From the hills of Lima Peru to the hills of Glenade, Leitrim, the common factor in this community support is Fr. Ed O'Connell a Columban missionary who has spent most of his working life in Peru.
Fr. Ed who studied at Maynooth seminary, as well as being involved in parish work in Lima and surrounding areas, is also involved with the communities who have moved from the highlands to seek a better life on the outskirts of Lima city. Living conditions in these areas are often very basic with few facilities.
The work that Fr. Ed and his colleagues do in these areas is hugely supportive and important to the people there and they set up the Warmi Huasi project - meaning Mothers House in Quechuan language.
The main projects are health and nutrition education as many children are malnourished, after school and homework clubs where children can be safe after school hours as often Mums are out working.
The latest project is empowering children to speak up for their rights and represent themselves. Speaking recently to the organisers of the fundraising walk, Fr Ed said "We are now into our seventh year and our outreach covers the district of Carabayllo, on the northern side of Lima, and the Province of Paucar de Sara Sara in the towns of Pausa and Lampa in Ayacucho in the southern Andes.
“The children can now represent themselves, having formed their own Committees, which we have helped be recognized legally by their respective municipalities, and last year presented projects to create or improve their local parks. This year three of the 5 Committees triumphed in the participatory budget process and have gained funding for their projects".
Fr. Ed also expressed his gratitude to the people of Leitrim and surrounding areas that have supported the project for 10 years.
The organisers of the walks, Leitrim Landscapes Guided Walks and the Holey Soles Hill Walking Club have outlined the options on the day, Sunday, November 4 on Arroo mountain Glenade.
There will be a two hour ramble on the Arroo Trail Head walk or a 4-5 hour hill walk on Arroo mountain, taking in Iascin lake and the cliffs.
Meet at Aghanlish Community Centre at 10.30 for registration for 11am departure. There will be complimentary refreshments after the walk. participants should wear waterproof clothing and appropriate footwear. As the walk is over farmland, dogs are not allowed. Donations are welcome on the day to the Warmi Huasi project and 100% of funds raised go directly to the charity.