Posts Tagged ‘Development’

Building Levees, Saving Lives

Friday, September 23rd, 2011

Dear Friend,

As fall begins, those of us at Catholic Relief Services headquarters can look over an eventful end to a summer that brought us everything from an earthquake that rattled our building to hurricanes that drenched us and forced even the smallest of streams over their banks. This all came as we marked anniversaries in this country: 5 years since Hurricane Katrina and 10 years since the attacks of September 11.

As I watched the rising waters here and throughout the East, my thoughts returned to Katrina. I could not help asking a simple question: What if the levees had held?

Certainly, Katrina would still have been a powerful hurricane, producing extensive damage and disrupting many lives—perhaps tragically losing some. But it would have been nothing like the devastation in New Orleans 5 years ago.

I had other questions: What if security services had caught the 9/11 hijackers long before they boarded an aircraft? What if the buildings in Haiti had been built to codes that kept them from collapsing in the 2010 earthquake?

CRS World Report: Climate Change and Coffee

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011

Central America produces great coffee beans, but the crop is in danger.

Listen to the report here.

Afghan Women See Sweet Side to Business Management

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011

“At first the farmers didn’t know about us, or didn’t think we could do it.” Latifa, a widow living in western Afghanistan, is sitting with a group of women in their jam-making shop. “Some of them thought, ‘If we sell our fruits to these women, will we get our money?’”

Rural Afghan women are rarely allowed to leave their homes, much less start a business. But near a town called Herat, many women—especially widows and women with disabled husbands—are in desperate need of income.

Zarifa, a neighbor of Latifa’s, was trying to support her seven children. Her husband, who is handicapped and an opium addict, wouldn’t help. Zarifa and Latifa would occasionally be able to work in their homes, shelling pistachio nuts. “For one day’s work, only shelling the nuts without time to do any housework, we made 30 afs,”says Latifa. “It hurt our hands.”

Post-War Sri Lankans Get Back to Business

Friday, August 12th, 2011
Sri Lanka lake

In northern Sri Lanka, Celestamma Sandabale uses a diesel-fueled pump to bring water from a nearby pond to her vegetable garden, where she grows chilies and other produce. Photo by Laura Sheahen/CRS

“My son was a soccer star. He won first prize in our area, and went to the capital for a tournament.” Sixty-five-year-old Pakkiyanathan’s eyes are proud when he remembers his family’s life before war struck his village. “He was excellent.”

A rice farmer with six acres in northern Sri Lanka, Pakkiyanathan was getting by before a catastrophic civil war hit. “Because of God’s grace, I was earning enough money and our lifestyle was OK.” The family had food and shelter, and a steady, if small, source of income.

But starting in 1998, that security began slipping away. Eventually the conflict that had been roiling for decades in this island nation came to their doorstep. “Our village was caught in the middle. Each side was shelling and nine people died, so we left,” he remembers.

Small Business Development Helps AIDS Orphans

Monday, May 11th, 2009
Tanzania business

In April 2009, 45 caretakers of orphans and vulnerable children graduated from a two-week program in food processing, sponsored by CRS’ partner the Catholic Diocese of Tanga and funded by an PEPFAR project. Photo by Debbie DeVoe/CRS

When the women break into song as we enter the room, it’s not just a welcoming greeting. It’s a song of thanks for the help they are receiving starting small businesses.

Up in Tanga, on Tanzania’s northern coast, scores of children have lost one or both parents to AIDS, leaving them to face enormous challenges:

• When one parent dies, the other is left as the sole earner and is rarely able to cover the family’s food and schooling expenses.

• When both parents die, the children are often taken in by relatives whose resources are already stretched exceedingly thin to support their own families.

• When no relatives are available or willing to assist, the eldest orphan can end up caring for his or her younger siblings, becoming the head of their household even when as young as 14—and likely dropping out of school to do so.

Catholic Relief Services through funding through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) is helping to support thousands of orphans across Africa. A key aspect of supporting these children is helping their caregivers earn a better living.

Caritas: Reason to Hope in Zimbabwe

Thursday, March 12th, 2009

CRS friends at the Caritas blog posted a note of hope on conditions in Zimbabwe:

“One would say ‘Could the last person to leave Zimbabwe please switch off the light’, but as the electricity isn’t working there would be no point.

Ethiopia Opens Visitors Eyes and Hearts

Tuesday, December 9th, 2008

Johnnie Dorsey, director of the Office for Black Catholics for the Diocese of Austin, Texas, recently visited Ethiopia as part of a CRS-sponsored delegation sent to view development programs in Ethiopia and to raise awareness and foster advocacy for Africa’s poor.

On his return, Dorsey wrote an article for the Austin American Statesman.

Dorsey wrote: “Awareness raising started right away. On our drive from the Addis Ababa airport to our hotel, I could see homeless people in one darkened, impoverished neighborhood after another. Relatives huddled together, wrapping themselves in paper and plastic for their night’s sleep. It was a prelude of what we would see in days to come.”