45,000 people attended the Hyde Park rally on 8 June.
On Saturday 8 June I woke early. And realised I had laryngitis and had lost my voice. This was not a great start to the day: it was the day of the BigIF G8 rally and I wouldn’t be able to talk to our supporters. Luckily my great colleague James was willing to do all the verbal communications when we met up with everyone to travel to London.
But I was undeterred, I was not going to let this stop me making lots of noise in Hyde Park. I had my wonderful whistle. This has travelled to many rallies over the years, including Make Poverty History and The Wave.
It was bought on the 16 May 1998 from a small stall as we headed off into Birmingham city centre to join the rally for the Drop the Debt Jubilee Campaign. I remember thinking “I probably won’t use it” and popped it into my bag. How wrong I was. We joined thousands of people making a nine mile human chain banging pots and pans, blowing hooters and waving klaxons, even rattling chains and old wooden footy rattles!
To this day, Birmingham evokes very precious memories of the joy of uniting with like-minded friends who work tirelessly for justice.
Last Saturday it happened again. There was a deep well of love that united over 45,000 people in London’s Hyde Park. It gives us great hope and of course we cannot forget that we have enough food for everyone, yet one in eight people go hungry.
IF we all speak out together in 2013 we can make our world leaders change the future.
A favourite hymn of mine is Breathe on me breath of God - “that I may love what thou does love, and do what thou wouldst do”.
Even though I didn’t have a voice for the voiceless on Saturday it didn’t matter I had my breath and the wonderful whistle worked it’s magic once again !
About the author: Chris Lappine is CAFOD’s diocesan manager for the Liverpool diocese.
There are lots of people who want David Cameron to listen to them over the ten days ahead.
Business leaders. MPs and cabinet ministers. The leaders of some of the world’s most powerful countries who are meeting in the UK at the G8 summit next week.
I spent most of Saturday’s amazing Big IF rally asking people in Hyde Park what message they wanted to give to the Prime Minister and the other G8 leaders. You can hear some of their voices here >
And there are two voices in particular that I hope David Cameron will listen to. They are not powerful people or famous ones. They are not politicians or rock stars. They are maths teachers: Sue and George from Swindon.
These two teachers, who run a CAFOD group in their school, brought a small gaggle of excited teenagers with them to the rally. “There’s many more in the group,” explained Sue over the noise of their chat and laughter, “but they couldn’t all come today.”
George, with a loaves and fishes hat perched on his head, explained in a calm, strong voice why he’s here. Having grown up in Zimbabwe, he’s seen how hunger caused by inequality has spread in his home country and has cost lives. That experience, and his Catholic faith, has made him determined to speak out.
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by Nana Anto-Awuakye
Chivi Mapaike is a 65 kilometre drive from Masvingo town. The tarmac soon runs out and the rest of the journey is a bumpy dirt-track ride. The Masvingo boulders now seem to loom out from behind every cluster of trees or foliage. The landscape has turned a dry, sandy colour, and I’m told that over the last few years the area has suffered droughts because of shorter than usual rainfalls.
The dirt-track finally leads us to a small village that is effectively built on top of one of the boulders. As we climb up, there is no hiding place from the sun’s rays, which bounce off the smooth surface of the rock. Jacob, 57, is at the top, waiting to greet us.
Jacob has just finished doing some work on one of his plots of land. He has a furrowed brow and a serious expression on his face, but as he sweeps his arm out in front of him, pointing out his plots of land and his cows, his expression breaks into a smile. He is proud of what he has achieved over the last few years. He says: “I have been able to buy these cows because of the benefits conservation farming has brought me, my family and the community.” Continue reading
Filed under CAFOD, Zimbabwe
Ahmed: “Even as we were moving, part of our house was destroyed by a bomb.”
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CAFOD’s Catherine Cowley writes:
It feels strange to do humanitarian work in Turkey. When I first drove down the dual carriageway from the international airport, past large apartment blocks and miles and miles of green countryside, I couldn’t help but be struck by the contrast with other emergency programmes I’ve been involved with.
Two years ago, I joined CAFOD as a trainee humanitarian officer. Since then, I’ve been based in Haiti and Kenya, where most of my experience has been of bumping along rutted, dusty roads, working with people you could see were living in poverty even before their lives were turned upside down by natural disasters.
The small Turkish town I’ve been working in recently, near the border with Syria, could hardly be more of a contrast. Everything seems stable, calm and prosperous: the shops are bustling with customers; the roads are teeming with vehicles; the scale of construction work is striking. Continue reading