Longford/Westmeath TD Robert Troy, who is Fianna Fail spokesperson on Children has had a busy 2014.
Earlier this year he travelled to Ethiopia to do voluntary work at an orphanage and to visit a number of projects being funded by Irish charities.
While the trip was facilitated by Plan International, Deputy Troy paid his own travel costs.
The local Fianna Fáil TD also visited a number of locations throughout Ethiopia and was provided with a number of opportunities to observe the amazing work being carried out by the Franciscan order and the Maids of the Poor Nuns.
“The entire trip was very humbling. It was an amazing and wonderful experience. These people are living in extreme poverty yet they seem so content and happy. The comparison with modern Irish society is startling,” the local TD said.
Among the locations he visited were Tambaro, a compound comprising of a clinic, kindergarten and orphanage and also the site of a proposed new clinic, for which he hopes to raise funds in early 2015.
He also taught at a school in Tazaar and visited a number of clinics in the area that are being run by the two religious orders.
“The children were fantastic,” he added. “You would ask them how they were, and even though you knew their background was desperately poor, they’d smile and reply every time ‘I’m fine thank you and how are you?’; it was very, very humbling.”
While in Ethiopia Deputy Troy arranged a meeting between the Irish Ambassador and the project leader for the new clinic in Tambaro as Ethiopia is one of the approved countries to receive Irish Government aid.
The Ambassador was able to advise on which channels the clinic can apply for funds. The meeting was a major boost for the project.
“After seeing at first hand the situation there, especially for children, I am determined to help in any way I can.
“Raising funds for the proposed clinic is going to be a personal project for me in 2015. The work being done by the aid agencies and religious orders in Ethiopia is simply phenomenal and needs to be supported in any way at every level,” Deputy Troy concluded.