Son of Slovenians, born in the Buenos Aires town of San Martín, this is the second time that the Parliament of Slovenia nominates him for the award. How is your humanitarian work in Madagascar and the meeting with Pope Francis in “The City of Friendship” one of your most outstanding projects.
The Catholic missionary, Fr. Pedro Opeka, known for his service to the poorest in Madagascar, has been nominated for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize.
Pedro Pablo Opeka was born in Buenos Aires (Argentina) in 1948. His parents were refugees from Slovenia who emigrated after the start of the communist regime in Yugoslavia.
At the age of 18, he entered the seminary of the Congregation for the Mission of San Vicente de Paúl in San Miguel (Argentina). Two years later he traveled to Europe to study Philosophy in Slovenia and Theology in France. He then spent two years as a missionary in Madagascar.
In 1975 he was ordained a priest in the Basilica of Luján and in 1976 he returned to Madagascar, where he remains to this day.
Seeing the desperate poverty in the capital city of Antananarivo, especially in the garbage dumps, where people live in cardboard boxes and children compete with pigs for food, he decided to do something for the poor.
With help sent from abroad and the work of the people of Madagascar, he founded villages, schools, food banks, small businesses and even a hospital to care for the poor through the Akamasoa association.
Madagascar is one of the poorest countries in the world and during the coronavirus pandemic, Father Opeka has worked to help families who have fallen further into poverty as a result of preventive measures to avoid the spread of COVID-19.
An Argentine was among the nominees for the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize : priest Pedro Opeka was chosen for his humanitarian work in Madagascar , where since the 1970s he has worked to reverse marginalization. In the words of Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa, he stands out for “helping people living in appalling living conditions.
Companion to theology studies of Pope Francis , the son of immigrants from Elovenia, the one known as “Father Pedro” was born in San Martín, province of Buenos Aires, in 1948. At the age of 18 he chose to enter the seminary of the Congregation for Mission of San Vicente de Paúl, in San Miguel. Later he traveled to Europe and studied Philosophy in Slovenia and Theology in France. In 1975 he was ordained as a priest in the Basilica of Luján.
The first time he traveled to Madagascar was as a missionary and after being ordained he returned in 1976. There he managed to build and found schools, housing, food banks and even a hospital to serve the poor through the Akamasoa association, which he has run since 1989. .
His foundation, whose name means ” Good Friend “, gave 4,000 houses to homeless families and helped educate 13,000 children and young people. “If they are willing to work, I will help them,” they say he told the residents of the African island.
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