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ERD IMPACT 10: Celebrating Ten Year of Edmund Rice Mission Transforming Lives
Blessed Edmund Rice believed in the power of education to transform lives. He worked tirelessly in Ireland to ensure all children regardless of their background had the opportunity to learn and to go on to build meaningful communities. His legacy lives on today through Edmund Rice Mission, which engages directly with local communities across the globe. Edmund Rice Mission projects work with local people to build their capacity to be agents of change in their own communities.
Edmund Rice Development (ERD) was founded in 2008 to support Edmund Rice Mission in the developing world. Working for the liberation of people and communities from poverty and injustice, ERD’s mission has been to support these projects and to source funding in a transparent and accountable way.
Since 2008, ERD has supported over 90 projects across Africa, Latin America, India and the Pacific Rim. ERD IMPACT 10 commemorates ten years of ERD’s support of Edmund Rice Mission by highlighting the impact of the work of our partner projects. ERD works closely with our partner projects in developing countries to invest in young people, empower women and collaborate with local communities.
Edmund Rice Mission began with education, and today it continues through formal and informal educational programmes throughout the world. Countless children and young people have been able to access quality education, thus transforming their lives and their future goals.
Nuevo Horizonte is a project started in the town of Chimbote, Peru. Many of the families live in extreme poverty – there is no running water, sanitation or electricity in town. Edmund Rice Mission established a presence in Nuevo Horizonte over two years ago offering academic support, music and dance classes to the community. 10-year old Fernando and 8-year old Neidi were two children that moved to Chimbote from Colombia with their mother, Yanidis. The family lacked the money needed to enrol in Peruvian school. The children were out of school for two years, bored and discouraged. They entered into the academic support classes at the Nuevo Horizonte project, delighted to be involved in something structured and academic. This year, Fernando and Neidi were finally able to enter formal schooling and are now thriving. Thanks to the presence of the Nuevo Horizonte project, the children were able to access quality education for free. They continue to participate in the project, taking guitar lessons (pictured) and attending dance classes respectively.
In developing countries, women are faced with many barriers – including those of access to education and quality healthcare. By eliminating those barriers, women can be empowered to reach their full potential and transform the lives of their families and communities.
The Education for Life (EFL) programme in Eldoret, Kenya offers psychosocial support to people living with HIV; most of the participants are women. The programme aims to empower participants with life skills and knowledge to make informed and sustainable decisions for a healthy lifestyle. EFL supports approximately 450 families affected by HIV by providing them with food and assistance with school fees, materials and uniforms. Participants are also supported in income-generating activities and are encouraged to become involved in their Savings and Internal Lending Communities microfinance scheme.
“Education for Life has really helped me. When I came here, the staff enrolled me in the microfinance scheme. I received a loan from my group and started a small business selling maize. Now, I can provide food and some clothes for my children from the income I make. I can be a responsible parent.”
–Jackline (pictured with her daughters)
Engaging directly with local communities and working together to address social issues is a major focus of Edmund Rice Mission. Our partner projects collaborate with local communities to identify priority needs and develop long-term solutions. Through advocacy initiatives they challenge the causes of systemic poverty and injustice from the local through to the global level, all while encouraging and empowering people to be agents of change in their own communities.
In 2016 a cluster of new Edmund Rice Mission Journeying Together communities was established in Western Zambia, an area where three out of every four people live in extreme poverty. Now, Brothers and volunteers live amongst the local communities. They have learned the local language and have become integrated into the communities, listening to their concerns, and entering into discussions to address the root causes of social problems. Bwime is a single mother of five children living in Luampa. She left school in 2006 and wasn’t able to find permanent work. She joined a Journeying Together group who were trained in agricultural crop, livestock and fisheries production (pictured). Following the training, beneficiaries were supplied with start-up agricultural inputs based on their areas of interest. For Bwime, she chose poultry production and joined a group of four others in rearing 200 chickens. The group has already started to sell their chickens to the local community. “There is now hope that my family will be able to eat meals more regularly than before.” Bwime says. She plans to continue with poultry farming while saving to support her children through school, with plans to expand her agricultural venture next year.
As we look back, we see the impact Edmund Rice Mission projects have had on countless lives. Ten years ago, our partner projects provided education and essential services and aid to those in need. This work continues, and today increasingly we also work to build the capacity of local communities to support their own development in a sustainable way.
Thank you to all our generous donors for your valuable support over the last decade. With your ongoing support, we can continue to strive for the transformation, and ultimately, the liberation of young people, women and communities for years to come.
Please join us on our journey by making a gift today.