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Encounter Lent 2019-Week #5

Photo by Mohamed Reefi for Catholic Relief Services

Despite earning a teaching degree, Ona struggled to find work in Gaza. She was not able to apply to jobs elsewhere because she is not allowed to leave Gaza. Through a CRS program, Ona found a paid internship as a teacher which gave her confidence and inspiration to branch out on her own. Ona saved her last two paychecks from the internship and used them to open a tutoring center where she now helps students of all ages in math and other subjects. After one month in business, Ona has 41 children coming to her center. With the money she’s earned, Ona was able to replace her home’s tarp with windows to keep out the wind and rain. Catholic Relief Services matches people like Ona, who are living in Gaza and looking for work, with businesses looking for employees or interns.

Dignity of Work and the Rights of Workers

Catholic social teaching inspires and guides how we are to live and work in the world. In this principle, Dignity of Work and Rights of Workers, we remember that, Jesus spent years working as a carpenter. Work is important to help people fulfill their potential. And everyone must receive a fair wage to provide for themselves and their families.

Story of Hope #5: Encounter Ona

Share the journey: Access to dignified work at a living wage allows people to remain with their families and strengthen their communities.

Ona always knew she wanted to be a “shining woman” in her community—and an example to her two young daughters. She studied hard and eventually earned her teaching degree from a university. But in Gaza, jobs are hard to find. Even though Ona had been a good student, she could not find work as a teacher.

“The financial situation was so difficult,” Ona says. “I started to feel hopeless.”

That’s why CRS matches workers with job opportunities. Through CRS, Ona applied for an internship as a teacher and was hired to teach math.

Ona knew she wanted to take full advantage of the opportunity. “I took time to ask questions and learn. I tried to better myself—and become a better teacher.”

Through her internship, Ona gained the confidence and inspiration to branch out on her own. She saved enough money to open a tutoring center. She now helps students of all ages with their math skills, as well as with other subjects. After one month in business, 41 children had visited her center.

“When people encourage you, you start to think in a more creative way,” Ona says.

As she thinks about the future, she thinks of her children. “I hope I can be an example to my daughters. I hope that my daughters can achieve their dreams.”

For more information on ways to share the Lenten journey with our human family around the world, please visit the Diocese of Honolulu’s CRS page and the CRS website on How to Practice Lent.

Lenten Recipes: Meatless meals from around the world



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