On Friday last 9th December we had a visit from Fr. Paddy Moran who has worked extensively in the Arba Minch prison in Ethiopia.
This is a mixed prison and women inmates are allowed keep their children with them until the age of 14.
Fr. Paddy is a big man – to quote Harry from Senior Infants “You go all the way up to the sky.” He also has a big smile, a big presence and most of all a big heart.
He spoke to all our pupils from junior infants to 6th class and he managed to communicate effectively with each group – his word of the day was “EMPATHY.” He got the children to imagine living in squalor with no toys, minimal opportunities to play and limited access to education.
They are locked up every evening at 6 pm in tiny cramped dormitories.
There is a policy in the prison of teaching the men skills they can use to fund themselves and their families – painting being one – John Galvin from Moate has gone over three times to give art lessons, Fr. Paddy showed us some samples of the work produced, lots of the paintings being based on images from the Bible.
As you will know, we try every year to support a charity with the funds raised at our Carol Service. This year we hope to be able to make a sizable donation to Fr. Paddy. His is a one-man operation aided by volunteers – no admin fees, no CEO’s on inflated salaries and so we can be assured that every euro will be spent on improving these childrens’ lives. So please come along with your extended families on Tuesday 20th December at 7 pm and dig deep!!
Have a look at our photos below and we have also provided a link to the ‘Nationwide’ programme focussing on the work done in Arba Minch prison.
Nollaig faoi shéan ‘s faoi mhaise agus athbhliain shuaimhneach daoibh go léir!