Girl from Trocaire box visits Dublin to say thank you

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Many of us living in Australia will remember the famous photo featured on over one million Trócaire boxes that were displayed in homes around Ireland in 2004.

Some 13 years after appearing on the Trócaire box, Josiane Umumarashavu has come here to Ireland supporting her.

Josiane, who is from Rwanda and is now 26, visited St Colmcille’s National School in Knocklyon to recreate her Trócaire picture with the pupils.

That year’s Lenten campaign focused on Rwanda and highlighted the situation in the country 10 years after the genocide of 1994.

Josiane’s father, sister and two of her brothers were killed during the genocide.

Her mother and two brothers survived but were struggling to make ends meet, living off a small piece of land and constantly facing the threat of hunger.

Money donated by Trócaire supporters helped to provide families such as Josiane’s with the farming equipment they needed to improve their food production.

In 2015, Josiane graduated from university and now works for Trócaire in Rwanda.

Her visit to Ireland (and her first time leaving Rwanda) aims to highlight Trócaire’s Lent 2017 campaign and its work in poor communities around the world.

 
Josiane Umumarashavu

Josiane described how the 2004 Trócaire Lent campaign changed her life: “When I was a child we struggled to find enough to eat and we faced hunger.

“Thanks to Trócaire supporters, families like mine were provided with the different farming equipment we needed to grow more food.

“The support from the people in Ireland continued to help me and my family long after that campaign had finished. Life is definitely better now.

“We have a home, a piece of land, cows and goats. Because of this support I was able to finish my schooling.”

Josiane said she still has her photo and the Trocaire box in her home.

“It makes me very happy to look at it and to think that people in Ireland saw my photo and thought about life in Rwanda.

“It was amazing to think that people from a different country were interested in my family.

“I am so happy to be in Ireland to say thank you and I’m very happy to be now part of the Trócaire team making changes in people’s lives in Rwanda.”