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Catholic Education South Australia
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Week Six – Aloma’s Story

When Typhoon Santi destroyed her home in coastal Philippines, Aloma feared for her family’s safety and their future. Extreme weather events such as typhoons and cyclones are a common occurrence in this country, threatening the safety and food security of many families.

In the Philippines, GDP per capita is around one-tenth that of Australia’s, and life expectancy is around 14 years lower. Poverty is the single most important factor determining vulnerability to natural disasters, which makes communities like Aloma’s particularly vulnerable.

However, confidence began to replace fear for Aloma as she began participating in the Integrated Community Development Program (ICDP) in 2011. The program, run by the Socio Pastoral Action Center Foundation Inc., is supported by Caritas Australia. It helps communities to prepare for disasters, and adopt environmentally friendly practices.

Aloma’s training in disaster risk reduction empowered her to take a leadership role in her community in caring for the environment. She manages logistics during natural disasters, and encourages the families in her village to plant mangroves for land conservation.

The program also offers guidance on working together for the common good. As a result, Aloma says, “All the skills that I learned, I pass on to friends and neighbours.”

Aloma’s community now cares for their common home together, and Aloma sees a brighter future for her children.

View the video of Aloma’s story here

Find out more about the Philippines where Aloma and her family come from here 

Reflections:

Today we process into the Church accompanied by shouts of ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!’, only to hear, in the second Gospel of the day: ‘Crucify him! Crucify him!’ What do we do with this? How can we go forward and not be manipulated by the crowd that shouts ‘Hosanna’ one moment, and a week later calls for Jesus’ death? Perhaps the best way to travel this last week — the only week in the Church’s year that we call Holy — is to do so in the company of the poor and the broken, the marginalised, the innocent, the abused. If we are to stand at the foot of the cross with Mary and John and hear Jesus make us all his brothers and sisters, and hear him say, ‘Behold this is your mother, this is your son,’ then let us, like Jesus, empty ourselves. And let us follow him.

Just eight hours flying time from Australia live our neighbours on the islands of the Philippines. Here extreme weather has caused extraordinary devastation. Aloma and her small children have already journeyed from tragedy to triumph through her work with Caritas Australia’s local partner, Socio Pastoral Action Center Foundation Inc. Now there is fresh hope of a more secure future for her family, and her whole community. “Humanity,” says Pope Francis, “has the ability to work together in building our common home.” As we leave the church, we do so in silence in order to reflect on this most important task during this Holy Week.

Family conversations:

Talk with your children about how is the earth “our common home” and agree on one thing your family can do today to protect “our common home”?

Pray together:

For our sisters and brothers throughout the world whose homes and livelihoods are in jeopardy from environmental destruction: That world leaders may put people before profit and work to distribute and sustain the earth’s resources for the good of all.

We Pray as One.

For our world community: That we may work together to love and care for our common home.

We Pray as One.

 
 

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