Olivina Tu’iono is a member of the Commission for Justice and Development in the Diocese of Tonga.
Olivina is in Australia for the launch of Project Compassion on Ash Wednesday to thank the diocese for their love and generosity during the season of Lent and to share with them stories of how their contributing to Project Compassion has helped the people of Tonga.
Olivina has been a member of the Commission for Justice and Development in the Diocese of Tonga since 1985 and during this time she has seen the many benefits of Caritas Project Compassion.
One time of great significance she recalls was when a cyclone hit Tonga, destroying many plantations, and Caritas Australia donated corn and potato seeds to the Commission so that plantations could be grown again.
What amazed Olivina was the sense of community it fostered. The seeds were distributed to all the parishes and by working together as a community the people of Tonga had a very good harvest that was shared with all the families in need.
Caritas has also offered to build 30 houses to replace those destroyed by the cyclone. By donating houses, families are able to stay together and the people of Tonga remain a community.
To Olivina, Project Compassion means collecting the love of people wanting to share, with Caritas Australia being the agency that makes sure this love and care reaches the people who really need it.
In her speech during the 10am Ash Wednesday service, Olivina simply wants to thank the diocese. The main point she wants to make is to thank people for every opportunity and every chance that the women, children and families receive in Tonga and the South Pacific.
She explains, “I am here as an original witness of the receiving of Caritas Australia’s love and care. I bring the gratefulness of the people in my diocese in the South Pacific.”
Project Compassion, the major fundraising campaign for Caritas Australia, is held each year during the six weeks of Lent, a time of reflection, fasting and ‘alms’ giving before Easter.
Sr Carmel Bennett, Caritas Australia’s Diocesan Director for Brisbane, says that,
“Project Compassion provides opportunities for all Australians to support development projects in virtually every developing country in the world, helping poor communities to overcome poverty, illiteracy and poor health”.
Donations to Project Compassion can be made by calling Caritas Australia on 1800 024 413, visiting www.caritas.org.au or via post Caritas Australia, GPO Box 9830, in your capital city.
Story by Claire Dwyer
Released by the Catholic Communications Office