27 May 2022

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

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

Máire McKay, a Tullamore supporter of Christian Aid is celebrating the success of women in Zimbabwe

A Tullamore supporter of Christian Aid 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.

Máire McKay is raising a cup of tea this Christian Aid Week (15-21 May) to say ‘cheers’ to women farmers like Agnes Machona ( pictured below)  who comes from a drought-prone region of Zimbabwe and is now able to earn a living to support herself and her children. Máire, who is a member of Tullamore Presbyterian Church, has been supporting Christian Aid for almost 70 years.

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.

Máire is standing 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 was losing 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.

Pictured below - Agnes Machona shows off a cup of the herbal tea she’s made with hibiscus she’s grown herself. Diversifying into drought-resistant hibiscus production has allowed Agnes to earn enough money to feed her family des

Across Ireland this Christian Aid Week, thousands of people will fundraise and donate 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 our work this Christian Aid Week, please visit or telephone 01 496 7040 to make a telephone donation. 

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