The missionary movement Ġesù fil-Proxxmu has been carrying out missionary work in Ethiopia and Kenya for the last 25 years. This includes the building of schools and providing equipment to help the people there live a better life.
In Ethiopia, thousands of people struggle to survive from day to day with children and adults constantly searching for pools of water to quench their thirst and for cooking.
For Dun Ġorġ Grima, Director of the Moviment Missjunarju Ġesù fil-Proxxmu, these scenes are hardly rare. For the last quarter of a century he has seen children living in landfills, people living in the street and animals doing the works of tractors and modern equipment which more developed countries have been using for years.
However, while food and a decent place to live are very important, the Movement is focussing its efforts on education, which is why in the first few years of this year it has opened no less than 12 schools in Ethiopia.
“We have a school not only for children but even for the elderly which we open at night so that at least we can teach them to read. We have also given them a mill, which they never had before in their village. Before this, they used to have to carry sacks on their back and walk for two hours to another village where there was a mill, in order to grind their wheat,” said Dun Ġorġ Grima.
Some Ethiopian villages are so backwards and isolated from the rest of civilisation that two months ago the residents of the remote village of Madiwuta saw a white person for the first time in their lives.
“They were afraid of me, especially the children. I finally convinced a few of the children to come next to me to eat something and I gave them some sweets. When they touched me, they said ‘he doesn’t bite!’ and so eventually the rest of them came too,” Dun Ġorġ said.
The residents of this village celebrated the opening of the first school which was completely funded by the donations which the Moviment Ġesu Missjunarju collects from the Maltese throughout the year.
The aim of the Moviment Missjunarju is that, in the village of Bonga, which has a population three times that of Malta, they will eventually build a home for disabled children.
“There are a million and one thousand residents and there is not one home for disabled children. In Ethiopia, especially in these regions where we work, the disabled are still kept hidden away, said Dun Ġorġ.
In order for this project to be realised, the movement is asking the people of Malta and Gozo to keep contributing to this noble evangilisation which quenches the thirst of those without water and feeds those who are hungry.