Thursday, 14 July 2016 00:00

#ThrowbackThursday: A Little Bit of Present in the Past

Even in our early days of post-conflict aid, Canadians helped us fund agriculture training for youth.

Old, grainy image of three boys working amoung crops at Agricultural Training School for orphaned boys

Back in the 1940s and 50s, USC Canada's diverse projects, beginning in Europe and spreading around the world, sometimes looked at bit more like what we do today with family farmers. This is a photo of an agricultural training program for boys in post-war Italy.

USC Canada began working in Italy in 1949 – legend has it, at the request of one Maestro Arturo Toscanini, a famous Italian conductor then based in New York* – where, foreshadowing the work we would begin half a century later, we funded three agricultural training schools. Located outside Rome and Peruggia, these schools were for boys whose parents had been killed during World War II.

When our founder, Lotta Hitschmanova, called upon Canadians to support these schools, people from coast-to-coast banded together to send the kids food and clothing in addition to the funding needed to keep the schools open.

Lotta started USC Canada in 1945, herself a refugee from Czechoslovakia with the urge to help rebuild the land she'd had to flee. Canadians, in a massive wave of generosity and solidarity, joined her and raised funds, made layettes, sent food and donated clothes. But even in those early days, Lotta knew that while food and clothing were essential for life, training, education and hope for the future were crucial to live. That's why, if you take a peek back at our history, you'll see many schools and trainings like these ones in Italy.

We've come a long way from our post-conflict, post-disaster aid roots. But training, education and hope for the future are still embedded in our work. Training is an integral part of our Seeds of Survival program. In Bangladesh alone, we provide training for 10,000 young women in growing food, selling it and saving seed. In the communities where we work, these young women are earning respect from their families and communities for their farming skills, and their ability to contribute to family incomes as they sell surpluses to local markets.

Your support can keep this training going. Donate today.

*The truth of that, like any good legend, is lost to time.

Read 1855 times Last modified on Thursday, 14 July 2016 19:04

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LottaHitschmanova tbnWhat's in a Name?

We’re called USC Canada because we started out way back in 1945 as the Unitarian Service Committee, founded by the energetic Dr. Lotta Hitschmanova. We’re still planting the seeds that Lotta sowed. Find out more about our founder, Dr. Lotta Hitschmanova.

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