Volunteering at CAFOD Westminster’s diocese office gives me the opportunity to participate in CAFOD campaigns, fundraisers, training courses and attend talks from overseas partners.
Last month, CAFOD Westminster welcomed LemLem, a CAFOD partner from Ethiopia. LemLem works to bring water to some of the most arid parts of Ethiopia. She spoke about the support CAFOD gives and how, with that support, they have been able to install proper toilet facilities at schools, water tanks in villages and irrigation for local farms. It’s great to hear a CAFOD partner talk about the projects that CAFOD supporters are helping with through their fundraising actions.
Through volunteering with CAFOD I have been able to participate in two of their recent campaigns. At the Flame Congress in March I was tasked with filming all the excited young adults walking from left to right across a video screen for CAFOD’s ‘Pass it On’ campaign. Although that doesn’t sound like the most glamorous of jobs, I did catch Archbishop Vincent Nichols unawares after his headlining slot at Wembley arena. Outside the arena, the Archbishop was speaking with a crowd of people so I thought it only proper to ask him if he would like to take part in CAFOD’s Pass it On’ campaign. After a few technical hitches, and a nervous wait, he kindly obliged.On the 15 May, I joined over 30 volunteers at 5am, for a solidarity march along the banks of the river Thames from the Tower of London to Westminster Cathedral. The march was inspired by the story of Esther, who gets up at 5am every day to fetch water. I really enjoyed hearing what the other volunteers had been doing for the ‘Thirst for Change’ campaign. For Instance, Jim Quinn had just finished walking along the banks of the Grand Union canal.
Along his journey Jim was getting people to take part in the campaign by filling out campaign cards and water droplets. When we arrived at Westminster Cathedral, we arranged ourselves into a ‘river of change’, displaying all the water droplets that had messages and prayers written on them. Despite the cold and rain, it was inwardly fulfilling to have been part of the day.
Volunteering at the solidarity march was a great way for me to give myself to a cause. If you would like to take part in a CAFOD campaign then follow this link: www.cafod.org.uk/resources/great-generation/gg-campaigning
Sunday 27 May saw the 6th annual Pedal Against Poverty cycle ride along the River Lee through North London and Hertfordshire. Having volunteered in CAFOD’s Westminster office for six months, I had noted the sense of anticipation beforehand among the volunteers for what was to be my first Pedal Against Poverty. On the day, I was tasked with taking pictures and interviewing the cyclists to see what they thought of CAFOD.
Everyone was welcoming and the day had such a strong community feel about it. During lunch, supporter Hilary Walls spoke to me about the importance of events like Pedal Against Poverty saying ‘it is a great way for my family to bear witness to our faith’. I really associated with what Hilary said to me having taken part in the solidarity march a few weeks previously.
While speaking with other riders I got the sense that the giving of yourself was just as important to them as the money raised. Last year Pedal Against Poverty raised £9,000. This year, with a bigger turn out, we are attempting to raise £15,000. This would be enough to provide over 450 families with a supply of clean water. I take water for granted every day, whether it is in the shower, while brushing my teeth or when flushing the toilet.
Taking part in CAFOD’s Pedal Against Poverty is a way that I and over 200 CAFOD supporters can help those around the world who don’t have access to safe clean water.
If you would like to participate in a CAFOD fundraiser or maybe you would like to organise your own event, please visit cafod.org.uk/resources/great-generation/gg-fundraising
I have really enjoyed volunteering at CAFOD campaigns and events. The support and encouragement I have received has made it easy to get involved. CAFOD’s newest campaign, Rio+20, has started and you can get involved. Rio+20 aims to, “secure renewed political commitment for sustainable development”. If you think it’s important for us to remind our politicians that sustainable development should remain a priority then follow this link and have your voice heard: www.cafod.org.uk/rio
About the Authour: Nathan, is guest editor for this month’s great generation e-news! He is a recent graduate from Ealing in West London. And have been volunteering at CAFOD Westminster’s office since January. He has also taken part in CAFOD campaigns, fundraisers, and attended talks from overseas partners. On 27 May he joined over 200 cyclists in the Lee Valley Country Park for CAFOD’s 6th annual Pedal Against Poverty Cycle ride.