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Laois and Offaly links in Zambia explored as local Minister makes trip to African country

A recent Ministerial visit to Zambia has highlighted the great work being done by people with Laois and Offaly links.

Minister for International Development, Sean Fleming, recently visited the African country.

On his travels, he encountered Sr Kathleen Crawford, who is from Mountrath.

Sr Kathleen has been in Zambia for the last 40 years and currently runs Cheshire Home.

Deputy Fleming said: “I was delighted to recently visit Zambia, as part of my work as Minister for International Development.

“During my visit there, I visited community projects that were made possible thanks to funding and support from the Department of Foreign Affairs, through Irish Aid.

“The focus of these projects were on health and education, to develop sustainable communities.

“I was delighted to meet with a range of people from the strong Irish community in Zambia. I also made some Laois and Offaly connections during my visit.

“I enjoyed a good conversation with Sr Kathleen Crawford, who is from Mountrath in Laois.

“The Cheshire Homes Society of Zambia are centres for the rehabilitation of children with disabilities and is a non-profit organisation.

“The Embassy of Ireland in Zambia continues to support Sr Kathleen’s work there.

Sr. Kathleen Crawford from Mountrath with Minister Sean Fleming T.D. in Zambia

Also, during the visit, Mr Fleming performed the official dedication to Fr Michael Kelly SJ, of a refurbished lecture theatre at the University of Zambia, and unveiled a plaque in memory of his work there.

Deputy Fleming said: “Fr Kelly, a native of Tullamore, Co. Offaly, had made his home in Zambia and was a globally renowned teacher, educator and champion of girls’ education. He also carried out leading work in  raising awareness of HIV/AIDS.

“I met with the Zambian Minister of Education, Douglas Syakalima, at the celebration of Fr. Kelly’s work. We spoke about the importance that the Government of Ireland and the Irish people place on a high quality education at home, in Zambia and in other countries.”

Minister Sean Fleming with the Zambian Minister for Education and Members of the Jesuit Order
Minister Sean Fleming with the Zambian Minister for Education and Representatives of the University of Zambia

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