The Laudato ‘Si encyclical by Pope Francis, also known as “On Care for Our Common Home”, is an appeal for all people of good will to work together to become better stewards of creation. This document has helped create important dialogue and change with regards to environmental issues and concerns.
In our world today, we face urgent environmental challenges: like the flooding in India due to extreme rainfall, and major drought and hunger in places like Ethiopia.
During her term as the Catholic Women’s League (CWL) of Canada’s national president, Anne Gorman decided that the theme of her presidency would focus on Care for Our Common Home. Therefore the CWL, recognizing the importance of this initiative, chose to support projects that could make a difference environmentally.
In 2019, CNEWA Canada was honoured to be chosen to partner with the CWL for their Care for Our Common Home initiative. Support was to go towards the Pieta Bhavan (House of Mercy) project, to help secure clean well water. Later, the national executive decided that if the goal for the Pieta Bhavan project was reached and there were surplus donations, the funds would go towards CNEWA’s children feeding program in the Tigray Region of Ethiopia.
Thank you CWL for your generous support towards both of these projects. In total, $20,027 CA was raised; $5500 US ($7,293 CA) fully funded the Pieta Bhavan project in India and the remaining funds ($10,731 CA) helped towards the Feeding program in Ethiopia. (Note: 10% of the total went towards administration of these two projects.)
We are happy to give you an update on how your funds helped change the lives of the recipients in India and in Ethiopia.
Project 1: Pieta Bhavan Residence In India
Pieta Bhavan (House of Mercy), is a residence for women with disabilities, both physical and intellectual. It is located in Pothy, a small town in the state of Kerala in India. There are 65-70 women residents who are given food, clothing, shelter and medical care. Many of the women were abandoned on the street and brought to safety at the centre.
In 2008, a large rectangular well, protected by brick walls on all four sides, was built to help provide enough water for the growing centre. The original well cover had rusted and fallen into the well and needed to be replaced. The CWL’s generous support was to be used to provide a new substantial well cover; essentially a “shelter” for the large well. This was done to help keep the well water protected from falling leaves and other contaminants and to keep the drinking water potable.
The large well shelter took 4-5 months to build. It was a big project that involved laying a foundation for the shelter and working around a sloping landscape.
Since the shelter was built, the women at Pieta Bhavan have had access to clean water for drinking, bathing and everyday use. They pump water 2-3 times a day to fill their tank.
Project 2: Feeding Program For Children In Ethiopia
The Feeding Program is run through the Eparchy of Adigrat and serves the Tigray region of Ethiopia. It focuses on serving children, especially those who live in remote parishes. High energy biscuits and PPE items (including masks) were distributed; and spiritual assistance was given to beneficiaries in their homes and villages. 4000 children and youth of the eparchy benefitted in 2020.
The Tigray region is frequently affected by food shortages due to the combined effect of irregular rainfall and lack of fertile farm land for many families.
This project helps reduce food insecurity in emergency hotspots in Ethiopia. The food provided through the feeding program helps improve children’s academic performance, and reduces absenteeism and dropouts from school. Girls tend to have a higher dropout rate than boys, so the food provided through this project helps ensure that girls can stay in school.
Besides drought and the COVID-19 pandemic, since November 2020 the Tigray region of Ethiopia has been experiencing major conflict between Tigray Defense Forces and Ethiopian National Defense Forces, which continues to this day causing a dire humanitarian situation. Fighting in the region has caused people to become displaced or refugees in neighbouring countries as they search for safety and food aid,
and it has worsened the food insecurity situation.
Our Church partners courageously continue their work despite these dangers, and priests and religious sisters have been displaced along with
the local people.
Thank you for helping these youth stay fed and continue their education!
You are in our prayers. Thank you Catholic Women’s League members for your generous support! May God bless you. With your help, lives have truly been changed forever.
Catholic Near East Welfare Association (CNEWA) is a special papal agency created by Pope Pius XI in 1926 to support the Eastern churches in their service to people in need throughout the Middle East, Northeast Africa, India and Eastern Europe.
“All of us can cooperate as instruments of God for the care of creation, each according to his or her own culture, experience, involvements and talents.” – Pope Francis, Laudato Si’