Saturday 25 February 2017

It's a return to Rwanda for Lenten appeal

Louise Hogan

Louise Hogan

MEET six-year-old Domitille -- her smiling face will soon be seen in more than a million homes countrywide.

The Rwandan girl -- one of more than a billion people worldwide who go hungry every day -- will grace the front of this year's Trocaire Lenten box.

Although the Irish charity is in the midst of a concerted effort to help the earthquake-stricken people of Haiti, it also hopes to raise more than €10m to tackle poverty worldwide.

Like other overseas-aid charities, Trocaire has been hit by the economic downturn, which has led to a drop in public donations and government funding.

The Trocaire boxes will be brought into homes throughout the country as the Lenten campaign gets under way on Ash Wednesday, February 17.

Hunger

Domitille lives with her mother, father, brother and four sisters in a small clay house in rural Rwanda. Her parents have just €1 a day to feed their family of eight.

The children have two small meals a day of a root vegetable, cassava, from their small plot of land, while her parents have just one, so that their children do not cry with hunger.

"Some weeks I don't feel strong enough to work, but I have to try for my family's sake," said her father, Frodouald, who makes bricks for a living.

However, they are part of a Trocaire-supported farmers' association, which provides training and tools.

In 2004, Josienne Umumarashavu was the face of Trocaire's Lenten campaign. She lived in Rwanda as it weathered the impact 10 years after the genocide took 800,000 lives.

Since then, her mother has expanded her farm to support the family. Now, thanks to the support the family received from Trocaire, Josienne attends secondary school.

The ambitious 18-year-old hopes to go to university to study financial management and computer studies.

Further information is available online at www.trocaire.org.

Irish Independent

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