Trócaire Lenten Campaign 2012

22 Feb 2012

“Rebuilding Communities for lasting change”

Lent 2012:

As Ireland begins preparing for the Eucharistic Congress 2012 the theme of ‘community’ is to the fore of many people’s minds. In the context of social justice, far too often, we are unaware of our mandate as followers of Christ to work towards a common good within our world. ‘Common’, meaning it will be shared amongst everybody equally and not just experienced by the individual and ‘good’, meaning that all will prosper from our actions. Anyone can ‘do good’ in our world; but as Christians, we are called to do ‘common good’. As a large community of believers we are set a directive to do common good by following Christ’s message of ‘Love thy neighbour’. ‘Common good’ implies that the good of each individual human being is in some way connected to the good of others, that is, that human beings can only truly prosper in the context of a community.

Trócaire invites you to journey through this Lenten season in solidarity with the community of Bar Kawach in northern Uganda. This particular community has been brought together by Trócaire’s work with them. Theirs is a unique story of returning home after conflict, and the struggles faced by them in order to rebuild their lives, families, livelihoods and community.

Community of Bar Kawach:      

The war and violence inflicted upon the families of Bar Kawach is unimaginable, having survived one of the most vicious massacres of the war as recently as 2004. The bravery and determination it took for families to return to their homes and try to rebuild their lives is inspiring. They are fathers, mothers, children, farmers………. survivors. Luckily, the ceasefire of 2006 continues to hold, and most of the displaced people have now returned to their original homes but as some have been away for fifteen years, they are now, with the help of Trócaire, having to rebuild their lives from scratch.

Uganda Brief:

Uganda has shared the problems seen across much of Africa including poverty, HIV/AIDS and war. In the aftermath of a brutal conflict that affected northern Uganda for more than 20 years, many families have returned to their original homes to begin a new life. Conflict, child soldiers, sexual assault, and political instability have plagued the people of northern Uganda. However, despite the horrific past and the challenges they meet daily, all that these families now want is to look ahead to building a better and brighter future for themselves.

Trócaire’s work is about helping people in northern Uganda to return to hope from the times of war and conflict, supporting them to achieve the potential of future generations and to fully recover after 20 years of violent conflict which caused much unnecessary death, massive internal displacement, destruction, and trauma.

Meet Daniel:

Daniel Okweng is 9 years old and lives with his mother Betty, his father Joel and his brothers and sisters in the small rural village of Bar Kawach, Northern Uganda. Daniel was born into a civil war which spanned over twenty years. In 2004, soldiers attacked his village and community, forcing the family to flee from their home. 300 people died during this attack. Daniel’s family knew they were lucky to survive but were left with nothing. The family moved into a camp set up by the government to protect civilians. These camps were bleak places where extreme poverty, poor sanitation and depression were rife and lead to a very poor quality of life, especially for children like Daniel.

In 2006, when it was deemed safe enough, Daniel and his family moved back to their family home. It was at this point that their biggest struggle began – to begin life again. With your support, Trócaire and our Ugandan partners were there, helping this family readjust to life back home. Working together with the community, we have provided training and support groups to help people cope with the trauma they have experienced. Agricultural training and the provision of seeds, tools and livestock have helped families to start farming again and support to build a bore hole has provided clean, safe, drinking water.

Message from Uganda:

Sean Farrell is the country Representative for Trócaire in Uganda.

    “Since I first came to Uganda some 4 years ago the north of the country has been transformed. When I first went there people were living in squalid, disease-ridden camps. These have now gone, and instead are replaced by people who have returned home, gone back to making their communities vibrant and full of life. Trócaire’s work is vitally important as people make this massive transition all across northern Uganda. In many ways our work says that hope is here. Our work in agriculture for example, helps people to rebuild their lives; providing them with the tools, seeds and technology to help improve their livelihoods and increase food production to tackle widespread malnutrition whilst our work in human rights funds local organisations to organise and rally local communities so that they can demand services from their government which had for the most part abandoned them to a war inflicted existence for 20 years.

    By helping people to rebuild their families and communities Trócaire is giving them the support to provide for themselves in the future, and take a stand against the injustice and corruption that threatens to keep the next generation poor. First and foremost people needed to begin farming their land again so that they could grow enough food for the family and try to earn enough money to get their children back to school. As a community, Bar Kawach has been supported to rebuild their farms, but more importantly to rebuild their lives. Through group training and support Trócaire’s partner has used the farms as a way of rebuilding families and communities. The community has been given regular training on everything from agriculture, healthcare and sanitation to domestic violence, human rights and family communications.

    Family farms are improving, but more than that, community life is also improving; people feel safer in their homes, families help and support each other to strengthen their farms even further. With the support of a community families can do more than just survive, they can look beyond today and make plans for the future.”

Let’s Live Lent 2012:

Trócaire invites you to journey with us through the season of Lent and to welcome the people of Bar Kawach into your homes and community. In the spirit of the season of Lent season we encourage you to make use of the Parish Liturgy and Homily resources provided in this year’s Intercom magazine and to Live Lent to it’s fullest potential in your community. We hope you find the resource of much use and of help to you in your various ministries and we look forward to supporting you on this Lenten journey.

By using this resource as well as Trócaire’s many other Lenten resources, you can enhance your Parish liturgies, stand in solidarity with the people of Bar Kawach, broaden the minds and heart of young adults in your community by sharing Daniel’s story, educate  school-goers by using our online education resources and encourage your own local community to take action through our online e-action. Though we are many, we are one body, one body of change, one body of love and one Body of Christ.

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