Carla has come across CRS time and time again and has remained because she deeply shares the mission of serving. Born in Peru, she studied a master's degree in the United States where she met her husband, who also works for the organization. Together, they set out on the path to lands very different from their own: Uganda, Burundi, Chad, Haiti, Senegal and currently Madagascar. Thus, she has worked for CRS at multiple different times, in six countries and is now a country representative. Carla grew up in the midst of the internal conflict in marginalized Peru, therefore her life is full of that sensibility which she learned together with her father while he also worked for social projects. That is why it is not surprising she has decided to commit her life to social justice.
From working at CRS, she greatly appreciates the organization's ability to recognize the best allies in local counterparts; the principles of subsidiarity, good management and resource governance to achieve a true, sustainable, development. Like so many people whom work at CRS, it is not an economic motivation that calls her to serve, but to have the opportunity to make a real difference in people's lives.
And, what is most exciting is how CRS, guided by the values of the Catholic Church in the different countries she has served with CRS (Gambia, Senegal, Chad), where more than 95% of the population is Muslim, Carla finds that there are no differences. When the desired outcome is to serve, the objective is always the same, as she explains:
“A dignified life for everyone, where the focus is people living with dignity, with access to resources, with equity and the ability to exercise their rights and participate making decisions about their own lives.”
There are many challenges. In her territory the subject of caring for Mother Nature is essential, since Madagascar is a place with a natural wealth in the form of fauna and flora, the call to preserve and take care of God's gifts, is a call that is not only social, economic or scientific, it is a call to reflection and to action by the entire community. Nevertheless, the achievements are also great. In Gambia, when CRS began working the fight against malaria, the percentage of the disease in the country was more than 50%. Fourteen years later it is 0.01%.
As the only Latin American woman Country Representative, the responsibility is great for Carla. However, she knows that she is opening a path and inspiring, not only at headquarters but members of an entire Hispanic community whose origins are probably also adverse, such as the ones where CRS works. Because anywhere, including the United States, now more than ever, Hispanics have challenges to overcome.
Being a part of CRS is, for Carla, an invitation to kindle that impetus to change the world. It is not a utopia. It is possible.
“Having the possibility of doing something with an impact is really going to change the life of thousands of persons, gives you the sensation of humility but also of pride. That is the type of things that we can do together, not only together as CRS, but together as a society.”
This month we celebrate our Hispanic heritage. Celebrate with CRS!