COVID-19: Maintaining the legacy of Mary MacKillop - Mary MacKillop Today

COVID-19: Maintaining the legacy of Mary MacKillop

Dear Supporter,

As the new CEO of Mary MacKillop Today, I’ve been overwhelmed by the support and best wishes I’ve received from our supporters. I have long admired what an amazing organisation Mary MacKillop Today is, in standing with poor and marginalised communities, and I now know, firsthand, how dedicated the staff are in serving our vital mission in emulating and carrying on the legacy and spirit of Mary MacKillop. It is an honour to be part of this mission.

I want to acknowledge that we all find ourselves in an unparalleled, fearful and rapidly developing situation. I know you are concerned about your loved one’s well-being and I hope you are able to meet the challenges ahead and remain healthy and safe.

And in these complex, difficult times, I want to reassure you, and all our valued supporters, that we here at Mary MacKillop Today continue to stand in solidarity with the most neglected and the most vulnerable in our communities, who will be hardest hit. I’d like to share with you what we are doing in response to COVID-19 to continue to serve those most in need; to maintain our efforts to fully realise Mary MacKillop’s vision that “So great is the strength we possess in our unity.”

Mary MacKillop Today is aware that the COVID-19 outbreak could have significant impacts on the families and communities of the First Nations scholarship students who we support, many of whom live in remote areas. Tertiary institutions across Australia are implementing various precautionary measures, including switching teaching modes to online, which will have varying degrees of impact on our students. MMT is continuing to provide vital financial support to Scholarship Recipients during this difficult time, and work with individual students to manage any possible impacts the current situation could have on their ability to complete their study.

Our Community Grant recipients as far as possible are continuing their wonderful work supporting vulnerable members of our community at this time and our Equine Assisted Learning Program in Broome is continuing with heightened risk management processes in place to ensure the safety and wellbeing of participants. Our Financial Inclusion Program throughout Central-West NSW, is more important than ever as we recognise that the current situation could lead to even greater financial exclusion among our clients. MMT is working with the Good Shepherd Microfinance Network to explore more options for processing loans applications and holding financial conversations with clients over the phone and online, so we can continue to serve the most vulnerable at their greatest time of need.

Mary MacKillop Today in Timor-Leste is a key partner in the national public health campaign on COVID-19, engaged in a Working Group with the Ministry of Health (MoH), Ministry of Education (MoE) and the World Health Organisation (WHO). MMT is incorporating basic health and hygiene education into all teacher training workshops that we deliver in the community. In addition, MMT has been allocated to be a key focal point for the COVID-19 socialisation program in Manufahe Municipality, recognising our important role in delivering health education in this community over the past 3 years. At the request of the MoH, MMT has been delivering health kits including liquid hand soap, brooms, and toilet sanitation products to schools, as well as running socialization programs on COVID-19 to teachers and students.

Please note that we are working alongside our local staff and partners to ensure we are acting in-line with the advice of the Australian Government, National Governments in our countries of operation and the World Health Organisation. Our priority is the safety and well-being of our staff, partners and the vulnerable communities we work alongside, and are therefore undertaking regular risk assessments of all of our projects and adapting or postponing activities if required.

We are, as always, committed to our mission. Now is a time to ensure we reach out to each other, to be kind, to be patient and to do what we can for those who will be hit hardest and ask ourselves the question, how might I make a difference… in even one person’s life? I am heartened by the acts of kindness and the way so many are stepping up in such wonderful ways, taking to heart the words of our Saint Mary MacKillop:

“Never See a need without doing something about it.”

This is what we will continue to do here at Mary MacKillop Today and hope you stand with us and all our brothers and sisters in helping us carry on our vital ministry.

With hope and gratitude

Jane Woolford
CEO, Mary MacKillop Today