Caritas welcomes two representatives from its overseas partners for Lent 2008: Sister Maryanne Kolkia from Mercy Works, Papua New Guinea, and Manindra Malla, Head of Programmes of Caritas Nepal.
Sister Maryanne is the co-leader of Mercy Works in Goroka, in the Eastern Highlands province of Papua New Guinea. Joining the Sisters of Mercy in 1995, she taught in primary schools, and has a special interest in working with poor communities in her home country.
Mercy Works in PNG was established by the Sisters of Mercy in 2006 and is run by four PNG and one Australian sister. The project focuses on teaching skills, awareness-raising and human rights training for youth, their families and communities from the informal settlement areas of Goroka. A drop-in and referral centre is a key part of the programme, and the sisters also work successfully with inmates at Bihute Women’s Prison.
Manindra Malla has headed Caritas Nepal’s programmes desk for nine years, and has been a key player in other aspects of development in the South Asia region. He visits, monitors and evaluates projects funded by Caritas Nepal within the country, and has developed community programmes to address poverty, gender injustice and social exclusion. Through the last 10 years of civil war in Nepal, Manindra has become experienced in peace-building and conflict resolution.
Manindra is a passionate advocate for sustainable agriculture and farmers’ rights. With a masters degree in environmental science, his expertise is in setting up agriculture programmes to help meet the food needs of subsistence farming households. He says farmers should reject pesticides and patented seeds that do not regenerate, and use ecologically friendly traditional techniques and varieties.