By Paul Dobbyn
NEPALESE man Prakash Khadka will soon be telling fishy stories to students in Catholic schools throughout Brisbane and Toowoomba.
He will be visiting the schools from February 14 as part of this year’s Project Compassion campaign, explaining how Caritas Australia is bringing prosperity to poor Nepalese villages through a fish-farming project.
A Catholic youth leader, Mr Khadka has Masters degrees in Sociology and Anthropology and a Bachelor of Laws.
He will speak at the Project Compassion launch Mass celebrated by Bishop Robert McGuckin at St Patrick’s Cathedral, Toowoomba, on February 15.
Mr Khadka will also attend the Brisbane launch of Project Compassion, with Archbishop Mark Coleridge celebrating Mass at St Stephen’s Cathedral on February 17 at 10am.
That night, Mr Khadka will be hosted by the social justice group of Grovely, Samford and Mitchelton at St William’s parish where he will speak of the successful Caritas fish-farming project.
Brisbane Caritas diocesan director Joe Foley said the Nepalese man would talk in particular about 34-year-old mother-of-three, Sarita, and the difference the Kolkatla Fish Raising Group had made in her life.
“Sarita attended school until the eighth grade, making her one of the most educated women in her village,” he said. “Yet her family still struggled to survive.
“Their small family farm simply couldn’t sustain them all.
“So when Caritas Nepal initiated the Kolkatla Fish Raising Group in Sarita’s community eight years ago, she was one of the first people to join.”
With the help of funding from Caritas Australia, Mr Foley said a low-interest loan, training and equipment had been provided to get the program off the ground.
“These days the group produces around 8000kg of fish each year, including common carp, silver carp and big head,” he said.
“There is high demand for fish in Sarita’s locality and also in nearby markets so they are able to sell at a good price.
“With a steady income from the fish-raising group, Sarita’s family has bought more land, invested in livestock and planted fruit trees along with their regular crops.”