Minister touring schools to raise money and awareness for humanitarian projects

VISION: Father  Ronald  Anthony Timoner from the Philippines is sharing the success of the work of Project Compassion and Caritas Australia. Picture: Luka Kauzlaric

VISION: Father Ronald Anthony Timoner from the Philippines is sharing the success of the work of Project Compassion and Caritas Australia. Picture: Luka Kauzlaric

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. 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.

Father Ronald Anthony Timoner, executive director of Filipino organisation The Socio-Pastoral Action CentreFoundation, is leading the support, development and empowerment of indigenous communities.

Supported by Caritas Australia for Project Compassion Father 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,” Father Timoner says of the development projects in Diocese of Daet he is leading.

“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 successfula development project 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,” Father 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, Father Timoner said.

“It’s inter-generational,” he said.

During Lent the Catholic Church raises funds for Caritas Australia – that money is distributed to the different humanitarian projects.

“We are finding ways to work with the government for the benefit of the people,” Father Timoner said.