Ethiopia at the heart of Australia's Catholic Mission
By Deborah Castellano Lubov
As the Church celebrates World Mission Month this October, Ethiopia is at the heart of the work being carried out by Australia's Catholic Mission, the international mission agency of the Catholic Church in Australia.
The agency is extending an invitation to help build brighter futures for communities in the north African nation, especially as ongoing famine and drought continue to devastate the Horn of Africa.
Locally and globally, Catholic Mission operates in over 160 countries to support initiatives in 1,100 dioceses under the jurisdiction of the Dicastery for the Evangelisation.
Statistics show that 48% of the Ethiopia's child deaths are linked to malnutrition; 50% of children suffer from stunting; and 83% of women in Ethiopia are illiterate.
As World Mission Month recalls the life-giving work of missionaries around the world, the mission wishes to "walk hand in hand with the people of Ethiopia and local church communities" towards providing life-changing opportunities to those in most need.
Walking hand in hand with most needy
In Pope Francis' 2022 World Mission Sunday message, the Holy Father invited all people to answer the call to be missionary, saying that "mission is carried out together, not individually."
Catholic Mission wishes to welcome this invitation through the Pontifical Mission Societies’ international network and with its supporters.
Working at a grass-roots level and closely collaborating with the local communities, they aim to find sustainable solutions which will bring hope to those who need it most.
Concrete help for a brighter future
The agency is working on mission development programs in Ethiopia addressing malnutrition, the lack of access to education for young children, and the vulnerable position of women in society.
In the country's rural region of Emdibir, 70 percent of families struggle to put food on their tables.
Reacting to this challenge, Catholic Mission Australia is working towards providing them with a sustainable source of nutrition by building a goat rearing centre, to fight malnutrition.
The local priest running the project aims to raise locals out of poverty, by creating employment, providing sustainable food resources, and bringing hope.
In Ethiopia's capital of Addis Ababa, local partners are helping children access education, including a scholarship program to offer children whose families face financial hardship, a solid education.
Moreover, Australia's Catholic Mission also supports women in the town of Meki to learn skills and gain financial independence by providing access to vocational training, in order to secure employment or start their own businesses.