In a tiny rural village in the Philippines locals work tirelessly at coconut farms for around $2 a day. With no access to education or welfare services these people live in poverty, the Cessnock Advertiser reports.
Children are exploited and their chance& of breaking the inter-generational cycle of poverty is limited.
They struggle to access drinking water and even toilets.
Fr Ronald Anthony Timoner, executive director of Filipino organisation The Socio-Pastoral Action Centre Foundation, is leading the support, development and empowerment of indigenous communities.
Supported by Caritas Australia for Project Compassion, Fr Timoner is visiting Catholic schools and groups in Australia to raise money and awareness of humanitarian projects.
“It is directed towards the poorest of the poor in the community,” Fr Timoner says of the development projects in Diocese of Daet.
“The impacts they had is that it raised their (the community members) state of situation and has improved their quality of life.
“They live on maybe $2 a day and have no access, actually, to safe drinking water and toilets.
“They also have difficulty accessing education because of the distance.”
The poorest of the poor work in different farms including coconut plantations. Through successful development projects some of these workers were given access to educational programs allowing them to seek other employment and earn more money. This enabled them to send their children to school and repair their houses.
“They are sharing their knowledge and skills with other people around the community,” Fr Timoner said.
“(Skills include) how to engage in organic farming, the production of organic fertiliser, production of chips and also ointment.”
Leading an entire village out of poverty cannot happen overnight, but if children are educated – their prospects and the prospects of future generations will continue to improve, Fr Timoner said.
“It’s inter-generational,” he said.
During Lent the Church raises funds for Caritas Australia – that money is distributed to the different humanitarian projects.
Fr Ronald Anthony Timoner (The Cessnock Advertiser)
Minister touring schools to raise money and awareness for humanitarian projects (Cessnock Advertiser)