Last year Father Dan O’Connor, a Columban missionary priest working in Pakistan, brought home to New Zealand a number of Nativity Banners created by women in the Parish of Badin in the Sindh Province. He reported that the women were skilled at handcrafts but had no outlet to sell their work. Their need for extra income increased greatly following the floods which devastated the region in September 2010.
People were keen to purchase the banners for a number of reasons. The nativity scenes are attractive, bright in color and hand stitched. They depict the age old story of Jesus being born in the manger. Further, the sale of each banner helped poor women earn a little income to support their families. For the first time in their lives they had a little cash in the hand to meet immediate needs.
Father Dan recently wrote that, “The practical help…is deeply appreciated. Tens of thousands [of people] were displaced in the flood disaster, vast areas of crops were lost, houses were destroyed and animals died. We are still taking food rations and clothes to people in need in the parish area. The distribution of the nativity banners is a worthwhile mission effort bringing a touch of hope in the midst of hardship.”