A Story of Hope from Kenya
Rights and Responsibilities
Catholic social teaching inspires and guides how we are to live and work in the world. In this principle, Rights and Responsibilities, we remember that every person has basic rights that make life truly human. Corresponding to our rights, we all have duties and responsibilities to one another, our families and the larger society.
To continue farming in the face of climate change, a community in Kenya learns how to use a solar powered well.
The CRS program has changed my life. Through that I will change my community. – Rebecca Etelej
Turkana, Kenya is very hot and dry. Temperatures reach the mid-90s year-round. Most people in this area raise livestock such as goats and camels, and a few are farmers. But the climate makes this work difficult—and climate change is making it even harder.
Rebecca and her husband, Lotiang, have farmed and raised goats for years. They rely on rain and river water to irrigate their crops and feed their animals. But it is raining less and less in Turkana, and—when it does rain—it can be unpredictable and intense, leading to floods that wash away the seeds.
“We struggled to water our farms,” Rebecca says.
Rebecca and Lotiang have worked hard so their family can thrive. Their determination—and hope for their children’s futures—helped them overcome the challenges they faced.
They participated in a Catholic Relief Services program that installed a water well in their village and trained them in new farming techniques. With the well and solar-powered pump, they can irrigate their fields regularly and take care of their goats. Their children love to help with the goats!
Lotiang learned to grow kale, which provides nutrition for his family and can be sold for a high price at the market. Rebecca is grateful that her children can eat healthy food every day. She is also happy that she can send them to school using money from the produce Lotiang sells at the market.
Rebecca and Lotiang have become leaders in their community and teach others what they learned so that everyone can benefit.
“I learned much in CRS’ program,” Rebecca says. “It is a program that has changed my life. I am trying to show my community what I am able to do so that they can emulate it for a better future. Through that I will change my community.”
Every person has basic rights like food and water, and we have a responsibility to ensure everyone can access these rights.
What is one thing you can do today to help another person live according to their God-given human dignity?