Tag Archives: CAFOD Lent appeal

Children speak up for CAFOD

By Bernadette Taylor, CAFOD education volunteer.

Bea Taylor_St Marys Swanage_speak upOn 3 April children in Year 5 at St. Mary’s RC Primary School, Swanage, presented speeches about CAFOD to local dignitaries of the town council, local representatives from Fair Trade, and their classmates from school.

The class prepared speeches as part of their ‘Speak up for CAFOD’ project. The topic was about giving a voice to people who are hungry as part of the Lent Dig Deep theme.


Find out how children and young people have been digging deep this Lent to help the world’s poorest people get the food, tools and training they need >>> 

All of the speakers stood with dignity and poise, and presented their work clearly and with diction. Two 9 year olds, Amelia and Ruby, were selected as  having the winning speech. They opened with:

‘Did you know that 1 in 8 people go to bed hungry every evening? Yet in this world we produce enough food for everyone to eat? The way food is produced and shared is not fair.’

They continued to list some of the reasons why people go hungry every day, and described how campaigning with CAFOD and buying Fairtrade makes a real difference.

They closed their very powerful talk by showing how their listeners can help make a difference:

‘You can support CAFOD as part of your community, speak out for others in your school and tell important people about supporting CAFOD. You could do this by fundraising or taking part in Lent Fast Day. Donate the money you save this Lent to CAFOD – change a life!’

We can all Dig Deep this Lent. Please join us today >>>

Swanage Town Mayor, Ally Patrick, presented prizes to the speakers, and said she believed that there were many public speakers of the future here.

Fair Trade coffee, tea and cake were the enjoyed after the event, whilst the children mingled with the guests. The listeners in the audience were so impressed with the speakers that they organised an impromptu collection and donated  £25.

As the CAFOD education volunteer who worked with this class to prepare the project, I can say that we are all so proud of what these children achieved and delivered.

Find out how to run a Speak up for CAFOD event with your pupils >>>

Well done to everyone who took part. We are so proud of you.

Thank you to the class teacher, Mrs. Meteau and Head teacher, Mrs. Lake.

Visit cafod.orguk/uk to organise a CAFOD visitor for your school >>>

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Digging deep for CAFOD: fighting hunger one garden at a time

Sophie Harrington is CAFOD’s Diocesan Communications Officer for East Anglia. She joined Christine Walkden, Patrick Jamiru and a host of keen young gardeners for a day of digging deep in support of CAFOD’s Lent appeal.

It’s not every day you meet up with a TV gardener, some schoolchildren and an African charity worker to fight global hunger.

Clutching some cabbage seeds, we did just that at St Laurence’s Catholic Primary School in Cambridge to highlight CAFOD’s Dig Deep Lenten appeal.

The appeal reminds us that one in eight people in the world go hungry every day – but we CAN help.

The One Show’s gardening guru Christine Walkden shared her passion for plants with the children aged five to nine years old in the newly-formed gardening group.

She showed them exactly how to plant those cabbage seeds so they do the best they can.

Her visit coincided with that of CAFOD partner Patrick Jamiru from Sierra Leone, who came to the school to explain how – with their support to CAFOD – people in his region have transformed an abandoned diamond mine in fertile farmland. It’s helping people to overcome the hungry season in his country, which sees people struggle to find enough food for up to six months of the year.

Mohammed's community have turned swamp land into farmland to help get through the hungry season.

Mohammed’s community have turned swamp land into farmland to help get through the hungry season.

Patrick encouraged the children to ‘dig deep’ with people in his own country and think how they can help the world’s poorest people.

He told them: “The land had been mined for diamonds in Sierra Leone and once they were not finding any, they went and left big holes with water in. They dug big, big holes and they had not filled their holes, they just left them like that.

“Our land is our mainstay and how we get our livelihood. To change it so that people could farm for themselves has helped them so much.”

He told the Cambridge pupils how children he knows, called Mohammed and Samai, have had their lives improved by the project. Even having the prospect of being able to attend school becoming a reality for them.

The children listened keenly and had a host of questions for both Patrick and Christine.

Christine told the young gardeners: “Without gardeners and farmers we would starve. It’s the gardeners and the farmers of the world that keep us alive. They also make the world beautiful. A gardener can make the world beautiful and grow food and what a privilege that is.”

Pupils at St Laurence's Catholic Primary School in Cambridge Dig Deep with help from TV presenter & gardener Christine Walkden to highlight global hunger.

Pupils at St Laurence’s Catholic Primary School in Cambridge Dig Deep with help from TV presenter & gardener Christine Walkden to highlight global hunger. [CAFOD]

She added: “Growing plants is the same as growing people. What it requires is tender loving care. Without it neither will grow, develop and bloom.

“The children here today were very interested, very engaged and enquiring. It’s important that children know in this country how to grow food. We take so much for granted. It’s important for children to realise that there are places in the world where people do not have enough food to live.”

Teacher Barbara Quail said the visitors had both inspired her and the children.

Mrs Quail said: “We are the opposite to the children in Sierra Leone in some ways. We have enough food grown and we are now trying to help the children redevelop those skills that they have lost because the supermarkets sell everything they need. They should know where their food comes from and how lucky they are. How they can help others who are not so fortunate has been really brought to life to them.”

CAFOD volunteer, Mary Watkins, said: “I think it is an excellent project. It’s very exciting for the children to be involved in and important for them to learn where their fundraising goes. Patrick has been able to tell them first-hand.”

“I have helped at the school with CAFOD for about seven years and I know this is an experience the children will remember. It always amazes me what they remember from previous visits when we have told them about CAFOD’s work.”

Hopefully some seeds for thought were also planted that day.

The event brought press attention with Cambridge News and BBC Cambridgeshire Radio attending and playing a part in highlighting the scandal of global hunger.

We can all Dig Deep this Lent – please join us today>>

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Exploring Kenema: How Lent Fast Day can change the face of a community

Tomorrow is Lent Fast Day. This year CAFOD is asking you to dig deep for children and families around the world who don’t have enough to eat – children like Mohammed and Samai in Kenema, Sierra Leone.

 Eleanor, one of our gap year volunteers travelled to Sierra Leone, and spent three days with the community of Tissor, where Mohammed and Samai are from. She saw first-hand how your money is helping.

Find out more about how you’re helping in Sierra Leone. Please dig deep with CAFOD this Lent>>

We began our stay here on Sunday when we went to mass at St Paul’s Cathedral looking amazing wearing our freshly made African outfits. The whole Catholic community make a real effort to dress up in traditional costume for mass so we thought that we would join in the culture and wear ours! They’re amazingly comfortable, and I’m going to be really tempted to live in it when I’m back in the UK.

Eleanor with Samai and his classmates

Eleanor with Samai and his classmates

The bulk of our week was taken up with our 3-day visit to the rural community of Tissor, just outside Kenema. CAFOD is helping people make a living in this area by giving the community the know-how and financial support to set up a poultry farm and a fishpond.

It was incredible to see how CAFOD’s support has helped. Although not fully functional yet, it is clear that the project is already really affecting the lives of the community in a very positive way. Albert is the community officer of the poultry farm and says the project, which provides eggs and a source of income for the people of Tissor, has given him a real sense of purpose and helped him to afford to send his children to school. He is really appreciative of CAFOD’s support, and we all hope to see this success copied throughout communities in Sierra Leone.

 CAFOD is accepting applications for next year’s Step into the gap programme. Find out more and apply today>>

After a sad farewell (particularly from the children!) from the village of Tissor, we headed back to Kenema city.

It has been a real eye-opener to be invited into this wonderful, flourishing community. Aside from enjoying spending time with some amazing and inspirational people, I have had a chance to see just some of the huge impacts that CAFOD is having on people’s lives and how support from the UK is really making a difference.

Please Dig Deep with CAFOD this Lent to help people in Sierra Leone and around the world to a better future.

Please Dig Deep with CAFOD this Lent to help people in Sierra Leone and around the world to a better future.

Your donations really do make a difference in the lives of the world’s poorest people. Please dig deep with us this Lent, so more families and communities can have hope for the future>>

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Digging deep for the world’s poorest people: witnessing the charity of Christ

Patrick Gbessay Jamiru has been Director of CAFOD’s partner Caritas Kenema, for over thirteen years. Caritas Kenema is the development and relief office for the Catholic Diocese of Kenema in eastern Sierra Leone.

Patrick is visiting the UK in the run-up to Lent, to talk to CAFOD supporters about the work of Caritas in Kenema and how, with your donations, they can help poor families to earn a living now and in the future.

Jesus Christ is our model and so we take seriously into account  all those values he set before us, which he himself had demonstrated.  Among them is that of charity.

Charity, from the point of view of the Christian faith, is not just giving handouts from the surpluses we have, but it is the ability to share our life with those of our brothers and sisters who are less privileged and cannot stand on their own.

Please join CAFOD to help those who are unable to stand on their own. Please dig deep this Lent>>

Please Dig Deep with CAFOD this Lent to help people in Sierra Leone and around the world to a better future.

Please Dig Deep with CAFOD this Lent to help people in Sierra Leone and around the world to a better future.

Those who find themselves in certain situations either by design or by accident need some intervention.  For example, those struck down by sicknesses, natural disasters, or those whose societies have deprived them of their basic human rights.

Jesus said to his people that he was not there for the virtuous but for those who were of the lost house of Israel; that those who were well did not need a doctor but those who were sick.   He was making reference to the reality our basic Christian principle wants us to pay attention to: that of care and concern for our brothers and sisters who are in dire need.

Some people may say we were all created by God with equal opportunities; therefore, for some it is due to laziness, or for some it is due to carelessness and so we must not care for others.  But in my estimation, our focus must be on those realities that dehumanize our brothers and sisters; those realities which make us agents of our Lord and not judges of their unfortunate situations.

Every Christian is charged with the responsibility of imitating our Lord Jesus and help in his or her own way in the spread of the Gospel and the Gospel values.  It can be education or support to those in hopeless situations.

The social teachings of the church can and should be lived out in diverse ways. The relief and development work of the CARITAS Kenema office in Eastern Sierra Leone helps mostly the poorest of the poor.

It is by sharing all of what life brings and helping people to live a full life demands, we are witnessing the charity of our Lord Jesus Christ.

We want to create a world where all people can flourish. Will you dig deep this Lent to give the world’s poorest people a better future?>>

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Ration challenge week 1: What happened to my unlimited choice?!

During the first week of my challenge, I ate a LOT of potatoes. As one of my few ‘free’ foods, they’ve basically formed the basis of most of my meals so far, including breakfast, for which I’ve been eating the delightfully named ‘Fadge’ – a sort of griddled potato cake a bit like a hash brown (much, much tastier than the name suggests).

As a Catholic of Irish descent, I didn’t think I had a limit for potato eating – the last roastie is always what gets fought over in our family. But by day 4 I woke up feeling slightly queasy at the thought of another round of Fadge, so I switched to water based porridge instead and sprinkled a bit of my sugar ration onto the top. Who knew that grey mush would feel like such a treat!

"Fadge" - a sort of potato pancake I've been eating for breakfast

“Fadge” – a sort of potato pancake I’ve been eating for breakfast

So far the thing I’m noticing the most is a radical cut back on choice. As a very spoilt westerner, my biggest struggle is that every meal is a variation on the same few ingredients. This was never going to be a starvation diet, and I’ve definitely got enough to eat. But it is bringing home powerfully that as soon as food is scarce, choice becomes a luxury. It’s also a luxury to complain about not having choice, so I’ll leave that there for now.

One in eight people don’t have enough to eat. We can change this scandal. Are you hungry for change?>>

I’m also finding the sugar ration an interesting one. As sugar beet was a big crop in Britain during wartime, the weekly ration of 8oz is pretty generous. Certainly to me it looked like the biggest bit of food in the ration box. Unfortunately, because I don’t have sugar on tea and tend not to have it in cereal (although I’ve appreciated it on my porridge, without the extra sweetness of milk!), it’s not a whole lot of use to me. With so little milk and butter and virtually no egg, I’d need to save up my weekly and monthly rations of everything else to do what I’d normally do with that much sugar – which is bake with it.

I think this is where living on rations as a family could be of an advantage. Mums in World War 2 could combine their family rations to make them go further. A lot of families, for example, registered one child as vegetarian to get a bigger cheese ration, so between the whole family they could eke out the meat and cheese a bit better. I love this resourcefulness, which comes through in so many of the recipes and stories I’ve found about this period. It’s something I need to learn from, because the net result is so little waste.

If you have a restricted but adequate diet, a bit of savvy housekeeping will help you feed your family. Marguerite Patten OBE, who wrote many of the recipes for the ministry of food and agriculture during WW2 and beyond, says of wartime food “Our menus may have been monotonous, but both adults and children were incredibly healthy.”

But here’s the rub: for Rose in Kenya, and thousands of mothers like her around the world, no amount of kitchen canniness will stretch the food for the whole family. There just isn’t enough to go round. So mothers have an entirely different choice to make. They have to choose which of their children get to eat today – and generally go hungry themselves.

Families like Rose’s need our help when food runs out. Please give to CAFOD’s Lenten appeal>>

There’s a severe hunger crisis in our world. But it’s not because we don’t produce enough. Families go hungry, because food supplies are no longer based on what every human needs to be healthy, and are instead based on profit and loss. And meanwhile those of us who have much, have too much.

I don’t think I’d quite realised how much I rely on being able to grab any food I want, whenever I need to. As a result, I usually forget my lunch for work at least 4 days out of 5, and buy a baguette or something, while my salad or soup slowly goes off in the fridge at home.

Now suddenly, as I’m thinking of new and exciting things to do with potatoes and leeks, I’m feeling so grateful that I live in this world of choice – but also something like embarrassment. How could I look Rose, who nearly lost her daughter Tabita to malnutrition, and explain how much I throw away, just through sheer disorganisation?

If I take away anything from this challenge, it’s this: there absolutely is enough food for all of us. But food, like any other resource, needs to be approached with respect, moderation and common sense.

We all have choices to make. Some of those choices are life and death, and others are a luxury. But we can choose to end this injustice – that’s a choice we can all get behind. If you, like me, want all children to grow up with choices and opportunities, then please sign our Hungry for Change petition, and support our Lent appeal.

We’re not stuck with the system we have. We can choose justice for everyone.

Claud is living on rations for Lent

Claud is living on rations for Lent

Claud Mba has worked in CAFOD’s digital communications team for three years. She lives with her husband in Kent and is a lifelong supporter of CAFOD’s work. This Lent she’s putting her love of 1940s style and culture to the test: getting sponsored to live on 1943 UK rations, in solidarity with people who don’t have enough to eat around the world.

You can read more about Claud’s challenge and sponsor her here: http://www.justgiving.com/claudonrations

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