Trócaire Blogs


June 17, 2016

Award recognises Trócaire's healthcare work in Somalia

Trócaire Somalia has received an award acknowledging its health care delivery in Gedo Region for the last two decades.  

The award was bestowed by the ministry of Health for Jubbaland State of Somalia on 16 June 2016.

Present to receive the award  was Ombretta Mazzaroni (Trócaire Somalia Country Director), Abdi Tari (Trócaire Programme Manager), Alas Abukar (Trócaire's Mogadishu Liaison Officer) and Saba Khan (CHANGE: Community Health and Nutrition Through Local Governance and Empowerment Consortium, DFID).

Ombretta Mazzaroni and Saba Khan

Ombretta Mazzaroni and Saba Khan pose for a photo together with the team from the Ministry of Health Jubbaland State Somalia, 16 June 2016

Trócaire has been providing humanitarian and development support in Somalia since 1992, with a focus on the Gedo region of the country.

Given the difficulties faced simply to secure food, we provide basic supports such as healthcare, nutrition and education to large numbers. Our long-term commitment to Somalia has helped Trócaire become a trusted actor in this volatile country.

We currently provide the only public health service available to over 220,000 people across five districts in the country. This includes primary health care centres and also emergency nutrition for mothers and children. Trócaire has also trained nursing staff to help safer delivery of infants and reduce maternal and newborn deaths.

Through our supported health centres, Trócaire also provides food to mothers and children at risk of malnutrition. Trócaire also provides school meals to keep children in school and increase enrolments. We provide one nutritious meal to children in school every day. We also help to reduce the extent of worm infections in school-going children in order to improve their health and learning capacity. 

Learn more about Trócaire's work in Somalia

June 16, 2016

2016 must be Ireland's year for climate action

By Joanne McGarry, Campaigns Officer

It’s time for Ireland to take action and keep its promises on climate change.

While Ireland signed up to the global Paris Accord on climate change and finally enacted a Climate Law for the country in December 2015 – tangible, concrete action has yet to be taken.

Earlier this year, Trócaire launched The Burning Question campaign calling on TDs to address the inadequacy and incoherence of Ireland’s response to climate change to date.

Woman holding climate change sign


Ireland’s investments in some of the world’s most polluting fossil fuel companies through the Irish Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF) for example, are completely at odds with its commitments to become a decarbonised society which plays its part in addressing the climate change crisis.
Following lobbying from Trócaire and its Burning Question campaigners, our TDs looked into the issue of Ireland’s investments in the fossil fuel industry, and they responded to us.
We’ve heard that the government’s existing fossil fuel investments will be sold ‘over time’, which is good to know.  

But there is no clear commitment as to when this will happen, and there is no guarantee that the government won’t re-invest in these or other fossil fuel companies in the future - so we have to keep the pressure on!
We are now asking supporters to sign a petition telling the Irish Government to stop investing in fossil fuels.  

This petition will be handed to the Minister for Finance, Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, and Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment who are responsible for the investments Ireland makes and in which industries they are made.
This is our chance to ensure the government cannot invest in fossil fuel companies in the future. 

Please sign our petition

June 14, 2016

Young poets tackle climate change and migration

By Deirdre Walsh Post-Primary Education Officer

Young people aged 11 to 18 years from across Ireland used their poetry to place themselves in the shoes of people forced into migration due to the ever worsening effects of climate change for the Trócaire Lent 2016 Poetry Competition for Schools.

Líadh Robertson, aged 15 from An Spideál, Galway, won the younger category with her poem ‘Running from the Sun’. 

Líadh’s poem envelops the reader in a sense of despair and bewilderment, where they have to, “desperately seek an unknown horizon”. Due to drought, “the tears on my cheeks, is the only water for miles”, and, “running from the sun is an impossible game”. 

Liadh Robertson

Competition winner Líadh Robertson (15, right) from An Spideál, Galway, pictured with religion teacher Muireann Uí Nuadhnáin (left) and Trócaire's Deirdre Walsh (middle).

Running from the Sun, by Líadh Robertson

I’m leaving everything I have,
Yet that’s nothing at all. 
Desperately seeking an unknown horizon, 
So uncertain, so small.
Because the grass and the fields and the flowers are dead,
And all that grows now is worry, inside of my head.
And the sands here are scorched, like a fire’s debris, 
And you must travel for days to come in sight of a tree.
The tears on my cheeks, 
Is the only water for miles.
Because the oceans are empty,
And so are the clouds in the sky.
The animals are long gone, all the wildlife now scattered,
And I’m forgetting my old life, and everything that once mattered.
The only consistent thing, in my life now is fear,
I don’t know if I’ll be happy there, but I’m not safe here.
Survival is a competition, not many people can win.
And this feels like the end, so where can I begin?
Running from the sun is an impossible game,
But when your homes are destroyed,
Who’ll be to blame?

Siofra Devine, from Ballyshannon, won the older category by focusing on the commonalities that connect us and allow us to empathise with the situation of others in her poem ‘Castaways’.  

Siofra begins by highlighting a familiar desire to find a place where we feel safe and are accepted; we are all, “searching for a stretch of land to call home”.

Siofra goes on to describe the arduous journey of a refugee that often ends in rejection; “they punish us when we reach the shores”. 

Siofra Devine

Competition winner Siofra Devine (17, second from right) from Ballyshannon, pictured with two school representatives (left) and Trócaire's Rosie Murray (right).

Castaways by Siofra Devine

We are all castaways
Searching for a stretch of land
To call home.

So tired, so cold, so sick.
So sick of it all.
No safe place.
Nowhere to feel protected.

They punish us when we reach the shores.
We thought our journey was over
But it has just begun.

It drives them.
Weary of our motives.
We just want to rest.

Violence and guns
And shouting.
Is not our friend.

We wish we had never come here.
But where else?
We are not welcome anywhere.

We are all orphans.
We are all castaways.

The Trócaire Lent 2016 poetry competition encourages young people to reach out in solidarity to those around the world in situations of displacement and poverty. This process supports engagement with global justice and development issues, allowing young people an opportunity to use their creative writing skills to express their intellectual and emotional responses to situations of injustice. 

The young poets displayed a level of skill beyond their years, penning words and phrases that bring the ever-worsening reality of climate change and forced migration to the forefront of our minds.

In the words of Liadh Roberston, it could be any one of us, “leaving everything I have.”

Second place winners

CATEGORY: Ages 11 to 15 years

The Inconvenient Truth by Ruth Guildea, Balbriggan

Swash takes the shape of a child
Who tried to escape the horrors in the wet and wild,
Mothers groan in tune with the boat
As men hold the sides to keep it afloat

This mass exodus is emblematic of a system we have built, 
Yes – I must include myself in this guilt.

140 characters decide a race’s fate
Our social talks are too little, too late
Our phones light up with hashtags and petitions
That do nothing to help refugees in their current position.

This mass exodus is emblematic of a system we have built,
Yes – I must include myself in this guilt.

Young people give up education and future lives
To travel to the Western World to survive
They give all they have for a safe trip across the sea
After being broken, beaten and forced to flee

This mass exodus is emblematic of a system we have built, 
Yes - I must include myself in this guilt.

We ignore the ads with sad kids to avoid that sinking feeling
That we’re not helping what we’re seeing
We comment and share miserable news
Of the ones we will also lose

This mass exodus is emblematic of a system we have built, 
Yes – I must include myself in this guilt.

You Are the One with the Choice by Peter Dobey, Newbridge

You are the one.
The one who drives home in your impersonal car.
The one who’s mind is focused,
Only on the smell of burning gasoline as you hurry to your warm home.
Gas you could smell from across the globe.
I am the one who does nothing.

You are the one.
The one who sits calmly by the fireplace.
The one who drifts away,
Only to dream of the bright sparks that illuminate your warm home.
Flames you could see from across the globe.
I am the one who does nothing.

You are the one.
The one who tends to your own needs first.
The one who stays indoors,
Only to see your beautiful garden wither and die from the comfort of your warm home.
Pain you could feel from across the globe.
I am the one who does nothing.

I am the one.
The one who smells this poisonous gas.
The one who witnesses this raging wildfire,
Only to feel the pain as smoke engulfs the barren wasteland I can no longer call home.
Suffering from what is happening across the globe.

I am the one who is begging at your doorstep.
You are the one who does nothing.

CATEGORY: Ages 16 to 18 years

Refugee by Adam Taggart, An Spideál

I’ve been walking now three days
looking for my saviour
The beautiful country I left
Burning, crumbling and wasted.

My belongings on my back
and my daughter in my arms,
Does anyone know where my wife 
and son are?

I come now to a fence
where people beg and cry
I wish the guards would tell
The truth, And not just look
and lie. I look to my left. Then
I look to my right,
I get a sense of panic, a sense
of fear, a sense of fright.

We know we will not be let in,
because they do not want us
“please let us in sirs, most of
us are harmless”

We may be different,
but we are the same,
I look at mothers' faces
as they cry out in vain.
I cry with them and it is heard from afar.
Does anybody know where my wife and son are?

June 09, 2016

Answering the call of Laudato Sí: one year on

Pope Francis' encyclical on climate change

This week we are celebrating the first anniversary of the ground-breaking papal encyclical Laudato Sí, published on the 18 June 2015.  

In the encyclical, which is now an integral part of Catholic Social Teaching (CST), Pope Francis called on everyone across the world, not just Catholics, to stand up and take action on the destruction of the environment and the worsening and unjust impacts climate change.  

“At all levels, a change of mindset is needed.  It is the same mindset that is needed to tackle both climate change and world poverty.”(Laudato Sí 175)

What you can do

Climate change is an urgent crisis which requires action from all of us, on behalf of the world’s poorest.

Trócaire is inviting parishes and communities to take this opportunity to take action to mark the anniversary of Laudato Sí from the 13 to the 19 June.  

Here’s some suggested activities: 

Quote from Pope Francis: We know that technology based on the use of highly polluting fossil fuels [...] needs to be progressively replaced without delay.

June 09, 2016

A bridge between communities and local authorities: Gakenke District, Rwanda

By Christine Murekatete, Trócaire Rwanda

As part of our ‘good governance’ programme in Rwanda, Trócaire works with citizens in four districts to ensure their voices are heard by local authorities. Our partners on the ground give training in citizens’ rights, public policies and how to engage with local authorities.

After being trained, members from Nemba Sector, Gakenke District made an action plan to develop their area. One of the actions was to construct a bridge over the river that separates Buranga and Mucaca, which was very difficult to cross, especially for small children going to or coming from school. 

Nyiransabimana Francoise with her child, a young villager crosses the new bridge

Left: Nyiransabimana Francoise with her young daughter. A schoolgirl crosses the new community-built bridge

Nyiransabimana Francoise, a community member with two school-aged children had concerns about the bridge:

“When it was during the rainy season, many parents including myself were scared and troubled by the rain because it was difficult to cross the river for students. I often went to the bridge with the help of some men who are strong enough to help me to carry my child while crossing the river.”

The community went to the local authority for assistance and received supplies and guidance to build a new safe bridge. 

Community meeting Mucaca to Buranga Village Bridge Project

Community meeting Mucaca to Buranga Village Bridge Project

Iragena Norbert, chairman of Kamuvunyi Village, commended the community led response to the issue:

“Citizens came to us to express their concerns in building the bridge and we had considered their priority. Together with them made it and children, women and other citizens will no longer use the river to go the market, church, school...”

Learn more about Trócaire's governance and livelihoods work in Rwanda