Welcome to MissionAid, the Misean Cara newsletter. In this issue we share some incredible success stories from around the world. These are just a handful of examples of how missionaries make real and sustained differences to the lives of vulnerable and marginalised people.
It has been a busy year for Misean Cara and we have been involved in a number of key advocacy and policy activities. At a global level Misean Cara was part of the Irish delegation to theUN High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) in New York, and at national level we made a submission to the White Paper consultation on Ireland's New International Development Policy. You can read Misean Cara's submission on our website here.
In this issue we have a spotlight on Maban County in South Sudan. I recently visited the refugee camps in Maban to see the courageous work of the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS). JRS support the thousands of refugees and displaced people, many from Sudan, who have found themselves caught up in the South Sudanese civil war. 'Caught Between Conflicts' tells the story of people living in very extreme circumstances, and how JRS is making a difference.
We launched the Misean Cara 2017 Annual Report at our AGM at the end of June. In 2017, 1.4 million people benefited from 263 Misean Cara funded missionary development projects in 51 countries across Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East. Whilst the statistics are very impressive, the report also provides an opportunity to hear some of the incredible stories behind those figures. Read about an education project for migrants in Thailand which helps to tackle high rates of child labour, and a clinic in Kenya that uses rainwater harvesting and solar panels to stay open during episodes of drought and power outages. These are just two examples of many, which highlight the extraordinary work of missionaries.
Finally, I just want to thank you for subscribing to MissionAid, and taking the time to read about the inspirational projects we support. If would like to help, you can donate online at www.miseancara.ie/donate.
Yours in solidarity,
Heydi Foster CEO, Misean Cara
Caught Between Conflicts
Refugees Living In The World’s YoungestCountry
Between fighting in Sudan and civil war in South Sudan, violence has become a sad fact of life for refugees in Maban county.
A humanitarian crisis of shocking proportions is currently unfolding in South Sudan, the world’s youngest country. Maban is one of the most marginalised and remote areas in South Sudan and home to over 145,000 people living across four sprawling refugee camps. The majority of people came to Maban having fled armed conflict in the Blue Nile and South Kordofan states of Sudan.
In this extremely challenging environment, there is a ray of hope. The Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) is working to bring some normality to people’s lives through education and psychosocial support services in the refugee camps of Maban County.
Heydi Foster, CEO at Misean Cara, recently returned from a monitoring visit to South Sudan. “People have been warning for some time that South Sudan is on the brink of a famine, but for many of the people in Maban County, daily hunger is already a reality. I witnessed the women and men working with JRS doing truly heroic work to minimise suffering. I’m proud of the support Misean Cara is able to provide.”
Click hereto read the full article on our website.
Continue reading below to hear about the experience of Ganun Butros Wadko, supervisor of the JRS psychosocial team’s home visits in the Doro Refugee Camp, and Basamat Alnoor Jakolo Aldabi, teacher in the Kaya Refugee Camp.
Ganun Butros Wadko
JRS Home Visitation Programme
"Our team is from the community we serve, and Ganun is one of them. He knows the language. He lives in the community." Fr. Tony O’Riordan SJ, JRS Project Director in Maban.
Ganun Butros Wadko is in charge of the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) Home Visitation Programme at Doro Refugee Camp in Maban, South Sudan.
Ganun Butros is originally from the Blue Nile region of Sudan. It took a month for his family to walk from their village to the refugee camps of Maban. “We left home with nothing. When the bombing started, we fled with just our clothes."
"We would stop and rest every few days, always making sure everyone was present. If something bad happens, you can’t go on without supporting each other. If someone went missing, we’d go look for them.”
His concern that no one be left behind soon attracted the attention of the JRS, and Ganun Butros was hired to coordinate home visits at the Doro camp to provide support as part of the psychosocial care services JRS offers. He says the visits give people hope.
Click here to read more about Ganun Butros and the Home Visitation Programme.
Basamat Alnoor Jakolo Aldabi
JRS Teacher Training Programme
"Basamat is a good role model. We’re hoping that some of the girls she teaches will themselves join our teacher training programme." Alima Kemisa, JRS Teacher Trainer.
Education is often neglected in times of crisis and conflict. The Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) provides education opportunities for pre-school children and adults in Kaya Refugee Camp, as well as enrolling teachers on training programmes.
When war broke out in 2011 in the South Kordofan and Blue Nile regions of Sudan, Basamat Alnoor and her family were forced to flee their home town of Mak. After an arduous journey, they arrived at the refugee camps in Maban.
Basamat Alnoor was eager to continue her education, despite the curriculum being taught in a different language. Her hard work paid off and she was soon recruited to become a teacher, dividing her time between her studies and teacher training classes. Despite a very challenging environment and outbreaks of violence, she graduated the teaching course, one of only two women. She now teaches in a primary school in the Kaya Refugee Camp.
Click here to read more about Basamat Alnoor and the Teacher Training Programme.
Misean Cara will be hosting a morning seminar from 9:30am to 12:30pm on Thursday 25th October 2018 at Wood Quay Venue in Dublin linked to the UN International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. 'Tackling Forced Displacement: people, poverty & rights' will discuss forced displacement as a cause of poverty and a serious human rights concern.
The seminar will hear from Irish missionary organisations working in the Global South to support people who have been forcibly displaced - whether categorised as refugees, Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) or migrants. The seminar will also address linkages to displacement, rights and advocacy issues in Ireland and internationally.
"Working together we will continue to address the global challenges of our times, using the dedication and wisdom of missionaries..." Heydi Foster, CEO at Misean Cara, at the 2018 Misean Cara AGM.
The 2018 Misean Cara AGM was held on Wednesday 27th June 2018 at the Emmaus Centre in Swords, Co. Dublin. The event was attended by over 100 people from 45 member organisations. The business of the AGM was held in the morning and led by Chairperson, Lucy Franks. Heydi Foster, CEO then reported on 2017 activities and launched the 2017 Annual Report.
In the afternoon, Duncan Green, Senior Strategic Adviser, Oxfam GB and Professor in Practice in International Development, London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), presented to attendees on 'How change happens: Exploring the implications for advocacy on human rights, transparency and accountability'.
"It's about being there for the long haul, staying with a community and tackling issues together." Sr. Kate Nolan, Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary, at the Crossing Boundaries Event.
Missionaries have a lot to contribute in developing countries, and their contribution is unique. That was the message at Misean Cara's public learning event on 'Missionary and Faith-Based Approaches to Development' held on Thursday 31st May 2018 at the Wood Quay Venue, Dublin.
The event, attended by over 65 people, heard about the unique way that missionaries work to make a difference. National and international speakers included Rick Van Der Woud from Mensen Met Een Missie in the Netherlands, Caitriona Dejean from Tearfund in the UK, Sr. Kate Nolan from the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary, and Seamus O’Leary from Misean Cara.
'Welcome to Misean Cara’s Annual Report for 2017, which will introduce you to this vibrant membership organisation at the forefront of community based development work around the world. What you read here will give you a taste of the transformative power of their work, 'to the core', in education, health, livelihoods, human rights and emergency response.' From the Foreword by Lucy Franks, Chairperson.
The Misean Cara 2017 Annual Report was launched on Wednesday 27th June 2018 at our AGM at the Emmaus Centre in Swords, Co. Dublin. The report shares the compelling stories of the individuals and communities who have benefited from the dedication and skills of Irish missionaries.
The precariousness of life for poor people in developing countries is often exacerbated by the limited range of livelihoods options available to them. Much of the work of Misean Cara’s member organisations aims to expand the range of options for earning an income available to a family.
Click here to read the Learning Brief on lessons from Misean Cara Livelihoods Project Evaluations in 2015 and 2016.
Missionary Approach to Development Interventions
Misean Cara is in no doubt that faith-based organisations in general, and missionary organisations in particular, have a significant contribution to make in delivering transformative development interventions in poor, marginalised and vulnerable communities throughout the world.
Click here to read the Learning Brief on reflections on missionary and wider faith-based approaches to development.
Missionary Responses to Ebola Virus Crises
'In Sierra Leone, the Sisters’ response to the Ebola crisis can be understood as a journey that they undertook in order to accompany the people among whom they lived and worked as they struggled to find pathways that would lead them safely through the crisis and onwards to the rebuilding of lives and communities. By travelling alongside the people in this way, the Sisters gave hope and built trust where previously there had been neither.'
Missionary Responses to Ebola Virus Crises, Conclusion.
Click here to read the Learning Brief on the Missionary Sisters of the Holy Rosary’s effective responses to the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) crises in Liberia and Sierra Leone between 2014 and 2016.
Andrea Cortemiglia, Southern Africa Development Mentor, recently facilitated a Livelihoods Sector Workshop on critical issues for successful interventions.
Misean Cara members involved in much-needed livelihoods promotion for poor and marginalised communities in Malawi attended a Livelihoods Sector Workshop in Lilongwe at the end of August.
The members who attended the meeting focus on empowering small-scale farmers living in some of the most marginalised and vulnerable areas of Malawi to improve agricultural productivity, promote food security and build resilience to climate change.
The workshop helped Misean Cara gain greater insight into how best to interact and support members in Malawi, taking into account the resource-constrained context in which they work.
Heydi Foster and Anne Carthy were part of the Irish delegation at the UN High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF).
From 9th to 18th July 2018, more than a thousand representatives from governments, businesses and civil society gathered at the United Nations High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) in New York.
The UN HLPF has a central role in the follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the global level.
Each year a number of countries self-select to present a Voluntary National Review (VNR). This year 47 countries presented VNRs which detailed the actions taken by each country to achieve the SDGs and the challenges faced. Mr. Denis Naughten TD, Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment presented Ireland's first ever VNR on 17th July 2018.
Click hereto read a blog article by Anne Carthy, Donor Engagement and Communications Manager at Misean Cara.
Keeping Children Safe in Kenya
A Human-Rights-Based Approach
"An integrated, pro-active, human rights based, missionary approach to keeping children safe." Harry Shier, Learning and Development Officer, Misean Cara.
Harry Shier, Learning and Development Officer at Misean Cara, recently conducted a monitoring trip in Kenya to visit Misean Cara funded projects working in the human rights sector. Harry visited several projects working to keep children safe:
The Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) project at Kakuma refugee camp in the far north-west of Kenya, near the South Sudan border, provides a safe haven for children with special needs and survivors of violence, trauma and abuse.
The Termination of Female Genital Mutilation (TFGM) project, in the Maasai country south of Nairobi, works through alliances with key actors and influencers from within the culture to organise advocacy and awareness-raising about FGM.
The HAART (Awareness Against Human Trafficking) project in Nairobi, supported by Misean Cara member VMM International, works to raise awareness and advocate against human trafficking. HAART have also established a survivors' refuge which provides skills training and trauma counselling.
Finally, the Haki Yetu project in Mombasa works on a variety of human rights issues, including the right for children to live without violence, and to be protected from abuse, exploitation and mistreatment.
Click hereto read the full blog article and learn more about these projects.
"Thousands of people who have had to flee war... find themselves here in a country that is also experiencing its own conflict." Fr. Tony O’Riordan SJ, JRS Project Director in Maban.
Photojournalist Paul Jeffrey visited the refugee camps in Maban County, South Sudan. Watch the video to see the incredible work of the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS), transforming lives in this extremely challenging environment.
Heydi Foster, CEO at Misean Cara recently attended the UN High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) in New York. The Irish Government updated the UN on the country’s progress to date on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Ireland’s first Voluntary National Review (VNR).
Research conducted for Misean Cara in 2017 identified five key features which, when taken in combination, describe a way of doing development work that is unique to missionaries. Misean Cara has produced a series of videos on the Missionary Approach to discuss and reflect on these five key features.
This video explores the first of the five features: Long-term commitment. The video hears first hand from missionaries through a multi-media presentation incorporating audio, video and photography footage from the archives of Misean Cara members and from Misean Cara media projects.
Click here to visit Misean Cara's Vimeo page and watch more videos.
"They know that only education can create opportunity for their children… they don’t want their children to do this sort of work…"
Documentary Maker Fergal McCarthy traveled to Kolkata, India to visit a unique Misean Cara funded education project, run by the Loreto Sisters, for children living and working on brickfield sites on the outskirts of Kolkata city and throughout the state of West Bengal.
Brickfields are locations in India where bricks are made by hand for the local construction industry. This industry depends on the cheap labour of migrant families and their children, coming from some of the poorest districts of the neighbouring states of Bihar and Jharkhand.
In the state of West Bengal alone, there are at least 2,000 brickfield sites with an average of 50 children on each. Starting in 2008, the Loreto Sisters began supporting a school program on 20 sites. Today, with increased funding, they now support schools on 40 sites, reaching approximately 2,000 children and employing 80 part-time teachers.
The Brickfield Schools of Kolkata was broadcast on Newstalk 106-108fm in May 2018 and is now available on the Audio page of the Misean Cara website.
Click hereto read the full story and listen to the documentary.
"The care I get here is very personal and of good quality. I will continue returning every month to ensure Fridah gets the full vaccination programme here." Carol Mali, patient at the Clinic.
The Poor Servants of the Mother of God run a clinic in the remote area of Mutito, Kitui County, Kenya, where the nearest hospital is a 65km journey on a very rough dirt road. The Sisters have been providing health care in the area since 1981. In January, the Sisters received confirmation from the Ministry of Health that their health facility would be upgraded from a Health Clinic to a Health Centre.
This upgrade is a very strong endorsement from government agencies and helps to highlight the quality of their service, which is echoed by the positive feedback from service users. In 2017, 6,249 people were treated at this facility; this included the delivery of 94 babies.
"Our Prophet Mohammed said that we must take off the tears of our elderly people, and Misean Cara did that." Attendee at the workshop.
The Franciscan Missionaries of the Divine Motherhood in partnership with Caritas Jerusalem/Gaza have successfully implemented a well organised system funded by Misean Cara to enable the elderly people of Gaza to gain access to medical facilities, raise awareness of the medical needs of the elderly in Gaza, and also to highlight and promote their right to services.
Sr Shirley Aeria, Franciscan Missionaries of the Divine Motherhood, has written a special report for the Misean Cara website, documenting the positive impact the project has on the lives of the elderly.
Follow #Eis4Education and Misean Cara on Facebook and Twitterthroughout the month of October to see an A to Z of issues related to girls' education.
Girls’ education is a key priority area for Misean Cara and the #Eis4Education social media campaign will highlight some of the global challenges girls face in accessing education. The campaign will also showcase some of the ways Misean Cara members support girls in education around the world.
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