Home > News > Misean Cara Welcomes New Board Member Sr. Jo McCarthy

Sr. Jo McCarthy Director of the Cork Migrant Centre has joined the board of Misean Cara.

Presentation Sr. Jo McCarthy (PBVM) Director of the Cork Migrant Centre, has been appointed to the Board of Directors of Misean Cara, an Irish faith-based NGO that supports the development work of Missionaries worldwide.

“Missionaries have huge experience. They bring a particular vision and they can be focused on people more than projects. They have a wider lens than a particular project,” said Sr. Jo, “Missionaries play a longer waiting game because they’re there for a longer time and they know people and what they can do. They can stand back a bit from the project and say ‘this is working this is not working and we can change it.’ I think they bring a lot of experience. Missionaries are also people focused, and they can influence the direction that a project can take because of their years of experience.”

“The other day I came across a sister working in Nigeria who has developed a variety of yam by working with local people and a scientist from England. By bringing her contact with the local people and the science together at the pace of local people and answering their problem the people have helped themselves. All missionaries tend to have a similar outlook, inspiration, vision of life and drive. Whether a group of missionaries has a foundation in Ireland or Africa or South America it really doesn’t matter it’s what they’re doing they’re missionaries.”

Sr. Jo from Ballinacarriga, Dunmanway in West Cork originally trained as a teacher and has had a long career in development education. She spent over 20 years on mission in Peru working in community development and accompanying people who fled their homes in the capital Lima due to terrorist attacks. Sr. Jo feels a deep affinity with migrants, and as a result she founded the Cork Migrant Centre when she returned to Ireland.

“The centre is really important as a source of information for migrants to negotiate the system, statutory bodies like health, education or social welfare. The immigration system is difficult for everybody, and it’s particularly difficult for people who don’t have English,” said Sr. Jo. “We provide English classes, and we have programmes for people in Direct Provision. Direct Provision is rotten to the core and the fact that you would have children in an institution for so long is wrong.”

“For 2019 I hope that people in leadership would begin to see people rather than problems. I look at President Trump and he is threatened by ordinary people who are simply looking for a better future. Fortunately we’re very lucky in Ireland that this type of fear is in the minority. The new Direct Provision Centres in our small towns obviously cause problems but if people put their energy into changing the system rather than focusing on someone coming in who is a different colour or has a different language. When you get to know them we’re all people we all have the same heart. All of our hearts are the same colour, and the language of love is transcendent and goes beyond any particular language.”

Last year, Misean Cara funded 263 projects in 51 countries worldwide, helping to transform the lives of 1.4 million people.

Misean Cara is funded by Irish Aid and funds its 91 missionary member organisations to work with vulnerable and marginalised communities in over 50 countries around the world. Misean Cara members deliver services and advocate for change in the areas of education, health, livelihoods, human rights and capacity development. These projects are working to eradicate poverty and challenge inequality.

Speaking on the appointment, the Chairperson Ms Lucy Franks said that Misean Cara is delighted to welcome Sr. Jo McCarthy to the Board and hoped to use her experience as a missionary and in migrants rights to further enhance and progress Misean Cara’s work in these areas.

Misean Cara CEO Ms. Heydi Foster said that Misean Cara has highlighted Refugees, Migrants and internally displaced people as a key issue of focus. “Sr. Jo McCarthy with her knowledge and expertise of migrant’s issues will be a very important addition to the Misean Cara board,” said Ms. Foster.

Photo caption: [L – R] Canon Desmond Sinnamon and Dr Siraj Zaidi of the Three Faiths Forum Ireland; Sr Kathleen McGarvey, OLA; Gerry Forde, SMA Justice Desk; Sr Jo McCarthy, PBVM; Fr Sean O’ Sullivan, Monkstown Parish; Mr Charles Payne, Methodist Church, Douglas; Sheikh Ihab Ahmed, Iman, Blarney Street Mosque, Cork. Photo: Missionary Sisters of Our Lady of Apostles.