COP27: Children in Malawi demand a better future


Source: Jesuit Missions

COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt is already underway, and Jesuit Missions – the Jesuit International Mission and Development Office in Britain – is committed to amplifying the voices of those suffering from change climate, especially those who live on the same continent as the conference.

For the past few years, we have supported communities in Malawi affected by Cyclone Idai. In partnership with local communities, we try to minimize the devastating effects of climate change all over the world, especially in the countries of the South. Natural phenomena have been brutal not only in Malawi, but also in Mozambique and Zimbabwe, one of the countries that our program officer, Lucy Gillingham, visited this year.

Today, Jesuit Missions presents the powerful stories of children from Kasungu LEA Primary School in Malawi. These testimonies, shared by the Jesuit Center for Ecology and Development, perfectly reflect the certainty that time is not counted, but that it is already counted for millions of people in the countries of the South. This is what the children in the attached letter are saying to the world: “We are hopeless, the children in Africa are hopeless, and we need a better future.”

Moreover, they describe how their whole life has been turned upside down by climate change and the inaction taken to combat it. “Floods and cyclones continue to escalate and thus prevent us from accessing good education and quality health care, among other basic services and rights. “Our schools are destroyed, our classrooms, our teaching and learning materials are taken away. We have no choice but to stop going to school.”

Jesuit Missions Director Paul Chitnis reiterates his call to world leaders to right a historic injustice and fully supports the message of our Malawian partners advocating for climate justice and ambitious action to address the climate crisis. “It has become evident from our own work in Southern Africa that climate change is currently affecting people’s livelihoods. The ongoing COP27 is key to honoring the legacy of COP26 and providing significant financial support in cases of loss and damage,” Mr. Chitnis said.

As the children of Malawi expressed so movingly: “Climate change is real. Our generation feels it, and we indeed live it. In Malawi, we experience floods, droughts, storms, cyclones, pests and diseases every year. .”

A year has already passed since COP26, and world leaders are meeting again to discuss the next steps in the fight against climate change. We’re running out of time, as our partners told us, but we can’t let ourselves be paralyzed. In 2021, many supporters of Jesuit missions demonstrated in the streets of Glasgow. Despite the remoteness of this year’s COP, it is still possible to stand in solidarity with those already most affected by its outcome. In order to show our solidarity with these voices from Africa, we have launched an initiative. A “Walk, Pray, Change” campaign encourages people to walk a mile and pray for change.

Jesuit Missions is the international mission and development office of the Jesuits in Britain.


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