Catholic aid organizations have resumed delivering food and comfort to war-ravaged Tigray.

Catholic aid organizations have resumed delivering food and comfort to war-ravaged Tigray.

He elaborated, saying, “Our model is a low-cost model, but I think a very efficient model whereby the community is taking a strong ownership and a really strong part in making sure that those programs operate successfully.” They will be responsible for overseeing the local preparation of the meals, coordinating the arrival of volunteer cooks on a daily basis to prepare the food, and ensuring that every student at the school is nourished.

To ensure that all children are nourished, it is our responsibility to supply the necessary food, as well as the necessary training, monitoring, and assistance for the local communities.

Mary’s Meals provides cookies and tea to children in Tigray, Ethiopia, so that they can eat while they learn. Mary’s Meals, Inc., Copyright

Schools provide a “beacon of hope” in an otherwise hopeless culture, and he argued that offering free meals in schools would encourage more children to enroll. However, significant difficulties persist because many schools were destroyed or plundered during the violence.

“The kids came brimming with vitality and enthusiasm for learning, with a willful resolve to actively participate in their classrooms and to make the most of every educational opportunity presented to them. Once school feeding had begun, there was a clear uptick in enrollment. Keay elaborated, drawing on his personal experience traveling to the country in question this year, “that’s not uncommon for us to see that all of a sudden more children are encouraged to go to school.”

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Incredible as it may seem, students were returning to such classrooms without desks or chairs. There are still a lot of absent educators. There are holes in the ceilings and cracks in the walls of many of the classrooms. But the kids are already returning, and they’re kind of setting an example for their communities by trying to get their schools back up and running.

The ruins of an Ethiopian school in the Tigray region. Mary’s Meals, Inc., Copyright

The Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), the dominant political party representing the region, has played a disproportionately large role in national politics in recent decades despite Tigrayans’ status as an ethnic minority in Ethiopia. This has contributed to the region’s strife. After Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed took office in 2018, he disbanded the political coalition that the TPLF had headed. The TPLF did not join the coalition’s Prosperity Party, which was formed after the coalition’s ethnically oriented regional parties united. Politicians and officials in Tigray have claimed they were falsely accused of corruption and political persecution.

After an alleged attack on a military base in Mekelle, the capital of Tigray, on November 4, 2020, Abiy declared a military offensive. There are reports of widespread atrocities as a result of the conflict’s rapid escalation. The northern neighbor and erstwhile enemy of Ethiopia, Eritrea, quickly sided with the Ethiopian government. Abiy’s government has been accused of ethnic cleansing by others.

Throughout the conflict, the Ethiopian government effectively blocked all humanitarian help to the Tigray region and restricted access to the area for aid workers and the media. In November 2022, the African Union (AU) mediated a peace agreement between the Ethiopian government and the TPLF, officially ending the war.

A broken down Ethiopian school in the region of Tigray. Mary’s Meals, Inc., Copyright

Over the past few years, the needs of Tigray have mostly been eclipsed by other big world events like the war in Ukraine. According to Keay, the “huge, devastating humanitarian situation” in Tigray demands attention.

(The rest of the story follows.)

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Most people will know of Tigray, and that’s because of the bad things that have happened there. Terrible famines have occurred in that region of Africa, and I believe many people’s minds have been permanently scarred by the sights they depicted. But it’s a stunning corner of the world, and the Tigrians have a deep sense of their own identity and culture. Their culture, especially their fashion, is significantly different from our own. In addition, “a lot of work has been done in recent years around development, and really a lot of progress has been made” in that region of Ethiopia, as Keay put it.

Keay claims the terrible conflict has “really set back the development that’s been happening in Tigray.”

From a place where agriculture was flourishing and people had access to healthy, locally grown food, we hear that “a lot of really positive things are happening.” As a result of the current crisis, the majority of Tigrayans require food aid just to survive. And I fear it will take a long time to put right.

Mary’s Meals provides cookies and tea to children in Tigray, Ethiopia, so that they can eat while they learn. Mary’s Copyright Meals

The BBC reported earlier this month that since the suspension of food aid from the United Nations’ World Food Programme (WFP) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) about four months ago, at least 1,400 people have starved to death in Tigray. Almost 500 persons, including government officials and nongovernmental organization personnel, were found to have stolen the food by Tigrayan authorities, prompting the suspension.

Moreover, Keay noted that the Daughters of Charity have established a “transparent and accountable system that meant that the food was being put directly into [needy people’s] hands.”

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