This year’s Project Compassion stories focus on the ways in which Caritas Australia is working around the world to empower vulnerable people to establish sustainable food sources and develop income streams for life.
Pope Francis, launch of the Caritas Internationalis ‘Food for all’ campaign, 2013 “I invite you to make space in your heart… respecting the God-given rights of everyone to have access to adequate food.”
Eric and Margaret (‘Ma’ for short!) live in a rural area of one of the islands in Fiji. They enrolled in a Married Couples Course at the Caritas Australia supported Tutu Rural training centre (Tutu) 25 years ago. They learnt how to grow healthy food for their family.
“I think we were blessed to be part of the program in Tutu. Tutu opened a new door for us. Without Tutu we wouldn’t be where we are now,” says Eric.
Mariama’s 2½ year old daughter, Fati suffered from malnutrition. They were assisted at the Caritas Australia supported Nutrition Centre.
“I would like to say a big thank you to Australian people for all their support to the Nutrition Centre,” Mariama says. “Without your help, the Sisters would not be able to support us and poor children like Fati.”
“Poverty in the world is a scandal. In a world where there is so much wealth, so many resources to feed everyone, it is unfathomable that there are so many hungry children.” Pope Francis, Meeting with Students of Jesuit Schools, 2013.
When Karen learnt the skills to manage her money and choose healthy, nutritious food. She paved the way for a better future for her family.
Taking control of her finances, and learning a new range of life- skills at the Caritas Australia supported program, has given Karen the ability and confidence to choose foods for a healthier life.
“While the common good embraces all, those who are weak, vulnerable, and most in need deserve preferential concern. A basic moral test for our society is how we treat the most vulnerable in our midst” from ‘Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship’, U.S. Catholic Bishops, 2007.
Mother of three Sarita (34) attended school until the eighth grade, making her one of the most well educated women in her village. However she couldn’t grow enough food for her family on her tiny plot of land. In 2007, Sarita joined the Caritas Australia supported Kolkatla Fish Raising Group.
With steady income from the Fish Raising Group, Sarita’s family has been able to feel secure. They’ve bought additional farming land, diversified their crops and now share a secure, sustainable source of healthy food for life.
“The fight against hunger must have no colour, no religion, no political affiliation. Ending hunger is absolutely necessary if we want a truly sustainable and more secure future. It makes political and economic sense, but morally and ethically, it is also the right thing to do.” Mr. Graziano da Silva, FAO Director-General, UN Food and Agriculture Organization, 2013.
Cristian is a 33 year old farmer who lives in a remote Andean village in Peru. His community lives a traditional life and farmers have always relied on the rains to water crops. Through the Caritas Australia supported program, Cristian improved irrigation to his fields and learned to grow and harvest high value fruit crops that provide an income and a variety of food for life.
Cristian with his family in front of their house. “We are less worried because we are focused on development, and with that in mind we are improving ourselves, with the help of Caritas, on the best way to produce,” says Cristian.
“I invite all of the institutions of the world, the Church, each of us, as one single human family, to give a voice to all of those who suffer silently from hunger, so that this voice becomes a roar which can shake the world.” Pope Francis, launch of the Caritas Internationalis ‘Food for all’ campaign, 2013.
Vinsen is a farmer in West Timor, Indonesia. Vinsen enrolled in the Sustainable Agriculture Program, supported by Caritas Australia and run by local partner Yayasan Mitra Tani Mandiri (YMTM).
In the program Vinsen learned to grow sustainable crops in changing weather patterns. “Before the program I was very anxious,” says Vinsen. “But now I do not worry. There is always cassava, banana and taro in the garden. We will not be hungry.”
“The adverse impacts of a changing climate are going to have serious effects in agriculture and water sectors. This would have an impact on food security, nutrition, and rural livelihoods.” William Sutton, World Bank Lead Economist, 2013
Growing, choosing and sharing sustainable Food For Life
Lord, we thank you for our daily bread. Give us the strength to take action and help our brothers and sisters around the world. We thank you for the Caritas Australia partners who are helping children, women and men who are the most vulnerable to poverty establish sustainable food sources. We ask your blessing on vulnerable communities around the world that they may be able to grow, share and have food for life. We make this prayer in Jesus’ name. Amen. Prayer
Join us in Project Compassion and support programs around the world that provide vulnerable people with the skills and opportunities they need to establish sustainable food sources for life.
Picture credits Fiji: Andrew Garrick and Andrew Morrison Niger: Francois Therrien Australia:Danielle Lyonne Nepal:Stephen Kadlec PeruDrew Morrison Indonesia:Mie Cornoedus
The Catholic Agency for International Aid and Development