The Diocese of Meath and Kildare has a long history of partnering in Diocesan Link Projects from dairy cooperatives for rural farmers in Haiti to HIV/AIDS clinics in Malawi.  The latest project, Good for the Sole, was run in two phases and focused on support for people living with Leprosy, first by supplying fitted sandals and second by funding reconstructive foot surgery.

    Going barefoot leaves leprosy sufferers more open to infection.  The sandals offer sturdy support and stability.  Instead of shipping ready-made footwear, the sandals are locally sourced and made with materials that have proven scientifically and medically to protect the feet.  But as the materials are local, the sandals can easily be fixed or replaced.  The programme employs people with leprosy or who have been cured of leprosy in making the shoes, creating employment and breaking down social stigma.  People are being trained in early detection and in self-care of the de-sensitized areas of the foot to prevent further infection or deformity.  The sandals enable people to continue to walk and to work and to provide for their families or attend school.meath 2 india leprosy

    Having reached and exceeded the target of €25,000, the diocese entered the second phase of this project, focusing on corrective surgery for feet of Leprosy sufferers. Each surgery costs €50 and the results are transformative for the person and for their family.

    Dr Jerry Joshua, who was working with the leprosy mission in India came to Ireland in June 2016. He spoke about the process of taking fat tissue from one part of the body and relocating it to where it was needed around the foot.

    After Easter 2017, a team of 12 people from the diocese went out to India to see where the money was being used.
    By the end of June, the Diocese had raised €41,400 to Bishops’ Appeal giving a grand total sponsoring 827 operations.

    The Leprosy Mission now has enough funding to carry out foot surgeries in their hospitals in India for the next 2 ½ years (until 2020)  The Diocese has provided huge support and resources.

    Cashel 1 literacyCashel Ferns and Ossory 2016 and 2017 Diocesan Link project ‘Literacy Links’ focuses on women’s literacy in Ethiopia and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in partnership with Bishops’ Appeal, Mothers’ Union and Feed the Minds. For more information, read the brochure here.

    Parishes and individuals raised much needed funds for literacy, peace building and vocational training in soap making.  Good news stories from women who attended the literacy circles and learned to read and write really emphasise the impact that literacy makes to us as human beings with dignity, giving us confidence and opening up opportunities.  The fundraising efforts culminated in Bishop Michael’s own sponsored preaching marathon, taking in every parish and school in the diocese:


    Church of Ireland Bishop of Cashel, Ferns & Ossory, Michael Burrows, embarked on a rapid road tour which began on Wednesday, 13 September 2017 and finished on the 29th September.

    He visited 66+ church and schools during his ‘whistle stop’ tour, where he presented a short sermon outside each chosen venue. Each 5-minute reflection was based on a text from one of the 66 books of the Bible and was focused on the empowerment of women through literacy.

    Bishop Burrows undertakes what he calls ‘peregrinations’ every two years and previous events have included his one-day rapid rail trip ‘Stations at the Stations’, a cross-county vintage vehicle event and a church organ playing marathon across the Diocese that encompasses seven counties – Carlow, Kilkenny, Laois, Tipperary, Waterford, Wexford and Wicklow.

    This is a journey, through all the books of the Bible, with an emphasis on what is often hidden – the presence and the role of women,” the Bishop says. “The tour is about getting out and about in the Diocese, reminding ourselves of how well off we are really, highlighting the value of education and the particular importance of educating women – as many have said ‘when you educate a woman you educate a family’.

    Particularly in the developing world, it is women who share the benefits of their education with their families, who work effectively for equality and opportunity and who together hasten the breaking in of the Kingdom of God.

    In this journey not only do we consider the gifts and potential of women as humans sharing the image of God, we also explore feminine imagery surrounding the divine.”


    Following a hugely successful diocesan fundraiser (over £116,000 raised) in partnership with Bishops’ Appeal and Christian Aid to provide mosquito nets to vulnerable communities in Nigeria, the diocese focused on sustainable agriculture in the face of climate change for communities in Colombia. It allowed families to become food secure through learning new practices, gaining new tools and seeds and increasing nutrition.

    Now, the Diocese is partnering with the rural diocese of Butere in Kenya to provide 50 cows for clergy who currently don’t receive any financial support for their pastoral work and need to work in other jobs to provide for their families. The project will be run in partnership with Bishops’ Appeal and Send a Cow.

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    In 2015, the Houses for Haiti Diocesan Project gave five families the security of a decent home.

    Now the diocese are focusing on ‘Making the most of Maize’, a project that will enable farmers in Burundi to produce more food and have more security.

    To read the information brochure, click here

    cork 2 burundi maize cork 1 haiti new home

    The Diocese of Tuam, Killala and Achonry has completed a three year project supporting a girls’ Masai secondary school in Southern Kenya.  They raised over €20,000 that provided a proper septic tank and a new classroom for the students.

    Now, the diocese are funding a Water Project entitled ‘Magi’ in Oltiasika in Kajiado Diocese in Kenya which will store and protect the water and encourage community ownership of a protected water source.  They have set a target of £37K with €20K to be raised by the end of 2016.

    This project is being done in partnership with Bishops’ Appeal and CMS Ireland.

    In November 2017, a team from TKA visited the projects they have funded in Kenya. For a blog on their experience go to : Due to drought, the water tank lids were not yet completed and the team could see the immense need for them to protect the water and keep it free from contamination.  The Diocesan Link Project has proven a real partnership, with both dioceses learning, growing and being enriched as a result.

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    The Prepare a Place Advent Appeal for Gaza was a diocese to diocese appeal. The diocese of Dublin & Glendalough was reaching out to the Diocese of Jerusalem and in particular to the Al Ahli hospital the diocese runs in Gaza, in doing so, was learning what it really means to be a follower of Christ in the bleakest of situations. It was a reminder that we are connected in so many ways to people in other parts of the world and that losing sight of them causes us to lose sight of ourselves.

    Diocese of Jerusalem:

    • 1.8 million people affected in the Gaza Strip – that is the entire population.
    • In the last conflict – 50 days of fighting over the summer – 2,131 fatalities, of which 1,473 are civilians
    • Over half a million people have been displaced and housed in UN/government schools or with host families. Members of the Council for Mission who visited Gaza before the Appeal said overcrowding was rife and many people had built temporary shelters wherever they could – in many cases this was in cemeteries.
    • 1.5 million people with no or extremely restricted access to water – 95% of Gaza’s drinking water – provided through 117 municipal wells – (pollutants, agricultural run offs, sea water and sewerage contamination.)
    • 141 schools damaged
    • 5 hospitals shut down and 24 (at least) health facilities damaged
    • 2-12 hours of electricity per day on average

    In this context the Al Ahli hospital cares for its patients.

    • As you can imagine, patients with burns, amputations or other injuries from shrapnel are many. If you are seeking treatment due to the conflict, but cannot afford to pay, your treatment is provided free of charge.   but there are other issues to contend with as well.
    • Poverty and hopelessness – need for mobile clinics to go to the people who need medical attention the most, but who are so traumatised or who have lost faith in life, or who are afraid and who then don’t go to the hospital for help.
    • Trauma – 400,000 children in need of trauma counselling and psycho-social support.
    • Gaza has a high rate of breast cancer, and when 50% population are living on less than $2 a day, less chance of detection, less going to get checked (can’t afford it) and ultimately the survival rate is 40% as opposed to 70-80% in other parts of the world.
    • Malnutrition is a big issue – parents presenting with underweight babies can be told their child needs more nutrition, but when access is limited to tea and bread, how can this be resolved.
    • 26% of all diseases in gaza are water related. Fuel & electricity shortages prevents sewerage treatment and maintainence. The hospital doesn’t have direct influence over the water supply but it works alongside countless grassroots initiatives and aid agencies to ensure safe water for its patients.

    Our support provided solar panels for the roof and renovated quarters for medical staff.

    1. Solar panels instead of unstable electricity supply leading to dependence on generators which are costly, bad for the environment and access to the fossil fuel can be hit and miss.
    2. When there is unrest, staff live at the hospital in order to give round the clock care and their quarters are dilapidated so some funds went towards this.

    But the support was for an overall institution that provides care based on need, not on ability to pay, that provides trauma counselling, early breast cancer detection, food packages and mobile clinics. It is the heart of a very downtrodden community and your support allows it and those it reaches out to, to flourish.

    dublin gaza thank youdublin gaza crisis