Local cleric witnesses at first hand severe poverty on the streets of Africa

Father Brendan Collins pictured in Tanzania with Children in Crossfire Richard Moore.

Father Brendan Collins pictured in Tanzania with Children in Crossfire Richard Moore.

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A Derry priest says he is thankful for what he has after witnessing severe poverty on the streets of Africa.

A Derry priest says he is thankful for what he has after witnessing severe poverty on the streets of Africa.

Father Brendan Collins pictured in Tanzania.

Father Brendan Collins pictured in Tanzania.

Father Brendan Collins of the Long Tower parish travelled to Tanzania earlier this year with Children in Crossfire founder Richard Moore.

“I had never seen extreme poverty like this,” said Father Brendan. “Families with absolutely nothing, living in mud huts, sleeping on clay floors and not knowing where their next meal was coming from. I also developed a real appreciation for the excellent work being carried out by Children in Crossfire.”

As the trip was his first to Africa, the Derry priest says he was unsure what to expect.

“My preconceptions were changed,” he said. “I witnessed first-hand the communities who had made many changes because of the opportunities they had been given by Children in Crossfire. The model they work from is the sustainable approach, empowering communities to lift themselves out of poverty and provide a future for their children. This model gave me hope to see a future for people struggling in a difficult environment. We also visited communities who were looking for help and support and this was extremely challenging to see the evident need.

“One family stands out for me; we met a lady and her children, she had benefited from the support of Children in Crossfire and was now running her own sustainable project, growing and selling produce. She showed us how she now had a new home, she was so proud because she was moving herself to a better life but this was still a difficult reality, they still had little to nothing. Erion Colombari showed me how, through the help of Children in Crossfire, vulnerable families like herself were benefiting. They were being given the support and tools to grow the vegetables to feed their children properly and to send their children to school.

“The hope is there.

“Children in Crossfire’s Advent Campaign is a fantastic way to support some of the world’s most vulnerable children. You can be part of providing a real future for families. I am proud that our parish is supporting the Advent Appeal and would urge you to do the same. God bless you all.”