Erwin Kräutler was born 1939 in Koblach Austria where he grew up as the eldest of six children. In 1980 he was appointed coadjutor prelate of Xingu, the largest diocese in Brazil in terms of area. Upon the resignation of Erich Kräutler, who was his uncle, he became Prelate of Xingu in September 1981. Between 1983 and 1991 and since 2006 he served as President of the Indigenous Missionary Council of the Brazilian Catholic church. Since the 1980s he has helped secure the inclusion of indigenous peoples’ rights into the Brazilian constitution. Especially in the resistance to the Belo Monte dam project, he played an important role.
In his book “Mein Leben für Amazonien: An der Seite der unterdrückten Völker” (My life for the Amazon: On the side of the oppressed people) which was published in May 2014, Bishop Erwin Kräutler looks back on his life. Like no other Austrian, he has shaped the development of the Church in South America since the Second Vatican Council. And no one else can tell this story as authentically as the religious people of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood, who has narrowly escaped death several times because of his personal commitment. Most recently, Pope Francis invited him to incorporate his experience in the conflict between the natural life of the Indians in the rainforest and the interests of the global economy.
Erwin Kräutler maintains contact with his family as well as with friends and supporters in Europe. Because of that, I was able to meet him, which was a very impressive encounter.
Text written in April 2019.
Julia, from Austria, is 18 years old and is now part of the Madeira Heritage voluntary program. Likes to go hiking, swimming and reading, and is looking forward to learning about the culture and history from this wonderful island.
Erasmus+ is a programme of the European Commission embracing the fields of education, training, youth and sports during the period 2014-2020. One of the major aspects is the cooperation between the different fields where the programme acts, hence contributing for a diverse and rich Europe.
Amongst the several goals of the programme, the following are prioritised: the objectives of the Europe 2020 Strategy, including the headline education target; the aims of the strategic framework for European cooperation in education and training (ET 2020), including the corresponding benchmarks; the sustainable development of Partner Countries in the field of higher education; the overall goals of the renewed framework for European cooperation in the youth field (2010-2018); the objective of developing the European dimension in sport, in particular grassroots sport, in line with the EU work plan for sport and the promotion of European values in accordance with Article 2 of the Treaty on the European Union.
In order to achieve these goals, the Erasmus+ has several action policies. The Key Action 1 (KA1) is directed towards the mobility of people; Key Action 2 (KA2) for the cooperation for innovation and the interchange of good experiences; and Key Action 3 (KA3) which is for the support of reformation policies.
Since 1991 the University of Madeira Students’ Union has developed a wide incentive policy for voluntary work. In 2013 the Students’ Union started the process to receive, send and coordinate Erasmus+ projects of the European Voluntary Service, in order to have a larger influence in the volunteering field. The Union received its first volunteer withing the ambit of a KA1 project in 2014. Many efforts have been done to allow young people from Madeira to take part in several initiatives in Europe, as well as propose several projects allowing young people from several countries to work in the projects of the Students’ Union of the University of Madeira. The main goal of the voluntary work is the contribution of the volunteers to the communities and places they will be staying, being their work not rewarded with payment.
We believe that the European Voluntary Service is a mechanism full of experiences, allowing the approved candidates to have the privilege of taking part in these projects and benefit the places and communities where these volunteers will be staying.
Since 2013, the University of Madeira Students’ Union has received volunteers that have collaborated in several activities and initiatives. Besides being able to enjoy a wonderful experience which will contribute to their personal and professional growth, they are able to contribute in a unique way to the community in which they are inserted and to join dozens of volunteers from the University of Madeira.