YEAR JOINED MKLM: 1994
COUNTRY: Japan, Tanzania, Zimbabwe
FOCUS: Civil & Human Rights
GOAL: Engage and develop processes that facilitate peaceful change
Merwyn joined MKLM in 1994. Prior to that, he worked in the legal field as a paralegal, and his volunteer work included the Food Bank of South Florida, Radio Reading Services of South Florida, and various immigration service activities through the archdiocese of Miami and Orlando. Merwyn’s paralegal and peace studies and conflict transformation degrees, his experience in the legal field and with rights advocacy work, and his multi-cultural experience have been of great value to MKLM.
In 1994 was sent to Japan to do Advocacy work for five years. In 2002 he joined the missioners in Tanzania and was based with Jesuit Refugee Services and worked with Burundian refugees. In 2003 he pursued graduate studies with the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding at Eastern Mennonite University. Upon graduation, he and his wife, Kirstin De Mello, served in Zimbabwe for 3 years where Merwyn worked to create bridges between peacebuilding organizations and advocated for the rights of survivors of political torture. He worked with an organization to develop a dynamic network or “web” of individuals and organizations that will contribute to reduce violence and break the current destructive cycles of social interaction.
In 2011 Merwyn worked as part of Mission Services Department of MKLM doing recruitment work.
Merwyn and Kirsten continue doing peacebuilding work in the Middle East.