Ten years since the beginning of the crisis in Darfur, millions of people are still in need of humanitarian aid. We have been supporting projects in Darfur since 2004 as part of a major emergency programme organised by the two main international church-based networks, Caritas Internationalis and Action by Churches Together Alliance.
Our local partner trains residents of a camp for displaced people
in Darfur to repair water systems.[Laura Sheahen for ACT/Caritas]
Laura Sheahen recently visited Darfur on behalf of Caritas. She writes:
“When we first came here, we were getting water from the valley, seven kilometers away.” Muhammad is a long-time resident of a camp in Darfur for people who fled violence. He remembers what it was like nearly a decade ago, when thousands of desperate people first arrived. “Farmers were settled closer to the valley, so we couldn’t live where the water was. But when we went to get water, they helped us.”
Ten years later, hundreds of thousands of people remain in Darfur’s camps. They’d like to go back to their villages, but until they can, Caritas-funded programmes are making sure they can live in dignity. 2013 marks 10 years of keeping vulnerable Darfuris alive and making their lives better. Continue reading
Our projects have helped to improve water supplies in Kitui
One year on from the launch of our East Africa Crisis appeal, Bishop Anthony Muheria of the Diocese of Kitui in Kenya writes:
Read more about our East Africa Crisis appeal>>
We have witnessed in these last five years the tremendous effects of drought in our region. This is not just the lack of sufficient rains for the crops, but even the lack of the basic necessity of clean drinking water for many of our people. We greatly appreciate the response of many of our partners, to address the emergency needs as well as to join us in addressing the long term solutions to scarcity of water, food shortages and related poverty issues.
To this end we wish to thank CAFOD, who have always been at our side in these difficult moments – specifically in the rainwater harvesting and livelihood programmes, which give a lease of life to many families who suffer a loss of livestock every season. The people are so grateful for the assistance, and on their behalf I extend this gratitude to all at CAFOD and all the benefactors. God bless you all!
Clara (centre) and friends with the solar panel that helps pump water to their village
Matahatata village doesn’t have piped water. It doesn’t have electricity. But one thing it does have is plenty of sun.
When I visited Matahatata in Zambia last year it was under a typically blazing sun. I was greeted by Clara Nkete, who has lived in this village for 50 years and brought up her ten children here.
She told me how she used to struggle to get water from the village’s single – now broken – borehole: “There were long queues, and if you drew water late in the day it would be muddy, dirty water. You could wait for up to three hours. We had to fetch water three times a day so you might be queuing for up to nine hours a day.”
Looking deep into my eyes, Clara explained, “Whenever you went to the borehole late you’d know you would be drawing dirty water, but our children would be crying for water, crying in thirst, and so we had no option but to give it to them. We had no other choice.”
Harnessing the power of the sun has given Clara and her neighbours another option. Five years ago, we funded a new solar-powered borehole in Matahatata. Continue reading
Filed under CAFOD, Zambia
How do you imagine heaven? For me, heaven is a wide, open landscape full of trees and green grass. This is what I saw when I arrived in England.
Where I come from, Adigrat in northern Ethiopia, the landscape is dry and rocky. When the rain comes, it is heavy and destructive, so we rarely see the bright green landscape I have experienced here.
One of the reasons I am so interested in the topography of different areas is because I am a water and sanitation engineer. In Ethiopia, the topography of an area directly affects a community’s access to water. This is where I contribute; by looking at what the landscape has to offer, and building reservoirs, canals and springs to bring water to people, animals and crops.
As an example of what can be achieved in water engineering, I often tell people the story of a young girl called Rigiaet. Before I built a spring in Rigiaet’s village, this six-year-old had to walk a long way each morning to collect water for her family. Rigiaet told me, “I wake up at 6am to fetch water before I go to class. Sometimes I am late to school. I fetch water three times a day with my ten-litre container. The water is not clean.”
Although Rigiaet now has access to a clean water spring, the same is not true for many young girls in Ethiopia. Seeing how my input in developing irrigation and water supplies is improving the lives of people living in dry areas is what makes me happiest in my job.
It is these stories that I have been sharing over the past three weeks as part of CAFOD’s Thirst for change campaign. I have travelled all over England, talking in schools, colleges and parishes about water and sanitation in Ethiopia. Continue reading
Filed under CAFOD, Ethiopia
Total miles walked: 155
Total action cards collected: 1,939 (plus one parish still uncounted) This exceeds my target of 1,550 by 389.
Number of talks given: 15
Total sponsorship received or pledged: £1,459.50 (to be doubled by UKAid match)
Number of blisters: 3
On the day before the campaign hand-in, my pilgrimage ended. But perhaps the most significant part of the walk was still to come: the walk along Downing Street to No.10.
After enjoying a celebratory pint with CAFOD Director Chris Bain and my parish priest Eddie Clare, I was welcomed to CAFOD’s offices at Romero House with a tea and cake reception.
My feeling were mixed: elation because it was over; satisfaction because I achieved what I set out to do; and expectation that the campaign would actually achieve something significant.
Read more about the hand-in and watch a slideshow of photos >