This year’s Lenten Trocaire Box features three young girls from different parts of the world where Trocaire is working with local communities. Over coming weeks we will share something of their stories.

María is nine years old and lives with her family in Guatemala in Central America. A number of years ago a powerful outside interest group were granted permission to evict Maria’s entire village so that it could be developed as a bio-fuel plantation.  The villagers resisted peacefully but were violently driven off their lands by riot police.  Brutalised and filled with fear, local families watched on in horror as their homes and belongings were burned to the ground. Three years later the plantation was abandoned.  Seventy two villagers returned.  However as Mayan Q’eqchi – the indigenous people that have lived in Eastern Guatemala for generations – they face constant threats. Their lands are still seen as being ‘there for the taking.’ Still, they plant. They stay. They pray. ‘The land is our life’ says Adela, Maria’s mother. ‘It is for our children.’ Maria’s father José agrees.  He has endured terrible depression since the first eviction and his family lives in constant fear that the violent land seizures and the bloodshed will return.

Trocaire is working with vulnerable communities like Maria’s in land resettlement programmes and in helping them to attain land titles that will protect their rights into the future. As little as €65 can help Trocaire and their partners defend vulnerable families like Maria’s against land thefts and secure legal title to their lands.  Trocaire Lenten Campaign Boxes are available in all our Churches.  Please take one and use it to help Trocaire protect vulnerable communities like Maria’s from exploitation.                                                                                 Fr Seán