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December 2016

Issue 111
Misean Cara Website

Welcome to the December Issue!

2016 has been a great year for Misean Cara and our members! We have achieved so much together, and we look forward to another year.

A Message from our CEO

Welcome to our December issue of MissionAid! This year we achieved so much, and we have made great progress in our fight against poverty and injustice. We have lots to be thankful for, and I am very thankful to our members and my amazing team who have done phenomenal work reinforcing Misean Cara as one of the leading faith-based organisations in the world.

As I look back on 2016, I have so many wonderful memories.  One remarkable memory was during my visit to India in August, when I met K. Mahalakshmi who showed me her buffalo. Buffalo milk has been a great source of nutrition for K. Mahalakshmi and her family. K. Mahalakshmi told me that she would love a second buffalo because when they are pregnant they do not produce milk. She received her buffalo as part of a Good Shepherd Sisters (GSS) Economic Justice project that empowers Dalit and Tribal women who have been marginalised. This project empowers 750 women and 300 men, and the project works with them through livelihoods’ initiatives, developing skills and providing access to microfinance. This was truly a humbling experience for me, and I was touched by K. Mahalakshmi's story. I still think about K. Mahalakshmi as her passion and enthusiasm for life inspires me.

Two months ago, I was honoured to attend the Conrad N Hilton Foundation’s Convention in Nairobi, Kenya where the focus was on the work of Catholic sisters, a wonderful example of missionaries in development.  There are over 700,000 women religious around the world, contributing to human development through their spiritual witness and service to those in need. It was clear to me that our members and their women religious and lay workers are community-based implementers, promoting the Sustainable Development Goals.  These 17 goals contain 169 specific targets that can be achieved, lifting our world out of poverty and caring for mother earth. Sisters like Sr. Augustina Okoraafor, Sr. Annacieta Kioo, Sr. Mary Isaac, Sr. Rosa Macharia, Sr. Loretto Brennan to name but a few all shared their amazing missionary stories with me, and I am proud to say they are today's modern change-makers!

As we get ready here at the Misean Cara office to take a break for Christmas, I ask us all to reflect on the work we, as the Misean Cara family have completed this year - look at what we have achieved, what we did well, and what we can learn from in the coming year. The New Year gives us all the opportunity to start over with renewed vigour, to go beyond what we have achieved in 2016. One of my favourite quotes that is always in mind as I work with the Misean Cara family is a quote from Mother Teresa: "Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love," and I believe these words echo the charism of all missionaries. 

This month marks the 35th anniversary of the massacre in El Mozote, El Salvador. This sombre milestone makes me think of all the women, men and sadly children who were killed indiscriminately during the Civil War. I was blessed to visit El Mozote last year, and to meet Sr. Anne Griffin from the Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Mary (Chigwell). She has dedicated her life to supporting the survivors of the El Mozote massacre. Sr. Anne supported the survivors and their families in achieving the landmark ruling from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights that El Salvador should investigate the human rights violations perpetrated during the armed conflict, and directed the government to pay reparations. The community of El Mozote is in my thoughts and prayers.

I always want to pay tribute to the many missionaries who took the time to visit us in the Misean Cara office in Dublin, we all love hearing your stories and project updates and we thank you! We enjoyed visits from Deirdre Healy, Fr. Philip O’Halloran, Fr. Jimmy Lindero, Fr. Paddy Moran, Sr. Orla Treacy, Sr. Maria Stella Packiam, and many more! I hope to meet many more of you in 2017!

I wish you all a peaceful Christmas and Happy New Year.

Yours in solidarity,

Connect with me on Twitter! @HeydiFoster

We Want To Promote The Wonderful Work You Do!

We want to help showcase the wonderful work you do by sharing stories; updates; photos; and videos of on our website, Facebook and LinkedIn Pages, Twitter account, and in our monthly e-newsletter MissionAid.

If you have a story, update, photo, or video to share then please email our Communications Officer Tara Finglas

Connect with Misean Cara



CEO Heydi Foster
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News Stories

Mayo Volunteer Receives Leinster House Human Dignity Award For 23 Years Of Love & Care

Defining Resilience: Not Just Bouncing Back, Building For The Future

Realising Global Sustainable Agriculture

Franciscan Sisters Celebrate 70 Years in Zambia

Columban Missionary, Fr. Shay Cullen, presented with the Hugh O’Flaherty International Humanitarian Award

Acquiring New Skills At Kakuma Camp

Jeffrey Sachs Endorses Faith Based Values In Taking Actions For Global Development Goals
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Send us your photos and videos!

We want to help showcase the work of our members by sharing photos, stories and videos of the wonderful work you do on our website, Facebook Page and MissionAid. If you have a photo, story or video to share then please email Tara Finglas
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Connect with us on Twitter!

Follow Misean Cara @miseancara or check out for updates.

Follow our CEO Heydi Foster @HeydiFoster or check out for updates.
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LIKE our Facebook Page for all of the latest news and updates.

Other Funding Opportunities

We are pleased to present several funding opportunities from other donors around the world for a variety of projects. This month's funding opportunities include:
  • Anne Frank Fonds: Seeking Projects to Build Peace around the World;
  • Environmental Research and Education Foundation;
  • The Conservation, Food and Health Foundation;
  • Humanitarian Innovation Fund: Innovation to Help People in Crises; 
  • African Women Public Service Fellowship;
  • The Africa Innovation Challenge: Encouraging Entrepreneurial Thinking in Africa;
  • WISE Awards: Recognizing Innovative and Transformative Projects;
  • KR Foundation Grant: Addressing Root Causes of Environmental Issues;
  • Mental Health Initiative Grants of the Open Society Foundations; and
  • Echoing Green.
Click here to find out more about each opportunity.

Stories from the field

16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children

Speech written by Cheryllyn Dudley, MP and Whip, and in conjunction with Aisling Foley Viatores Christi Volunteer Aisling Foley, Project Manager with Amathemba (Home of Hope (HOH).

There is a bridge in the Cape Town suburb of Brooklyn that is passed over by thousands of cars every day. Under this bridge one-year-old baby Lilly’s life was changed forever when a man abducted her and violently raped her there. One can only imagine the internal bleeding and damage – it is unusual for children who are raped at such a tender age to survive but Lilly was found alive and taken to hospital. She will never be able to have children of her own and suffers from STDs but she is a fighter and wants to live. With remaining trauma in her spirit and a scarred body, little Lilly – who was born to alcoholic parents living on the streets- is being nurtured back to health and life at an NGO in Cape Town.
Read now.

Volunteer Gena Heraty Receives Leinster House Human Dignity Award

Congratulations to Viatores Christi Volunteer Gena Heraty on receiving this year’s Leinster House Human Dignity Award. Ms. Heraty has dedicated her life for 23 Years to the children of Haiti through her work with the Our Little Brothers and Sisters (NPH) orphanage. Ceann Comhairle, Seán Fearghail TD, presented the award to Ms. Heraty at a ceremony in Leinster House.

“I am convinced that there is no other place in the world I can do more to help those who are most in need of help right now,” she told an RTÉ documentary in December 2008, “if I can improve the life of just one child each day I am here then my life will have been worthwhile.”
Read now.

Speech by President Michael D. Higgins ‘Presidential Distinguished Service Award for the Irish Abroad’

Tá áthas orm fíor-chaoin fáilte a fhearadh romhaibh go léir chuig Áras an Uachtaráin le haghaidh na hócáide fíor-speisialta seo. Is mian liom fáilte ar leith a fhearadh roimh ár n-aíonna oinigh – faighteoirí na bliana seo de Ghradam Seirbhíse Dearscna an Uachtaráin d’Éireannaigh Thar Lear.

[I am delighted to welcome you all to Áras an Uachtaráin for this very special occasion. I wish to extend a special welcome for our distinguished guests – the recipients of the Presidential Distinguished Service Award for the Irish Abroad.]
Read now.

Sr. Mary Sweeney SJC receives a Presidential Distinguished Service Award

Dungloe-born Sr. Mary Sweeney, a member of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Cluny, received a Presidential Distinguished Service Award from President Michael D. Higgins at Áras an Uachtaráin on 8 December. Speaking afterwards Sr. Mary said: “This award recognises the many people who have supported my missionary work in Sierra Leone over the past 44 years. Especially the people of Sierra Leone whose dedication greatly helps hearing impaired children. These people have helped me in every way through their financial and spiritual support. They have given me encouragement to continue my faith-inspired work through many trials, including the civil war and Ebola, to support those on the margins of society. Read now.

Remembering The El Mozote Massacre

This year marks the 35th anniversay of the horrific massacre in El Mozote in El Salvador. During the El Salvador civil war in 1981, more than 1,000 villagers, mostly women and children, were murdered by the Salvadoran army. El Mozote is known around the world as one of the largest and most bloody massacres to have been committed in Latin America. Of the 1,000 people who were murdered, 400 were children. Read now.

Children First

Arising from our respect for the dignity of the human person, we want to share the work of our members who promote the safeguarding of children. 

The ongoing campaign in Kenya, and other parts of Africa, of educating both children and adults on forms and effects of child abuse and the need to establish concrete measures to protect children, has resulted in an increased number of people who understand, support and appreciate the importance of having in place policies and procedures to protect children. As will be discussed below, education empowers and creates awareness, the necessary conditions for durable social change and child safeguarding in Kenya.
Read now.

Photo Exhibition -- The Ruben Centre, Mukuru Slum Kenya

Pictured in this photo: Medical Laboratory Science students from Colaiste Dhulaigh Coolock Carla Tejeda from Barcelona and Leyla Oztas from Dublin at the exhibition. Photo: Lar Boland.

Don't miss a very special Misean Cara photographic exhibition that is taking place right now in the Ballyfermot Dublin City Library entitled: 'The Ruben Centre, Mukuru Slum Kenya.' This exhibition highlights Edmund Rice Development (the Christian Brothers) overseas mission that empowers communities in some of the poorest countries. Check out the exhibition to journey to two projects in Kenya that are responding to a range of development challenges: slum dwellings; access to education; access to vocational education and income generation; and youth empowerment. 

The exhibition is free and open to the public, and will continue in the Ballyfermot Dublin City Library until the 31 December 2016, and the exhibition will travel to three other libraries too:
  1. Ballyfermot: 1 December - 31 December 2016; and
  2. Finglas: 1 January - 31 January 2017. Read now.

Upcoming Events & Training Courses 


Misean Cara is a company limited by guarantee and not having a share capital. It is registered in Dublin, Ireland, No: 381117. Its registered office is: 563 South Circular, Kilmainham, Dublin 8. It has been granted tax exemption by the Revenue Commissioners in Ireland and has a charitable tax exemption number: CHY15772.

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Misean Cara · 1st Floor, 563 South Circular Road, Kilmainham, · Dublin 8, · Ireland