First Lady and Pope Francis share a common idea of helping the poor and needy in the society.
First Lady, Mrs Chantal Biya, certainly had a special day, yesterday, March 23, 2017, after having another encounter with the Holy Father, Pope Francis at the Vatican. The meeting was special because of their common vision in helping the poor and needy. While Pope Francis is referred to as the Pope for the poor, Mrs Chantal Biya is known as the woman with a good heart who is always ready to assist those in need.
Mrs Chantal Biya and Pope Francis, in their different corners have put words into actions when it comes to reaching out to those in need. Both personalities have taken it as a duty to defend the universal rights to food and water, especially for the poor and needy who have ever had the opportunity to face them personally.
Mrs Chantal Biya through associations she created such as the Circle of Friends of Cameroon (CERAC), the Chantal Biya Foundation (CBF), African Synergy For the Fight against HIV and Suffering, has being reaching out to those in need in all domains in life be it in the education, health, material and social aspects. Mrs Chantal Biya, Founding President of CERAC is also UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador and her institution aims at taking an active part in the development of Cameroon by delivering much-needed assistance to the most vulnerable groups. Since its inception in 1995, CERAC has been working throughout the country, paying visits to patients, building schools to ensure the education of young Cameroonians, making donations to various hospitals and schools as well as working all forms of hardship and against HIV-AIDS. African synergy, which is also an initiative of Mrs Biya, is an embodiment of African First Ladies’ willingness to contribute to the improvement of the health and well-being of Africans.
Throughout his public life, Pope Francis has been noted for his humility, emphasis on God's mercy and concern for the poor. That is why as a Pope,
he has a department known as the Office of Papal Charities (Elemosineria Apostolica). One of the workers in the office, Sister Marie Thecle Okole, who is a Cameroonian, said it is the Holy See that provides charity to the poor in the name of the Pope both in Italy and abroad. Sister Marie Okole explained that through the office, people are able to see the concrete charity works of the Pope. Besides moving around the streets of The Vatican and Rome each Wednesday and Thursday to provide food to those who are in need, Sister Marie Okole explained that the Pope has created a dormitory which freely hosts the homeless while providing them with the basic necessities. Through the Office of Papal Charities, medical doctors are usually brought to the Vatican to provide medical care to those in need.
From all indications, one could say the gift of sharing has no boundary or frontier; it is a matter that comes from the heart.