As this year’s Trocaire Lenten campaign comes to an end, a young mother from Rwanda has sent a message of thanks to the people of Westmeath for their donations which have helped to completely change her life.
Twenty-five years ago, Josiane Umumarashavu, who was aged three, survived the genocide which saw her father, sister and two of her brothers killed along with almost one million other people.
With her mother struggling to provide for her three children in the aftermath of this horrific atrocity, Josiane featured on more than one million Trócaire boxes that reached homes in Westmeath and right across Ireland back in 2004.
Thanks to donations from the public during that Lent campaign, Josiane and her family, along with thousands of others, received support and equipment to help them improve their farming. This meant they could feed their families in the long term, earn an income and allowed the children to continue in school.
Today, 15 years later, Josiane, 28, is a successful businesswoman and is married with a beautiful six-month old baby boy, Gianni. Graduating with a qualification in business management and accounting, she now works in Trócaire’s office in Rwanda.
“I am very happy,” says Josiane. “Trócaire, and the supporters across Ireland, have made my dreams come true. Life was very difficult after the genocide. We didn’t have enough to eat and we couldn’t afford the fees to allow me to continue my studies after primary school. But thanks to Trócaire supporters, not only was I able to go to secondary school, but I then went to university.
“I am very proud that I now work for Trócaire and can help others, as well as taking care of my baby son. I want to say a big thank you to Trócaire supporters in Ireland - you have helped to change my life and that of my family, and you should be proud that you are helping so many people.”
Caoimhe de Barra, CEO for Trócaire said: “This year, our Lent campaign has focused on the millions of families in the developing world who have lost their land and their homes, and are facing hunger, the threat of violence and no access to education and basic medical care. We are also responding to the devastating effects of Cyclone Idai in southern Africa.
“We are grateful to everyone in Westmeath who has fundraised and collected coins over Lent and we would urge you to return your boxes as soon as possible so we can begin to put your generous donations into action.”
Trócaire boxes can be returned to your local parish, or to donate to the Lenten appeal call 1850 408 408 or visit trocaire.org.