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Supporters stand in "solidari-tea" with Zimbabwean families

Published on 9 August 2022

This Christian Aid Week, supporters across Ireland celebrated the success of communities in Zimbabwe overcoming drought, hunger and extreme poverty, through projects that help them earn a living, such as the growing and harvesting of hibiscus – a plant that can be used to make herbal tea.

Rev David and Mrs Heather Godfrey, who have been supporting our work since the 1960s, raised a cup of tea to say ‘cheers’ to women farmers like Agnes Machona, who comes from a drought-prone region of Zimbabwe and is now able to earn a living to support herself and her children. Rev David is a former Dean of Kilmore Cathedral in County Cavan. The couple have lived in Lucan, County Dublin since his retirement in 2004.   

Christian Aid’s local partner in Zimbabwe has helped Agnes (pictured above) to switch to hibiscus tea production because the plant tolerates drought, as well as helping her find commercial buyers for her crop.

Rev David and Heather stood in ‘solidari-tea’ with Agnes to highlight our work in eastern Zimbabwe, where we have helped 27,000 people cope with poor rainfall made worse by rising temperatures caused by climate change.

Rev David Godfrey (right) and his wife Heather pictured at Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin with Lord Bishop Sentamu

camera icon Rev David Godfrey (right) and his wife Heather pictured at Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin with...Mark Stedman

Agnes Machona (37) and her husband have three children. To support the family, her husband works in the construction industry in Botswana while Agnes stays at home to work their farm and raise their children. Before Agnes made the switch to hibiscus tea production, severe drought had caused her crops to fail and she recalls a time when there was so little food that she had to cut back to just one meal a day, even though she was breastfeeding. She was losing weight and couldn’t produce enough milk to feed her baby.

Agnes is not solely reliant on the income she earns by selling her hibiscus tea. Christian Aid’s local partner has also installed a solar-powered water pump to irrigate a community garden, enabling Agnes and the other women in her community to grow vegetables for consumption and surplus to sell for cash.

Belfast Lord Mayor and Christian Aid Week supporterse

camera icon In Northern Ireland, Belfast Lord Mayor Cllr Michael Long launched Christian Aid Week by saying ‘...Press eye

In Northern Ireland, Belfast Lord Mayor Cllr Michael Long launched Christian Aid Week by saying ‘cheers’ to Agnes Machona. Joining him was, L-R, Hazel Mercer of Cairnshill Methodist Church; Jennifer Cairnduff of St John’s (Newtownbreda) Presbyterian Church; Rosamond Bennett, Chief Executive of Christian Aid Ireland; and Billy McAlpine of St Donard’s Church of Ireland.

You can read more stories like these on our Facebook page.

If you have been fundraising to support our work, please send your pictures and a few lines of explanatory text to Lisa Fagan, Christian Aid Ireland Communications Officer.

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