Intern Sees CRS Commitment in Action

María Ángeles Zumarraga wrote this reflection on her time as a CRS intern:

Growing up in Quito, Ecuador, I often wondered why the government could not do more to promote development to assist its poorest citizens. During my time at Villanova as a political science major with a concentration on Latin American Studies at Villanova University, I have found answers for some of my questions and I discovered that it is not necessary to reform the entire government to create a change in the lives of marginalized people. Catholic Relief Services demonstrates this idea.

I heard about CRS for the first time in my history of Latin America class. We were studying the issue of immigration in the United States. It was very interesting to learn CRS’ perspective on this topic. I understood that to reduce the high level of undocumented immigrants, it is necessary to consider several factors that put small producers in developing countries at a disadvantage in the marketplace. If these workers lose their jobs, they are likely to consider migrating to the United States. CRS’s approach to development interested me and led me to investigate more about this organization. It motivated me to apply to the internship CRS offers to Villanova students.

During my internship with CRS, I had the opportunity to develop two handouts for the Hispanic community in the United States to inform them about fair trade and food security. The objective was to provide clear and concise information about these topics and to highlight the ways in which individuals can support these causes.

What motivated me about CRS is the commitment of the organization to create solutions that not only address immediate problems, but include long-term solutions. This requires a remarkable level of organization and effectiveness. For example, CRS’ support of Fair Trade seeks to create an economic system that provides opportunities for those that are most marginalized. CRS is not only concerned with feeding people when they are hungry, but also helping them to provide food for themselves. This eliminates dependency and promotes development. We, as consumers, can support these projects.

Sometimes it is difficult to make the connection that if we learn about an issue or purchase a fair trade produce we are creating real change. Personally, I had accepted the reality of a lack of commitment from the international system to reduce poverty and hunger. However, during my internship with CRS this semester, I understood that even if we live in a system where many governments do not make elimination of poverty and hunger a top priority, each person can be an agent of change, even if they don’t have a position in the bureaucracy. Each person can exercise power as a consumer, purchasing products that can support development. When we purchase fair trade products, we offer opportunities to small producers to sell their products at a fair price. This way, we ensure businesses support the rights of workers, care for the environment and forge direct relationships with farmers overseas. We are the ones who decide what supermarkets sell. If we exercise our power as consumers we can create the change that we want for those who live in poverty.

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One Response to “Intern Sees CRS Commitment in Action”

  1. Dennis Says:

    It is such a moving article. Good to see the intern heard of the CSI in the class also
    Am a university student pursuing a degree in Purchasing and Supplies management in Kenya and would like to enquire whether you offer interns because am interested.

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