Category Archives: Brazil

Harvest of Talents fundraising – week 3

HoT week 3 The CAFOD team at Cardinal Allen, Fleetwood, have been set a special fundraising challenge – they are using their talents and investing £10 each into their own entrepreneurial ideas to raise money for CAFOD. The team tells us what they have been up to in week 3.

The students of Cardinal Allen School are embarking on their final week of the Harvest of Talents project. It’s a final race to the finish to raise as much money as they possibly can, so it’s all hands on deck to complete our projects.

3 of our Y10 girls have spent the whole week washing teachers’ cars for the exceptionally reasonable price of £2.50 per car. They have provided a very professional service, investing their £10 in all the right equipment- sponges, cloths, sprays and buckets, and the teachers have noticed and appreciated this. Their strict 2 cars per lunch time policy has served them well; as well as ensuring they have enough time to do a proper job on each car, the girls have kept a steady flow of business. Their books were full week last week, and they are also fully booked right up until hand- in day this Friday. Well done, girls!

Find out how other schools have been fundraising this Harvest Fast Day on our stories page >>>

Owen, one of our Y9 students, decided to go it alone and embark on his own project. He turned the school Chapel into a cinema over the lunch times of last week, and decided to show Toy Story 3 to a captive audience (the bad weather on Tuesday worked to his favour, and he cashed in on our wet lunch time!). Charging for entry, and running a tuck shop at the back of the Chapel for those essential movie snacks, Owen has managed to make nearly £20 profit, as well as recouping the £10 he spent on sweets. Well done, Owen!

It’s not too late to get involved and fundraise yourself this Harvest! Find our resources to help you >>>

We also have a “guess the sweets in the jar” competition hotting up, and are looking forward to a cake and chocolate sale to round the whole experience off. Here’s hoping we’ll all be celebrating on Friday lunch time when the groups come to hand in their takings and share their experiences of the project.

Who rose to the Harvest of Talents challenge? We only have a few days to wait and see!

Get the full story! Catch up on the team’s previous blogs: Week 1 Week 2

Look out for the Cardinal Allen CAFOD team ‘s final post, including how much money they raised for CAFOD next week.

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My Rio World Youth Day journey

 Marianne Rozario in MDFAbout the Author: Marianne is in her final year at St Andrews University, studying International Relations. Last summer she traveled with other young Catholics from around the UK to visit Brazil and saw first-hand some of CAFOD’s work. 

For three weeks in July, I was in Brazil alongside eight other young Catholics from around the UK. We spend the first couple of weeks in São Paulo, seeing the work CAFOD’s partner organisations Apoio and MDF do. Our final week was spent going to an event called World Youth Day (WYD) in Rio de Janeiro.

Marianne Rozario favela skyline

Apoio helps turn abandoned buildings into social housing and helps to legally fight for the rights of those buildings. These ‘occupations’, as they are known, possess an incredible sense of community by all who live there; an environment whereby everyone helps each other and all pull their weight to maintain the upkeep of the building. What struck me, as well as the sense of community, was the genuine gratitude by all who lived there for the work of Apoio, for they would be left to live on the streets or in favelas (shanty towns) without them.

MDF is a movement that fights for the defense of those that live in favelas. We spent time with the youth group that MDF supports. In doing so, I got to see the reality of Brazil from young Brazilians themselves. What surprised me most was that a lot of these young people and those that we met through Apoio were forced to give up on an education in order to find paid work. I realised very early on that young people in Brazil had to mature so quickly – I felt that more often than not they were robbed of a childhood. The particular group that we met were so lively, welcoming and open – I feel so blessed to have been able to build up such good friendships with such amazing people. I shall never forget their enthusiasm, musical and dancing abilities! This group journeyed with us to WYD in Rio and by the end we became one group – it honestly wouldn’t have been the same without them!

Marianne Rozario two groups together

WYD itself was an extraordinary, insane and amazing experience! Over 3.5 million, yes million, young Catholics from around the entire world essentially took over the city of Rio de Janeiro standing united and proudly professing the love we have for our faith. It is a remarkable achievement by any standard! The weeklong activity consisted of catechism sessions, Mass, Stations of the Cross, Confession, concerts, etc. It is an event whereby stopping and having a conversation with the stranger next to you was completely normal – for they too were a young Catholic who had travelled to Brazil to experience this event. The pinnacle of WYD was all of us sleeping under the stars on Copacabana Beach and then awaking for Mass with Pope Francis the following morning. A smile can always be seen on my face simply thinking about my time at WYD. For all you young Catholics that have never been before, I can’t encourage you enough, go to WYD, you will gain so much.

I hope you enjoyed reading this blog. If you would like to see more about my experience with CAFOD’s partner organisation in Sao Paulo and my experience at World Youth Day, here is the video blog I made:


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Harvest of Talents fundraising – week 2

HoT_week2The CAFOD team at Cardinal Allen have been set a special fundraising challenge – they are using their talents and investing £10 each into their own entrepreneurial ideas to raise money for CAFOD. The team tells us what they have been up to in week 2.

It has been a week of ups and downs for our Harvest of Talents teams this week. After the success of our early events, some teams have been picking up momentum and starting new projects. For others, the task of putting into practice their big dreams has proved to be too much. Unfortunately, the staff vs students football match and the talent show have had the breaks put on them this week. So two of our teams have gone back to the drawing board and are dreaming up new projects for the final two weeks of the scheme. We can look forward to film showings and chocolate sales over the next two weeks!

Looking for inspiration for a fundraiser? Our A-Z page ifs full of good ideas >>>

Our bag packers have had their dates cancelled by the supermarket they were working with. But instead of letting this dampen their spirits, they have come up with a new plan in school. Over the next week, they will be washing their teachers’ cars over lunch time for the more than reasonable price of £2.50 per car. The sign up sheet for the week is full, and minus the cost of the buckets and sponges, the future is looking bright for our Y10 girls!

Find out what others have been doing for Harvest Fast Day on our stories page >>>

HoT_week2Our cake and candy floss crew have decided to show off their art skills, and have been hard at work making personalised bookmarks which will be laminated and sold to their peers next week. The Chaplaincy room has been a hive of artistic activity, and a good few bookmarks are ready to be sold off to willing customers.

And Jess from Y10 decided to help Miss Smith organise a staff poverty lunch for the CAFOD fast day. She helped Miss Smith set up a simple lunch of bread, cheese, fruit and crisps and looked after all the teachers who came for lunch. She and her friends are looking to reinvest the profits in sponges for a “soak the teacher” competition next week.

Jess B, Chloe and Lewis decided to do bucket collections to mark Harvest Fast Day. Following a successful collection, they have decided to put collection boxes in every classroom in their year group and organise a competition to see which Form Group can raise the most money over the next few weeks. The winners get a box of chocolates- well worth putting your unwanted coppers in the box!

It’s not too late to get involved and fundraise  for Harvest! Find our resources to help you >>>

So after some minor setbacks, our teams are working at full pelt, and with the new leaderboard displaying how much each team has raised, the competition to make the most of our talents is hotting up!

Look out for more posts by the Cardinal Allen CAFOD team who will be reporting on their activities for the next few weeks.

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Harvest of Talents fundraising- week 1

The CAFOD team at Cardinal Allen have been set a special fundraising challenge – they are using their talents and investing £10 each into their own entrepreneurial ideas to raise money for CAFOD. In the week leading up to Harvest Fast Day, the team tells us more…Cardinal-Allen-Hot-1-(4)

After an incredibly inspiring workshop from Joana from head office, our CAFOD team were hugely excited about embarking on their challenge. They set to planning with so much enthusiasm that Miss Smith and Mr Teasdale had a hard job keeping up with them!

All the participants have decided to pool their resources to work on group projects. They have each come up with their own unique ideas to market their skills and talents. Our artists are drawing personalised bookmarks. Our sportsmen are holding a staff vs students football match. Our sociable students are bag packing at the local supermarkets. Our fashionistas are customising phone cases and jewellery. And our Y11 girls are putting on a show- asking the wider school to demonstrate their talents in music, drama, dance and juggling (!) to help those most in need.

Want to set up your own fundraiser for Harvest? Join our Big Share this Fast Day >>>

HoT-candy-flossLast Friday, our activities were launched with a bake sale and candy floss stall in the school hall. Our students worked really hard to cook many delicious treats, and had a lot of fun making up bags of candy floss, which proved to be very popular indeed!

Interested in cooking up some global recipes to raise money? Check out our recipe Big Share videos>>>

Our students turned an excellent profit, and are looking at how they can reinvest their money to generate even more funds over the next 3 weeks. We are very excited to see what is still to come!

The Cardinal Allen CAFOD team will be reporting on their success for the next 5 weeks.

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Jo Joyner’s visit to São Paulo, Part 3

Jo Joyner in Sao Paolo with CAFOD

Jo Joyner in Sao Paolo with CAFOD

It’s another early start today knowing that the morning drive to the other side of the city in the usual heavy traffic will take as long as…. a piece of string!

About the author: Award-winning actress Jo Joyner is backing CAFOD’s calls for people in Britain to stand by families in the poorest communities of Brazil. Jo, whose work includes No Angels, Dr Who and most notably her role as Tanya in Eastenders, has spent the last week visiting community projects supported by CAFOD in Brazil’s largest city, São Paulo, and films of her visit will be featured throughout the week on ITV’s Daybreak programme.

Today is Brazil’s National Day of Urban Reform: a recognised day for the people to protest in organised marches across the city about whatever they wish. Many of the community representatives from the occupations and favelas that we have met so far will be here today coordinating their housing movements. There are three main housing movements in the city and we first join FLM in all their red flagged glory as they gather at a designated area.

Housing rights demonstration in Sao Paulo

Housing rights demonstration in Sao Paulo

There is a mobile speakers’ tower that has been wheeled here up the main road with thousands of people marching behind. At last the men who have been seemingly missing from my trip are here, in their thousands, protesting for a better future for themselves and their families. Most of the women here have children with them.

We presume that the majority of men are self employed so have been able to come today and the women that are here are the mothers of the young. Most others would have to be working today despite their desire to join in. The majority in this sea of people are from the favelas and occupations around the city and the rest are sympathisers and those that are working with the housing community.

Please sign our letter to the Brazilian President and the São Paulo authorities>>

Speaker after speaker takes to the tower: mothers, community leaders, people from the housing networks and MPs rallying the troops. Some of the banners read: ‘We don’t want to occupy; we want to live’ , ‘Not every fighter will conquer but every conqueror has fought’, ‘Every Brazilian has the right to decent housing, education and health’, ‘Give us our FIFA standard hospitals, our FIFA standard education and our FIFA standard homes’ and simply ‘New home, new life’.

It is exhilarating and exciting to be amongst such spirit and passion. Similar to any demonstration I have taken part in at home, there is a thrilling buzz of possibility about it.

The other two housing movements march up the highway in their colours of yellow and blue and the three join together to march into the city with music, drums, dancing, whistles and plenty of spirit. They chant: ‘If you are fighting, then you are alive!’ They think that around 10,000 people were on the march today.

Following the demonstration, we are off to meet with a women’s co-operative. Every occupation or favela we have seen so far has a hard core of women quietly working for a better future and to support each other. A sisterhood of extended family is evident within these communities in a way that is sorely missing from more privileged areas.

Please sign our letter to the Brazilian President and the São Paulo authorities>>

Like the ladies in Eletropaulo who formed a recycling co-operative, the three generations of ladies I meet in the Favela Divinea have formed a women’s catering co-operative. They cook for the community, the church, local residents – whoever requires their services. Each member gets a small wage from it and their aim is to cook delicious and nutritious food with absolutely nothing thrown away!

The enigmatic leader Terezinha – who quite frankly should have her own cooking show! – tells me that, like most places, they have issues with obesity, because often the cheapest foods for a family are high in saturated fat and low in nutrition. So teaching the people here to cook well with proper, nutritious and affordable ingredients is key.

The ladies have been waiting for me with pinny, hair net and bated breath, and I am put straight to work as Therezinha’s assistant! Watching her theatrical cooking, folding her spinach stalks (nothing thrown away remember), garlic and oil into her perfectly cooked vat of fluffy rice with as much care as a doting mother to her child – this is certainly food that is made with love!

Please donate to support CAFOD’s work in Brazil>>

She has the warmest smile and the fiercest laugh and myself and the rest of the group feel so quickly at home. This is the most fun we have had all trip; it feels like Christmas, we’ve been so welcomed by all the women that we feel totally at home. As if all the fabulous salads, courgettes with chilli and garlic, traditional Brazilian rich beans and pumpkin and green rice weren’t enough, Terezinha pulls from the oven the pièce de résistance: a huge, mouth-wateringly perfect rack of pork ribs. I can honestly say I have never tasted ribs like them!

So to fit with our theme of Christmas, we are all groaning, full to bursting, as we begin to wash up altogether like the family that we have become for the afternoon. If only we could sit down and watch the Christmas specials now!

But we are off down the road with Maria to another co-operative in the same favela: a crèche which was set up 30 years ago by Maria and a few other volunteer ladies from the favela in order that the other women of the favela could go to work. It is a free, women-led creation, the likes of which we could quite frankly do with at home!

As a result of local campaigning, the crèche is now subsidised by the government and so the nursery workers from the favela can pull a small wage. It is yet another great triumph and an example of how resourceful the forgotten people of the favelas have been for all these years.

Please donate to support CAFOD’s work in Brazil>>

The last experience of my stay in São Paulo is a visit to Vila Flavia, one of the oldest and most established favelas in the city and home to over 2,800 families. Considering that most families we have met have 5 children, a grandmother and two parents, I work out in my head that will be more than 160,000 people.

It feels quite different to the smaller less-developed, more recently-created favelas like Favela de Eletropaulo. The houses for the most part here are well established, made of bricks, with three or four levels thrown up over the years. I think back to Rosaly in Eletropaulo, building up her own home while hoping desperately to be re-housed outside the favela.

Jo Joyner with Vera

Jo with Vera, who runs an unofficial salon from her back room in Vila Flavia

Many of the people in Vila Flavia must have started out the same way, but have remained here for years, like Vera, who is running an unofficial salon from her back room. She is just finishing her beauty therapy course and will be running a fully functioning salon very soon. She has been in her home for 24 years, and now it is her livelihood.

The winding alleys in Vila Flavia are made of concrete rather than mud and the main road through the middle is well used and busy. Despite the hard work of Vera and thousands like her, I can see and feel immediately that the streets and alleys are perfect for those drug dealers trafficking their wares and money in and out of the favela, or wealthier people driving in to buy drugs. As a trade, drug trafficking and dealing are possibly as well established as the buildings here.

Please donate to support CAFOD’s work in Brazil>>

We wait for the community leader and keep close together as we are guided safely to her home. We are visiting this favela as another example of how the people need support and help from the partners funded by CAFOD. As a better established favela, they don’t want to be moved or re-housed; they would like some support to renovate and maintain what they have, and give them permanent rights of tenure over the housing.

Please sign our letter to the Brazilian President and the São Paulo authorities>>

As a result of local campaigning, they have recently been ‘recognised’, which means that they are finally on the grid and have been given official and much safer electricity. But because they are still paying their favela rents also, these bills are both a blessing and a bind. If the buildings were to be taken over by the authorities and re-designated as social housing, the rent would be the same as the new tower blocks I visited – a fraction of what they currently pay – and they would have a chance for a better future.

We are taken down the winding paths to the stream that runs through the centre of Vila Flavia, the stream around which the favela was first built because it was the source of all life and which has become today, the very opposite. If the definition of a stream is ‘a flow of fresh water with a steady current’, then a stream it is not. This is more of a long and winding stagnant sewer crossed with a toxic waste swamp.

There is no adequate sanitation for most of the homes in Vila Flavia, no regular waste collection, and no-one in the authorities doing anything about it.

As a result, the ‘stream’ is filled with discarded sofas, mattresses, and human waste; every type of rubbish and stench as far as the eye can see. Walls of past homes are caving into it and a thick, cloudy, sinister swirl of smoke snakes along the top. A child hangs his legs over the edge of the wasteland and waves to our camera; this is where he and his friends play. A man slinks past us with a huge paint can converted into a bucket and slings his day’s human waste over the edge.

When it rains, the ‘stream’ at the bottom of the 30ft drop rises to flood levels above our heads we are told. That means that at least three of the five floors of the favela homes I can see on the down slope opposite are regularly flooded with this hell. That must be why – despite how dangerous it is with no foundations – they have still built up five levels!

Please donate to support CAFOD’s work in Brazil>>

In one of the buildings opposite, I see a hole in the bricks where a window would be in any other building. In the pitch black, I can make out a small child standing still in a light-coloured baby grow watching us back. She doesn’t move. I dread to think about it raining with her still standing there. The five floors slapped together above her head look like they could crumble on her any second if the sewage didn’t drown her first. I wonder if she is a ghost.

It’s the end of my visit, and I’m asked by the camera crew to quickly sum up my feelings. Sum it up? Quickly? I fail miserably and ramble something I hope will sound vaguely positive.

The truth is it is overwhelming, the housing crisis and the appalling poverty I have seen here in São Paulo. I have had an incredible trip and met some truly inspirational people. I feel I have witnessed some small but mighty victories of a housing revolution that needs to happen.

I should add that I have never eaten so much in all my days! Every family we have met, and every woman who has opened her doors to us, has laid on a full spread of fruits, cakes, breads and coffees!

I feel relieved that all the children we have met have been cheeky and chatty, have clearly been looking out for one another and have a healthy respect for their elders – their mothers, grandmothers, aunts and the whole community – by whom they are clearly adored, well fed and well cared for.

Please help us support Brazil’s poorest families. Donate to CAFOD’s work in Brazil>>

I am not being naive: the children have been wiser and more wary than they should be at their age, guarded to begin with and not as clean and cosy as you would wish upon them.

For the most part though, I am so grateful for this opportunity to learn about the other side of Brazil, to meet the partners that CAFOD is supporting out here, but most of all, to meet those in the favelas and occupations who they are helping to organise themselves. I have been fully in awe at the women co-operatives, the community leaders, and the housing networks.

The strength of these people who are clinging on to the community that they have, who are fighting with every fibre of their being to be recognised, to be heard, and to be supported, all for a better future for their children, and most of all – to live dignified lives.

Please donate to support CAFOD’s work in Brazil>>

Please sign our letter to the Brazilian President and the São Paulo authorities>>

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