IDB Gives HELPS Stoves to 100 Guatemalan Families

IDB Governors meeting in Guatemala last evening.(March 18th)
Don Oneal, HELPS International, March 19, 2007
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Last evening the XLVIII Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors of the Interamerican Development Bank held in Guatemala City, the following remarks were made by the President of the Bank, Dr. Luis Alberto Moreno at the welcome dinner in honor of distinguished guests held on Sunday, March 18, 2007.

“Madame President of Chile, Michelle Bachelet, Mister President of Honduras, Jose Manuel Zelaya, Mister Prime Minister of Belize, Said Musa and, most especially, our hosts Oscar Berger, President of Guatemala and Mrs. Berger, Mister Hugo Beteta, Governor of IDB for Guatemala, Mister Paulo Bernardo Silva, Governor of IDB for Brasil and current President of the Board of Governors, other distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen:

I want to welcome you and thank you all for joining us this evening and I have a very important announcement to make.

This morning, many of us discussed the form and function of creating a development bank, discover what we have and build what is required. You surely remember how many times we have discussed that, in addition to economic values, we are inspired in our work by social values: equality, inclusion and opportunities for the majority.

We have proposed to grow together to build trust based on clear and solid ethical values and solidarity. Work from a symmetrical attitude in which we do what we say and defend our beliefs by our deeds: the weight of what we do….not just what we say.

(gesturing to an ONIL stove displayed on a platform to his right)…you may all be wondering what this is here on my right or the meaning of the beautiful picture on the front of the card you have at each of your place settings….it symbolizes the joy and hope for well being of each of the 100 indigenous families in Guatemala that, thanks to the generosity of each and every one of you, will enjoy receiving a stove that we are donating through HELPS International. We are joined tonight by Richard Grinnell, the Executive Director. This innovative stove improves the quality of life of each of these families by reducing fuelwood consumption by 60%, reducing deforestation and generating a positive impact on the environment and communities.

Friends, we have usually provided a small token gift as a souvenir of our annual meeting and on this occasion this symbol of wellbeing is your gift. The funds we are setting aside for this are being invested here, in Guatemala and there, in the indigenous communities that expect so much from us. So now, please enjoy your dinner, among friends…."

Ingrid’s view of last evenings event……

The event was a big success last night. HELPS created quite a bit of interest in the stove and our programs. Richard and his wife, Miguel and I attended. Other than the two main tables for the IDB President, Governors, Heads of State and of course, President and Mrs. Berger, there were no other tables reserved in the room except one for us. We were seated with IDB reps and the Ambassador from Belize and his wife right behind the main tables, with direct line of vision to Doña Wendy. When IDB President Moreno gave the opening remarks to welcome the guests he mentioned HELPS by name and pointed out the ONIL stove which was set up on a dais to the right of his podium. The stove was embellished with typical artifacts and a large bow in the IDB colors to symbolize the gift to the 100 Guatemalan Indigenous families. He mentioned HELPS and Richard by name and Richard stood at the point from his seat to acknowledge the honor. At that point, Doña Wendy looked over at our table and gave us the thumbs up sign from the photo on the card. We had had a few minutes to greet her just before taking our seats. Following the dinner, President Berger, The Prime Minister of Belize and other VIPs approached us to congratulate us. As people were mingling, we approached IDB President Moreno and presented him with a miniature ONIL stove in appreciation. He was very pleased with the gesture.