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03 Jul 2022

Offaly woman stands in ‘solidari-tea’ with communities overcoming drought and hunger in Zimbabwe

Offaly woman stands in ‘solidari-tea’ with communities overcoming drought and hunger in Zimbabwe

Christian Aid supporter Gillian Kingston from Shinrone in County Offaly is celebrating the success of women in Zimbabwe.

A CHRISTIAN Aid supporter from County Offaly is celebrating the success of communities in Zimbabwe overcoming drought, hunger and extreme poverty, through projects that help them earn a living, such as the growing and harvesting of hibiscus - a plant that can be used to make herbal tea.

Shinrone woman Gillian Kingston, who is the Christian Aid representative at Roscrea Methodist Church in County Tipperary, raised a cup of tea during Christian Aid Week (May 15th-21st) to say “cheers” to women farmers like Agnes Machona, who comes from a drought-prone region of Zimbabwe and is now able to earn a living to support herself and her children.

Christian Aid’s local partner in Zimbabwe has helped Agnes to grow and harvest hibiscus flowers because the plant tolerates drought, as well as helping her find commercial buyers for her crop.

Gillian stood in ‘solidari-tea’ this Christian Aid Week to highlight the agency’s work in eastern Zimbabwe, which has helped 27,000 people cope with poor rainfall - made worse by rising temperatures caused by climate change.

Agnes Machona (37) and her husband have three children. To support the family, her husband works in the construction industry in Botswana while Agnes stays at home to work their farm and raise their children. Severe drought in recent years has caused Agnes’ crops to fail and she recalls a time when there was so little food that she had to cut back to just one meal a day, even though she was breastfeeding. She lost weight and couldn’t produce enough milk to feed her baby.

Agnes is not solely reliant on the income she earns by selling her hibiscus tea. Christian Aid’s local partner has also installed a solar-powered water pump to irrigate a community garden, enabling Agnes and the other women in her community to grow vegetables for consumption and surplus to sell for cash.

Across Ireland this Christian Aid Week, thousands of people have been fundraising and donating to support Christian Aid’s work to support people living in some of the poorest countries in the world as well as countries coping with conflict, drought, risk of famine and the impacts of climate change.

Christian Aid Ireland Chief Executive Rosamond Bennett said: “Some of the poorest people in the world are living on the frontline of the climate crisis. Extreme weather wreaks havoc on harvests, pushing millions further into poverty. Drought left Agnes and others in her community struggling to feed their families but today they are thriving, thanks to the support they receive from Christian Aid’s local partner in Zimbabwe. This success is made possible by the generosity of our supporters and with their continued help this Christian Aid Week, we can reach even more people like Agnes.”

For more information and to donate to support their work this Christian Aid Week, please visit https://caweek.ie/Donate or call 01 496 7040 to make a telephone donation.

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