Category Archives: CAFOD Westminster

South East Asia: Please support our appeal

[REUTERS/Muhammad Fitrah/Singgalang, courtesy]Thousands of lives have been devastated by the Indonesian earthquake and the typhoon in the Philippines and wider region. There is a desperate need for food and water – and many require immediate medical attention to survive.

With more extreme weather expected, the need is likely to increase. Every moment counts. Please make a donation today. It can save lives by providing food, water, shelter and medicine.

The DEC (Disasters and Emergencies Committee), of which CAFOD is a member, has launched an appeal.

Donate to the DEC

Or you can give to our own South East Asia Appeal instead.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under CAFOD, CAFOD Birmingham, CAFOD Clifton, CAFOD Leeds, CAFOD North Wales, CAFOD Shrewsbury, CAFOD South Wales, CAFOD Westminster, Indonesia, Philippines

October 2 is Harvest Fast Day

Millions of people just like Margaret in Kenya are struggling – spending years working their way out of poverty only to be knocked down again by events beyond their control. The financial crisis is a final nail in the coffin.

We are all feeling the effects of recession. High exchange rates means the financial support we offer is worth around one-third less than last year – it is a challenging time but we will not give up on the world’s poorest when they need us the most.

Please support Harvest Fast Day – and help us continue to reach out to those in desperate need. There are loads of ways you can help:

Donate online

Fundraise for Fast Day
Seven posters to choose from
Powerpoint of the slideshow featuring Margaret from Kenya
Two mass talks (one short, one longer)
Suggested content for parish newsletters
Prayers, homily notes, and a children’s liturgy
Diary organiser to help you prepare

Make Your Money Count
Download games, videos, music, and recipes showcasing the lives of young people in Brazil – all to help you fundraise with young people

Leave a comment

Filed under Brazil, CAFOD, CAFOD Birmingham, CAFOD Clifton, CAFOD Leeds, CAFOD North Wales, CAFOD Shrewsbury, CAFOD South Wales, CAFOD Westminster, Kenya

Great generation: Shining brightly at Brightlights

CAFOD volunteer Mariet challenging young people to match the country nametags to the right place on the globe

We felt excited at the prospect of being part of Brightlights 2009 (the annual festival for young Catholics in the Westminster diocese). Little did we know what CAFOD had in store for us…

From getting our hands covered in paint for climate justice, to parading around in a giant globe and persuading people to guess the name of a chicken, we gathered support for CAFOD in many ways!

The highlight, most importantly, was getting the chance to hear and meet some inspiring speakers. Not only did we see Delia Smith and hear the parents of murdered teenager Jimmy Mizen talk about youth violence, and the role their faith played in helping them cope with the loss of their child, but we also met Alice and Kepha who come from two of the largest slums in Nairobi.  Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under CAFOD, CAFOD Westminster, Kenya

A light that never goes out

Tony with fellow Smiths fan Janaina

“Sometimes it calls upon a generation to be great – you can be that generation”. I’m looking at the CAFOD t-shirt with that great saying by Mandela and thinking over that past few days I have met the most amazing community leaders who are truly inspiring people

Marinaise is one of these inspiring people. She has been instrumental in the conversion of Favela Parc du Guard into a flats for 300 people, now known as just Parc du Guard.

Marinaise explained how they used to live and how they struggled over many years to get a proper roof over their heads and a community centre.

CAFOD’s partners APOIO (Brazilian for “support”) have trained and help mobilise many like Marinaise to fight against an unjust system where the poor are discriminated against again and again.

Experiencing so much pain

I also met other amazing community leaders working for change, who have experienced so much pain and are working to bring about change, such as Janaina Cristina da Silva who as a child selling sweets on the streets of Brasilia.

She came to Sao Paulo with her mother when she was 16 years old. However her mother was not around for long and soon she had to survive on her own in a big city without a home.

Janaina started to attend meetings of the homeless movement and got involved in campaigning for change.

She is now 20-years-old, has a roof over her head after years of unimaginable hardship, and is employed by CAFOD’s partners Apoio working in a night shelter for the homeless in Sao Paulo.

Janaina said in tears: “Before I couldn’t even dare to dream, but since being involved with Apoio, I have started to dream of a future.” She also likes English music and shares my own love of the group The Smiths!

Posted by TonyS

Leave a comment

Filed under Brazil, CAFOD, CAFOD Westminster

Silent genocide of an indigenous people


Over the last few days we´ve been on an amazing trip to visit some of the indigeonus peoples of Roraima state in the Amazon.

Having flown all night from San Paulo in the South to Boa Vista in northern Brazil, we embarked on a ten-hour trip by road towards the border of Venezuela.

We loaded two big trucks with three large barrels of fuel in the back, for we would not see a petrol station for many days. We then set off on a day-long bumpy journey through farmland, forest and mountains and over a few bridges that reminded me of an Indiana Jones film!

Indigenous communities such as the Materuca have lived in these areas for many many centuries but, since the arrival of the Portuguese 500 years ago, they have suffered many years of persecution and murder.

Tribes wiped out

In fact, the number of Indians in Brazil has fallen by 93% since the arrival of the Europeans. Unfortunately this has continued into the present day with, on average, one tribe being wiped out every two years.

CAFOD works through a partner organisation called Conselho Indigena de Roraima (CIR), which supports indigenous people in the state of Roraima (approximately 36,000 Indian people) with issues such as land rights, education, health, environmental protection, and self-sufficiency projects.

The first community we visit is in a place called Surumu, which is a school and training centre for the Macuxi people of the area.

We are welcomed by community leaders and young people who finally celebrated legal ownership of this land under Brazilian law in 2005. This was as a result of many years struggle for justice by the community, supported by the church.

We then learned with horror of the constant intimidation the community has experienced at he hand of thugs employed by powerful farming firms, who would like to use the land.

We looked in shock at the remains of the school and church mission which had been burned down during a violent attack by 200 thugs last year. The gang also violently attacked Indians and clergy.

We were told the farming companies are very powerful and have friends in high places in both the media and the government, so can get away with such awful activities.


The Macuxi people are a peace-loving people, who legally have a right to their land and work hard to develop it in an environmentally-friendly way. They are training their young people in the Surumu school to do the same.

The community make us very welcome, showing us around their enviromentally-friendly farm, and then giving us dinner which includes beans, rice and fruit juice. They then help me put up my hammock and mosquito net ready for my night under the stars.

Before bed we are treated to a cultural night of singing and dancing by the students of Surumu. There are approximately 40 teenagers taking part, from many indigeonus communities in the state.

They all thank CAFOD supporters for their solidarity and support in their many years of persececution and experience of injustice.

As I go to bed in my hammock under the stars, a Macuxi chief called Ivaldo invites me to come for a swim and wash in the river tomorrow morning.

I am not worried about the mosquitos – instead my mind contemplates how and why the rich and powerful can get away with attacking such a beautiful people, and burning down their church and school.

Posted by TonyS

Leave a comment

Filed under Brazil, CAFOD, CAFOD Westminster