AFRICA/ETHIOPIA - Initiative of a religious order to help families in difficulty due to Covid-19

Saturday, 27 June 2020 coronavirus   nuns   solidarity  

Addis Ababa (Agenzia Fides) - "Since there is lockdown and limited movements, most people are staying at home and are not able to do casual jobs for their economic sustainability. So, we have people coming to our Convent door to ask for food, most of the time. As a community we exhausted what we had and therefore resolved to develop a project to see how we can help", says Sr. Dorothy Odundo,
of the Franciscan Sisters of St. Anna (FSSA) who serve in the parish of Dongora.
"I wrote to Missionszentrale der Franziskaner, a charity association which supports Order of Franciscans’ and through them we have managed to distribute food and soap to over 300 families in need", says the nun who is Coordinator of Dongora Women Promotion Group.
Through the Church elders and parish priest of Dongora Catholic parish Fr. Mulugeta Moges Naramo, the nuns identified the needy irrespective of faith, and they have done the distribution of foodstuffs for a number of days.
Fr. Moges has appreciated the nuns’ initiative saying that the intervention came at the right time and that food is the most important support required during this period of Covid-19 when most families are starving and cannot afford proper meals.
Sister Odundo, who works with over 600 women in the Promotion Group, started the "help" project last year before the pandemic, according to which the families of the parish support each other with what they have.
"The initiative is for neighbor to neighbor. We have always emphasized on helping each other especially the families who at times go without food. "We have always emphasized on helping each other especially the families who at times go without food", says the nun.
As of June 25, , Ethiopia had reported 5,175 Coronavirus cases including 1,544 recoveries and 81 deaths.
The preventive measures adopted by the government to prevent and stop the spread of the infection are however having serious consequences for the population. Confinement at home has seen an increase in domestic violence. Women and girls are victims of violence and rape by violent family members and partners.
Several States in the federation also report cases of early marriage of girls that have occurred since schools have closed.
The Catholic Church has joined the #ZIM ALIIM "("I will not shut up") initiative, launched by some Ethiopian artists to report violence against girls, through the Office for education and child protection of the Catholic Ethiopian Secretariat, which recently held a meeting on the issue. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 27/6/2020)