Thanks for your solidarity

Livelihood support: Thanks for your solidarity

By Isabel Perez-Doherty

This is the fifth and final article in a blog series on the igNation website in November 2017. The series aims to raise awareness about livelihood support, which is the focus of CJI’s 2017 Giving Tuesday campaign called Tell Ten.

Let me start this final blog of CJI’s series on Livelihood Support by saying THANK YOU!

I try to start from a place of gratitude in my professional and personal life — gratitude for the opportunities given to me and my family so we can enjoy every day, thankful for the possibility to have options and to be able to make decisions that will affect our lives. And I am particularly grateful for these opportunities because I know there are millions of people who are at the margins of society and very close to losing all hope.

Our awareness-raising campaign called Tell Ten started with a key objective in mind: “to amplify the message of CJI’s partners working to support livelihoods in communities struggling to access dignified means of work.” If you’ve had an opportunity to read the previous four blogs of this series in igNation, you might know by now that supporting livelihoods is one way to accompany people in their struggle to see new and better days for their families and future generations.

You might also know that livelihood support can manifest in so many different ways, from training displaced people in new skills in refugee camps, to raising awareness of the legal rights and benefits of indigenous and minority groups, to supporting small business ventures in remote villages. Most importantly, livelihood support in the work of our partners is manifest in trying new avenues that create opportunities for people to gain agency in their own lives and future.

This is what we aimed to communicate with our Tell Ten campaign to support livelihoods. So if any readers of this series have a better understanding of what livelihood support is for CJI and our partners overseas and are compelled to act, then we have moved a little closer toward our mission of love and service!

Fr Lalit Tirkey SJ (centre) with Archbishop Prendergast SJ, Isabel Perez-Doherty (at left) and CJI supporters at St Margaret Mary's parish, Ottawa. (Photo: CJI)

Fr Lalit Tirkey SJ (centre) with Archbishop Prendergast SJ, Isabel Perez-Doherty (at left) and CJI supporters at St Margaret Mary’s parish, Ottawa. (Photo: CJI)

During this campaign, we have been amazed not only at how our network of Jesuits and friends in Canada responded to our outreach but also at how this outreach expanded to our overseas partners and friends. We received words of encouragement and support from Colombia, India, Italy, Mexico, Nepal, Spain and Zambia. Way to go everyone!

This campaign also mobilized many of our closest friends who became “Tell Ten Ambassadors.” They shared our materials, called friends, wrote letters and emails, sent postcards, organized gatherings and events across Canada, and gave our international visitor Fr. Lalit Tirkey SJ and our staff lodging and food during our visits. They did so much to spread the word.

Just four days into our campaign we had already received substantial donations and pledges toward our $60,000 fundraising goal!

In addition to raising funds, our Tell Ten campaign also seeks to foster solidarity and awareness-raising. For example, I witnessed how 600 young men gathered in one big gymnasium at St. Paul’s High School in Winnipeg wore stickers with our CJI logo and the words “I support CJI and their campaign for livelihoods.” This act of solidarity moved me deeply!

I and other CJI staff also listened to the inquisitive questions of many young students — at St. John’s School in Perth, Ontario, Loyola High School in Montreal, St Bonaventure’s College in St. John’s, St. Patrick’s School in Toronto and St. Mary’s school in Pickering, Ontario — while they tried to understand the hard working conditions of tea estate workers in Darjeeling, as related by Fr Tirkey.

As we reached out to parishes, dioceses, social justice groups, other NGOs and media across Canada to tell them about “Tell Ten,” we felt sure that this outreach would bear fruit in the future to get us closer to our common goal of dignity and justice for all.

We met with so many of our supporters at our public events who came to listen and support our campaign. For me, it confirmed — in the words of our director, Jenny Cafiso — that CJI’s supporters are our strength. During our Tell Ten campaign and our Canada tour with Fr. Tirkey, I could see clearly the impact that the generosity of CJI supporters in Canada has on the work and life of our Jesuit partners overseas, on their staff and local volunteers, and on the many people in the communities they serve.

So thank you for your companionship during this month of November and for reading this blog series. I hope you will continue to follow and support the work of our partners by subscribing to our news in this link!

This article first appeared on the igNation website on 29 November 2017. It is reproduced here by permission. Isabel Perez-Doherty is the Donor Relations Coordinator at Canadian Jesuits International.

Students listen to Fr Lalit Tirkey SJ at John's High School, Perth, Ontario. (Photo: CJI)

Students at John’s High School, Perth, Ontario, listen to Fr Lalit Tirkey’s talk on livelihood support and tea estate workers in India. (Photo: CJI)

Fr. Lalit Tirkey SJ (centre) at St. Paul's High School, Winnipeg, with Fr Len Altilia SJ, President (at left), and Rob Lewin, Principal. (Photo: CJI)

Fr. Lalit Tirkey SJ (centre) at St. Paul’s High School, Winnipeg, with Fr Len Altilia SJ, President (at left), and Mr Rob Lewin, Principal. (Photo: CJI)

(Banner graphic by CJI: Tell Ten ambassadors)