous enthusiasm among their young 'proteges'. Their motivation for the work exceeds all expectations; consequently there will be no problems if they have to speed up the work or work longer hours in order to meet delivery deadlines.

To encourage this remarkable zeal, the WOC will do its utmost to find new clients, in order to show these young people that the will to work brings rewards and promises real hope for the future.

To succeed in this venture we need your support!

Water - as precious as gold

World Organization for the Child
P.O. Box 55, 1211 Geneva 19

E - Puitsj - 05.00

In 1998 and again in 1999, the Latin Convent in Karak, in Southern Jordan, a school with 750 pupils, was obliged to curtail the school year by a month, owing to a severe water shortage. The problem is of constant concern to the 160,000 people living in the area, due partly to the irregularity of deliveries by tanker truck from the Ministry of Irrigation and partly to the high costs of delivery. The director of the Latin Convent, Father Jaar, who holds a doctorate in history, made a study of the thousands-year history of Karak. Situated at 950 metres altitude, this strategic stronghold has an imposing fortress encircled by ramparts. It was occupied successively by the Moabites, subjects of the famous Kings of Moab, by the Romans and by the Crusaders, all of whom chose it mainly because water reserves there were plentiful, and were renewed each year during the rainy season. With these facts in mind, Father Jaar began to explore the cellars of the school, which is housed in a former monastery. Very soon he discovered an empty cistern, with a pulley, dating from the Roman era, about 17 metres below the ground and capable of holding 240 cubic metres of water - the equivalent of an Olympic-size swimming pool measuring 50 x 25 x 2 metres.

Disastrous situation

The population of Karak, probably among the poorest in Jordan, has suffered for years from the inadequate water supplies.


In Father Jaar's opinion, it is imperative to find an effective and lasting solution to the worrying problem. He proposes that the cistern be thoroughly cleaned, the stonework and the steps giving access to the cistern repaired, the stone water channels dating from Roman times restored or, if this is not possible, replaced, and a pump installed.


To fill the cistern during the rainy season, thus reducing the costs of water deliveries by tanker truck and eliminating the uncertainty of supplies.

To encourage the inhabitants to restore the Moabite and Roman cisterns, by supplying surplus water to them once the Latin Convent cistern has been renovated.

Start of work and maintenance of the cistern

The rainy season lasts from the end of September to mid-January. To ensure that this season is not missed in 1999, the WOC has given the go-ahead for work on the cistern to begin. When the work has been completed, maintenance of the cistern will be the total responsibility of the Latin Convent.

All 750 children to help

Each pupil of the school will play a part in the restoration of the cistern, by carrying a few stones or buckets of sand or water. These symbolic gestures will make them aware of the value of water.

Identity and administration of the Latin Convent

The establishment, which is Catholic, specializes in schooling and vocational training. It is recognized by the State and, in particular, by the whole of the local community, which is 95% Muslim, since it accepts pupils without discrimination. The WOC has supported this school since 1991.

The great majority of former pupils remain loyal to the institution that enabled them to acquire a trade or a skill. An association of former pupils, parents and sympathizers is active to ensure the survival of the Latin Convent, either by donations or by services. In addition, former apprentices have already succeeded in setting up their own workshops, where in their turn they train other young people.

Father Jaar, the director of the Latin Convent, is Palestinian, born in Jerusalem 45 years ago. After organizing an educational centre at Zarka, near Amman, and directing it with great competence, he was transferred to Karak, his present teaching post.


This project demonstrates the willpower and the enterprise of the WOC's, partners in the field, and proves that it is possible to foster lasting enthusiasm and efficiency with minimum cost.

Karak, 27 October 1999

World Organization for the Child (WOC)
Route des Morillons 5 - P.O. Box 55
1211 Geneva 19

Project: restoration of a Roman cistern

Dear President, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Thanks to you, we have the joy of a water supply once more: your efforts and your generosity have freed us from a worry that haunted us day and night - «THERE'S NO WATER '»

For the Roman cistern underneath our school (a former convent) has been restored and reconditioned to store rainwater. And today came the first shower of the rainy season that announces winter. As the water began to fall from the sky, we shed tears of emotion, and all those in the school rejoiced at our success. So 1 am very happy to be able to send you this final report telling how the work was carried out and how your contribution was used.

1st stage: With two pumps that we had bought, the water that had lain for long years at the bottom of the cistern was pumped out; it took 3 days of hard work.

2nd stage: 1 had to go down first into the cistern, to inspect the state of it, since nobody had dared to do so before. So, at the end of a rope, I began to lower myself by muscle power. Halfway down, I felt fatigue and fear such as I had never known before. The rope was beginning to slip between my hands, I did not know how much further I had to go down, nor «what awaited me at the end» - and so on. My imagination made me tremble with fear. However, once I had recovered my breath, I continued the descent and found myself sinking in the mud. It came up to my knees, then 1 touched bottom, so that fear and trembling gave way to curiosity. I called to the workmen, who had remained above, and they began to come down carefully, one by one. They began the work of removing the mud and cleaning the cistern, which took a whole week. After that, wooden scaffolding was put up, for repairing the walls. Seen from inside the cistern, the extent of deterioration was much greater than it had appeared when viewed through the narrow opening at the top.

3rd stage: The foreman and the workmen installed the pumps and piping for the water supply to the school. They then set the safety controls, to shut off incoming water when the cistern is full. They disinfected the cistern, whitewashed the passageway leading to it, installed the lighting, and put up a steel entrance door.

The project was completed before the winter rains came. This pioneering project, needless to say, has provided a good example to the people of Karak: everybody is talking about it, and the newspapers have reported it. Karak is surrounded by desert, and there are many disused cisterns that could be restored to use, to resolve the serious shortage of water. People in Karak are now beginning to realize this, and come to ask our advice.

We must not forget the 750 pupils in our school: they worked with small hands but with huge enthusiasm, carrying little buckets filled with sand, water and gravel, or helping in various ways. They will get their reward in the dry season. All this was made possible by the WOC and its donors!!!

We will invite His Excellency the Swiss Ambassador to Jordan to the inauguration of the cistern. I look forward with pleasure to the visit of a representative of the WOC, to inspect the accounts and the restoration work on the cistern, and to celebrate with us this wonderful feat, which could be accomplished only thanks to the WOC.

We pray that the Good Lord will reward you all with good health.

Yours sincerely,
Father Khalil JAAR, PH.D.
(Parish priest of Karak and
Director of the Latin Convent School)

Le puits romain de Karak (Jordanie)
Der romische Brunnen von Karak (Jordanien)
The roman cistern of Karak (Jordan)

Avant - vorher - before

Renov renoviert - restored

Membres de l'OME


- Mueller Bertrand (CH)

Ing. EPFL, MBA IMD - Cadre bancaire

Prdent extif

- M/B> Eugen Frederic (CH)

President fondateur


- Rochat Dominique Mme. (CH)

Conseil extif

- Grandy M. Marcel (CH)
- Gutierrez Mme Mireille, Franse Andr(F)
- Huber Peter (CH)
- Krause Mme. Heidemarie (D)
- Mueller M. Bertrand (CH)
- Wisler M. Stefan Roger (CH)


- Beney Louis (CH)
- de Brie Frans (F)
- Cionca Dr m Sorin (CH)
- Dessart Pr Dr Francis (B)
- FitzGerald Mme Sheila Mary (GB)
- Franceschetti Dr Nicolas (CH)
- Hli Werner (CH)
- Henry Marie-Rose (Ha)
- Oppikofer Thierry (CH)
- Pasche Mme. Angelina (CH)
- Steinmann Philippe (CH)
- Sun Shuangxi (Chine)
- Vantini Antonio (CH/I)


- Aubert Me Pierre (CH)

anc. Pres. de la Confederation suisse

- van Boven Pr Theo (NL)

Prof. a l'Universite Limbourg

- Carron de la Carri Etienne (F)

anc. Prdent Fration internationale routi

- Dieng Mae Adama (Sgal)

Secrire g Commission int. juristes

- Egli Dr iur. Alfons (CH)

anc. Pres. de la Confederation suisse

- Essaafi Mohamed (Tunisie)

anc. Coordinateur UNDRO

- George Mme Jean (Trinidad/Tobago)

Conseill Mission permanente ONU

- Jankowitsch Dr iur. Peter (A)

Ambassadeur, anc. Ministre

- ma Solo Pr Dr Masiala (Za)

- Mbaye Mme Maitre Aminata (Sgal)

Avocat a cour de Dakar

- Meissner-Blau Mme Freda (A)

Dguau Conseil national autrichien

- Morel R P. Claude (CH), Directeur d'le

- Mouawad M. Robert (Liban), Joaillier

- Mueller Xavier, Dr FMH (CH)

Chef de clinique, Chirurgie cardio-vasculaire CHUV

- Plihon S.E. M. le Ministre Jean (F)

anc. Consul gral de France

- Romanoff S.A.I. Nicolas, Prince de Russie

- de Rothschild Baronne Nadine (F)

- Sciolli S.E. M. l'Ambassadeur Dr Dino (CH)

Ambassadeur de Suisse

- Sidjanski Pr Dusan (CH)

Professeur d'Universit

- Souss Pr Ibrahim (PAL), Professeur, ivain, anc. Dgural de Palestine en France