A New Dawn in Ethiopia
In October, CNEWA visited the New Dawn Catholic School in remote western Ethiopia, near the border with Sudan, where the Comboni Missionary Sisters are providing education and — almost literally — a new dawn for children of the Gumuz people.
Sister Nora Camacho, the head of the school, was proud to point out that after several challenging years, the number of students grew, adding, “the girls have decided to study and to come to school. A good number of parents are supporting them.”
There are currently 422 students, boys and girls, attending the first through fourth grades. CNEWA’s support includes helping to provide daily breakfast and lunch, medical checkups and school uniforms.
Sister Nora expressed tremendous gratitude to CNEWA’s donors, noting that because of this vital support, “children are more active during lessons, become less sick, and interest to attend school is improving year after year.”
As our regional director in Addis Ababa, Argaw Fantu, noted, “support for these girls offers them the gift of a brighter future — empowering educated Gumuz mothers, wives and professionals who in turn will help their own people in the future.”
For decades, CNEWA has supported the Shashemene School for the Blind in Ethiopia, which is administered by the Franciscan Sisters of St. Mary of the Angels. In October, we received an account of some of the school’s recent activities.
Amid a busy calendar of events, the school sponsored a “Day of the Differently Abled,” offering students a chance to “show that they are gifted and on a par with any sighted person.” On another occasion, the children enjoyed a picnic at a local park, where they had a chance to savor the outdoors and sport tee shirts that proclaimed, “Disability is not Inability.”
Thanks to the generosity of CNEWA’s donors and other partners, the school was also able to do some important maintenance work: buying new water tanks, some furniture, mattresses and blankets, and replacing some pipes in the water system.
Perhaps most inspiring, 12 students completed their elementary education and for the first time took part in a graduation ceremony, complete with blue caps and gowns and a procession before friends and family.
“We the students, staff and sisters,” the report concluded, “owe a deep debt of gratitude to our many kind and generous benefactors, both individuals and groups, without whom our work would not have been possible.”
Light in Haifa
CNEWA was privileged this year to play a part in the renovation of an important church in Haifa, the Church of the Carmelite Sisters of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. The church marks the birthplace of the Discalced Carmelites and serves as a venue for local ceremonies and celebrations of the feasts of the order. It is also a place of solace and reflection for spiritual retreats as well as the site for weddings and baptisms for the local Christian community.
In October, CNEWA’s regional director in Jerusalem, Joseph Hazboun, attended a celebration for the consecration of the renovated church and altar.
Thanks to our donors, CNEWA provided funds to improve the interior lighting and sound system — both of which are designed to reduce significantly the consumption of electricity and improve the quality of worship in this important site in the Holy Land.
Visitors to Mother of Mercy
CNEWA’s Mother of Mercy Clinic in Zerqa, Jordan, welcomed Louis and Maryse Azzaria of the Good Samaritan Relief Fund, a Canadian organization that assists refugees in the Holy Land, in October. And in November, members of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre from the Netherlands visited as part of their annual trip to the Holy Land. All were pleased to meet with the Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine of Siena, who have been running the mother and child clinic for more than 18 years.
CNEWA’s regional director in Jordan, Ra’ed Bahou, wrote: “The visitors offered their gratitude for the great work of CNEWA, which provides so much to the underprivileged without regard to race, nationality or religion.”
CNEWA on the Move
In the middle of November, the Archdiocese of Toronto and CNEWA Canada organized a benefit that focused on the plight of Christians in the Middle East, and the work of the churches for the common good of all. Cardinal Thomas Collins, who is a member of the board of CNEWA Canada, spoke about our need to support our brothers and sisters so as to prevent these ancient communities from vanishing.
More than a third of the attendees, which totaled more than 300 people, were from the area’s Chaldean community. Bishop Bawai Soro, of the Chaldean Eparchy of Mar Addai of Toronto, focused on the storied history of Christians in Iraq. In keeping with a Chaldean Advent tradition, he will make a special gift to CNEWA, donating his salary during Advent to support our work.
The national director of CNEWA in Canada, Carl Hétu, closed the evening to speak about dialogue, compassion and caregiving; all these, he noted, help bring about our greatest desire for the region and the world, which is peace.
And in the United States, CNEWA team members visited Colorado, Louisiana and Washington, speaking with our donor family and in local parishes. We are always eager to share our story with members of our donor family, or to introduce others to our vital work around the world.
If your parish is interested in hosting CNEWA for a speaking event, you can contact our office at 1-800-442-6392.