In Thailand, an education programme for migrants helped to tackle high rates of child labour. In Kenya, rainwater harvesting facilities and solar panels allowed a clinic to operate during episodes of drought and power outages. In South Sudan, emergency food helped to sustain displaced people fleeing outbreaks of violence. In Uganda, training on environmentally friendly farming techniques helped to provide a sustainable livelihood to hundreds of households.
These examples of extraordinary missionary work were shared at the launch of the Misean Cara 2017 Annual Report on Wednesday 27th June 2018 during the organisation’s AGM at the Emmaus Centre in Swords, Co. Dublin. Heydi Foster, CEO at Misean Cara, spoke at the launch.
“Missionaries worldwide continue to make a sustained and significant difference to the lives of the poorest and most vulnerable. In 2017, Misean Cara members reached 1.4 million people through 263 projects. Bringing hope, creating opportunity, asserting rights and helping to turn back the tide of poverty.”
Misean Cara supports the development work of missionaries around the world, and has a membership of 91 organisations that collectively helped to transform the lives of 1.4 million people in 2017, working to eradicate poverty and challenge inequality. The 2017 Annual Report updates on how Misean Cara is delivering against five key goals linked to education, health, sustainable livelihoods, human rights and the Missionary Approach to Development. The report also shares the compelling stories of the individuals and communities who have benefited from the dedication and skills of Irish missionaries.
Steven is a 15 years old student from Barpello, north-west Kenya. “At home, there are seven of us, all going to school. Once, we slept hungry for five days because there was no food! We only survived on the food that we were given at school. Now because we are being given food at school, we can concentrate and learn.” Misean Cara member the Spiritans provided emergency food supplies to schools and the elderly in East Pokot, Kenya. In 2017, Misean Cara funded 26 emergency projects, in 9 countries around the world.
In another example, the St. Daniel Comboni Catholic Hospital in Wau, South Sudan safely delivered Karlino’s son following complications at the time of birth. The hospital is jointly run by the Franciscan Missionary Sisters for Africa and the Comboni Missionaries. It has been supported by Misean Cara since 2012. Thanks to the hospital, Karlino and her baby are now in good health and getting stronger by the day. In 2017, Misean Cara funded 49 health projects, in 17 countries around the world.
Last year saw the highest levels of displacement on record, there are now currently over 65.6 million displaced people worldwide. Misean Cara members supported displaced people with education and human rights projects, such as the Fratelli educational project in Beirut. The project is jointly run by the De La Salle and Marist Brothers, and supports vulnerable children such as Hidaya, whose family fled fighting in Syria in 2013.
Another example of how missionaries have supported displaced people can be seen in Maban County in the Upper Nile State of South Sudan. This remote location is home to over 145,000 people living across four sprawling refugee camps. CEO Heydi Foster recently returned from a monitoring visit to Maban and spoke at the AGM of her experience visiting a project run by the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) for the refugee and host community in the area. “The JRS team are doing great work, work of compassion, courage and humanity. This is truly heroic work to minimise suffering and I am immensely proud of the support Misean Cara is able to provide.”
Ms Foster acknowledged the generous funding of Irish Aid in supporting this vital work, and thanked Misean Cara’s 91 members as a “constant source of inspiration and motivation”. Ms Foster noted that additional funding is needed in order for missionaries to continue their work responding to the great and urgent challenges our world faces.
“Working together we will continue to address the global challenges of our times, using the dedication and wisdom of missionaries and the energy and resilience of the communities they serve.”
Ms Foster concluded the launch of the 2017 Annual Report by looking to the future. “We look forward to continuing to support this essential work, and this year we hope to transform even more lives, working towards a more equitable world where no-one is left behind.”
Photo: Fatuma Bakari from Bububu Village, Wenje Parish, Kenya, works on the land as part of a Food for Assets project run by Misean Cara member organisation the Spiritans. The project enables villagers to work together to produce food for themselves and for the most vulnerable in their communities. Photo by Nyokabi Kahura.