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Kirsty Robertson addresses the Assembly of Catholic Professionals in Brisbane (The Catholic Leader)

After driving down a dry riverbed, 18 kilometres from the nearest road, Caritas Australia chief Kirsty Robertson arrived at the Ethiopian village where the charity worked and met a woman named Mali. Source: The Catholic Leader.

“She encouraged me, even pleaded with me, to tell her story and to let the world know what was happening in her community,” Ms Robertson told the Assembly of Catholic Professionals in Brisbane last week.

Mali, a mother of eight, invited Ms Robertson to her home, which was a four-by-four metre hut for the family and their single goat.

“The goat kept nudging me, and in a way, that goat tells a little bit of a story,” she said. “For pastoralists, it’s normal to have 30 or 40 goats, but Mali only had one.”

It was her last goat and the fifth consecutive period of drought for her community. One by one, she had to kill off the goats to feed the family.

“Her husband had married another woman in the community, so she was alone with her children,” Ms Robertson said.

The drought also meant she was increasingly walking further from her community to find water pumps.

“I didn’t get to see it, and I wish I had, but a few weeks after this, the Caritas confederation sent in water trucks and protein powder and seeds to this community,” Ms Robertson said.

“I would like to have been there for her to know that, you know, the stories that she told me, what she shared with me, actually did make a difference and somebody came, and somebody heard her cries.”

Ms Robertson said she had heard similar stories from many women in desperate situations around the world.


 Poverty has a woman’s face, Caritas chief tells Catholic professionals (By Joe Higgins, The Catholic Leader)