A Cork woman is celebrating the success of communities overcoming extreme poverty, drought, and hunger in Zimbabwe.
Vera Wellcome, who lives in Douglas and is a supporter of Christian Aid, is standing in solidarity with communities in Zimbabwe who have overcome poverty, through projects that help them earn a living, such as the growing and harvesting of hibiscus, a plant that can be used to make herbal tea.
Ms Wellcome is standing in “solidari-tea” this Christian Aid Week which runs from May 15 to May 21 to highlight the agency’s work in eastern Zimbabwe, which has helped 27,000 people cope with poor rainfall made worse by rising temperatures caused by climate change.
Vera is raising a cup of tea to say “cheers” to women farmers like Agnes Machona, who comes from a drought-prone region of Zimbabwe and is now able to earn a living to support herself and her children.
Agnes (37) and her husband have three children. Her husband works in the construction industry, while Agnes stays at home to work their farm and raise their children.
Severe drought in recent years has caused Agnes’ crops to fail and she recalls a time when there was so little food that she had to cut back to just one meal a day, even though she was breastfeeding.
Christian Aid’s local partner in Zimbabwe has helped Agnes to grow and harvest hibiscus flowers because the plant tolerates drought, as well as helping her find commercial buyers for her crop.
Christian Aid Ireland chief executive Rosamond Bennett said: “Some of the poorest people in the world are living on the frontline of the climate crisis. Drought left Agnes and others in her community struggling to feed their families but today they are thriving, thanks to the support they receive from Christian Aid’s local partner in Zimbabwe.”
Agnes is not solely reliant on the income she earns by selling her hibiscus tea. Christian Aid’s local partner has also installed a solar-powered water pump to irrigate a community garden, enabling Agnes and the other women in her community to grow vegetables for consumption and surplus to sell for cash.