Ash Wednesday services had the launch of the annual Trócaire Lenten campaign. This week marks the start of Ireland’s largest fundraising campaign, the Trócaire Lenten Appeal, which will see more than 1 million Trócaire boxes reach households and schools across the country.

This year’s Trócaire Campaign focuses upon the loss of land in the developing world and how it is leading to devastating consequences for millions of families. Trócaire representatives Maria O’Kane (Campaigns Officer) and Martina O ’Donoghue (Programme Director in Uganda) visited Aquinas on the 6th March, on Ash Wednesday. Martina O’ Donoghue spoke to Aquinas pupils about how Trócaire’s work in Uganda to allow people secure access to land and other vital resources; to make the Ugandan Government more accountable and responsive to its citizen’s demands in the areas of health, education and water; and to combat gender based violence against women.

This year, the Lent box tells this story through three young girls. Maria is from Guatemala where vulnerable communities are being violently evicted by large businesses and left with nothing. In Uganda, Patricia has lost her home because her father died. Her mother, like many others, lacks any basic rights to her land simply because she is a woman. While Maya, who now lives in a refugee camp in Lebanon, was forced to flee her home with her family to escape the Syrian war.

Aquinas pupils are challenged to raise funds to help to provide food, shelter and medical care, as well as to fight for justice and land rights in this year’s annual Trócaire Lenten campaign.