Today Misean Cara launches its 2016 Annual Report, and new Strategy 2017-2021 at its AGM in All Hallows College in Dublin. Over 100 missionaries will attend, representing organisations with a combined membership of tens of thousands, working in over 60 countries. This is the global reach of the missionary movement.
The report launch culminates in the news that last year 55 member organisations working in 45 countries in Africa, Latin America and Asia transformed the lives of over 1.4 million people through a series of development projects focused on education, health, sustainable livelihoods, human rights, and humanitarian emergencies.
“Irish missionaries are even more relevant today than they were 30 years ago. Our 2016 Annual Report highlights the key role missionaries play in international development. Our missionary movement is borderless, and focuses on transformation that is community-led and realised by those same communities,” says Misean Cara CEO Heydi Foster.
“Last year was one of our most successful to date*. We funded 270 different projects. Our true success is reflected in the lives that are changed for the better in places that face extraordinary challenges, such as South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi, and parts of Kenya and India. It is inspiring to see a life transformed due the active care and belief of a missionary. Our success is a young girl graduating from secondary school in South Sudan. It is a child in the barrios of Lima who has a safe place to play; it is man in South Africa living in dignity, who is not ashamed to be HIV positive, reaching out to help others who are infected; it is a woman in India who is selling buffalo milk so that she can send her children to school. The stories of our success are countless. This is what we are about.”
There are many challenges in our world today, and Irish missionaries are targeting the most marginalised and vulnerable of communities. In 2016, Misean Cara funded five main sub-sectors including women and children’s rights; sustainable agriculture; secondary education; maternal and child health; and HIV and Aids work.
“Our members place the voices of the vulnerable and marginalised on the edges of society at the heart of the projects we fund,” says Ms. Foster. “They have an ongoing commitment to their communities, which ensures the continuity of the work, and the resilience to keep going despite the challenges.”
“During a recent trip to Peru and Colombia, I had the privilege of visiting a number of projects that are making a difference in so many people’s lives. In Lima, the Columban Fathers ‘Sí, Da Vida’ project is giving life to people living with HIV and AIDS in the urban slums of Lima. Their slogan of “Vida larga, vida plena, vida digna, vida feliz” – “A long life, a full life, a life of dignity, and a happy life” is a rallying call that is inspiring people to make changes in their lives,” says Ms. Foster.
“While in Colombia, I also visited a project supported by the Little Sisters of the Assumption that is supporting the peace initiative between the government and FARC rebels,” says Ms. Foster. “The project trains and empowers women from remote war-ravaged communities to become peace-builders and human rights defenders. This is an amazing feat, and Irish missionaries deserve to be credited for their substantial contribution to making the world a better place.”
“We sincerely thank Irish Aid for their extraordinary support to Irish Missionaries. Working together we will address the global challenges of our times using the dedication and wisdom of missionaries.”
* Across 45 countries, we spent €3.6 million on 64 education projects; €2.8 million on 47 health and water projects; €2.7 million on 38 livelihoods projects; €3.6 million on 68 human rights projects; and €244,000 on 17 emergency projects.