The Christmas and New Year period is a time to reflect on how the support of people all over Ireland has helped to change the lives of millions of people living in the world’s poorest regions.
Through your support, Trócaire has continued to work with communities across Africa, Latin America, the Middle East and Asia to help people build dignified lives for themselves.
From the 2,409 families in Honduras who now have access to treated water, to the 2,800 families in Malawi who received food aid during a recent drought and the 2,451 survivors of sexual violence in Kenya who have received care and assistance, your support this past year, has made a huge impact on marginalised people.
This work would simply not happen if it was not for the support of people in Ireland. Once again, and despite the continued difficulties facing many people as a result of the economic recession, people have rallied in support for the world’s poorest people. Last Lent, for example, your generosity raised almost €8 million for our programmes.
In addition to our long-term development work, the last 12 months have also seen us respond to significant humanitarian emergencies. In June we asked for your support to help the people of Syria as the civil war in that country continued to worsen. Five months later, disaster struck the Philippines when Typhoon Haiyan left large parts of that country utterly devastated.
Trócaire has responded to both of these emergencies. We are working with our Caritas partners to deliver emergency aid, including food, blankets, shelter and medicine, to approximately 600,000 people affected by these emergencies – 220,000 people in Lebanon, Jordan and Syria, and over 380,000 people in the Philippines.
The fact that people in Ireland have once again shown such solidarity and compassion with people suffering the most horrendous of experiences is an incredibly powerful sign of our own commitment to working for a just and fair world for all.
This solidarity has been the foundation on which Trócaire has helped to tackle global poverty for 40 years. 2013 saw the organisation mark its 40th anniversary and also saw another landmark event when Justin Kilcullen, who had been Executive Director for 20 years, retired.
From a personal point of view, it was an honour for me to be given the opportunity to take on the responsibility of replacing Justin. Having worked closely with him for many years, I know the enormous contribution he made to the success of the organisation.
Along with the rest of our staff, volunteers and campaigners, I look forward to continuing to channel your support to the people who need it most.
On behalf of everybody at Trócaire, our partner organisations and the people we work with, have a very happy Christmas and a peaceful New Year.