Tag Archives: World Gifts

The People’s Puentecitos


James is visiting some of our partners in El Salvador as part of his Step into the Gap programme. He shares his experiences with us after week two of his journey.

For me ‘The People’s Puentecitos’ is an apt title for my experiences this week, because I have seen in Puentecitos what it means to be a proper community. Puentecitos is vibrant, full of stories, and most importantly, it is proud.

Jesuit Development Service

This week I have been both living and working with CAFOD partner JDS, the Jesuit Development Service. JDS help to develop neighbouring communities, through different schemes like co-operative farming or the local radio station.

Inscribed within each and every person in the communities where JDS works, is hope, self-confidence and motivation. Though individuals are often economically poor, this need not be a restriction. Therefore, making the most of the here and now is a common trait for the people of Puentecitos.

 “As women we believe in ourselves”

On Tuesday we met an incredible lady named Sibia Vasquez. With the help of JDS, Sibia and her community group have a flourishing chicken farm. They also have a bakery and a thriving vegetable patch, which helps them live sustainably.

Me with Sibia, and one of her chickens

Last September Sibia, along with six other women and two men, set up their own co-operative. They trade and share their produce in a way that makes sure it stays within the community.

For Sibia, working alongside other women is so important, not only because she feels pride when the profits are shared out at the end of the year, but also because “as women we believe in ourselves”. It is her motivation to succeed that makes Sibia’s work successful, whilst her faith gives her strength.

Family life

This week I have been fortunate enough not only to have met Sibia, but also to meet two families that in their own unique ways have had a real effect on me.

Dreams for the future

Fidel Ramos dreams to rebuild the community’s Chapel which was severely damaged eight years ago by an earthquake. It is hard to ignore the fact that such a task needs money and in a place like Puentecitos that reality becomes even more apparent.

What is so brilliant therefore about Fidel’s dream is that it has come to fruition. Collections have started and money is being raised. In just six months the people of Puentecitos have raised a staggering $1,035, over a quarter of their $4,000 goal. For Fidel, this is so important because the chapel is the House of God.

Fidel and his wife Julia also have dreams for their six children. Sarita, the oldest of the six is in her second year at university studying agriculture. Not only is Sarita studying at the most prestigious farming college in El Salvador, but she managed to do so by gaining a highly competitive scholarship.

The family is so proud of Sarita’s self-motivation and drive to achieve. Fidel dreams that each child can gain an education that enables them to become independent and working adults.

“Never be defeated”

I want to finish off this blog with something that Daniel-Vicente said to me.

Daniel lives in Puentecitos and is really struggling with the poverty he and his family find themselves in. Daniel’s wife is working in San Salvador, and so he is left to look after his four children with the help of his mother. He works hard as a carpenter but earns very little money, and he often thinks about moving to Guatemala to find work.

Daniel Vicente at home with his family

What really struck me about Daniel was the affection and love between him and his children. He knew that moving to Guatemala would mean he would have to leave his children.

But Daniel had hope. We left with his message, “never be defeated, even if you were feeling as if you were defeated”.

Aspire not to have more, but to be more

Oscar Romero once famously said, ‘aspire not to have more, but to be more’. The people of Puentecitos are a living example of this message. They aim to be more in what and who they are, as well as in what they can achieve.

Maybe Romero’s message and the way the people of Puentecitos live their lives is something we could learn from?

To read a longer version of this blog, and hear more about James’ experiences in El Salvador, visit the CAFOD Lancaster blog.

Applications are now open for next year’s Step into the Gap programme.  It’s a unique and special way to learn more about yourself and the wider world we live in. For more information click here.

Did you know you can buy a Romero cross here?

Adrian Chiles visited Sibia too and discovered the benefits of the amazing Chirpy Chickens World Gift.  See the film clip here

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Filed under CAFOD, Connect2, Connect2ElSalvador, El Salvador, Latin America and Carribean

Adrian Chiles: World Gifts video diary part two

The best gift money can buy

In part two of his video diary Adrian Chiles travels to La Natividad, a rural community in Guatemala.

Here he sees the CAFOD World Gift: Healthy mum and baby in action. He travels with an outreach team who support the mums and children of the parish with medical care, advice and nutritional supplements. Continue reading

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Filed under CAFOD, Guatemala, Latin America and Carribean, UK, World Gifts

Adrian Chiles: World Gifts video diary part one

Down on the chicken farm

TV’s Adrian Chiles travels to Central America to see how CAFOD World Gifts really do make a difference. In part one of his video diary, he meets Sivia and her family, their real life World Gifts Chirpy chickens, and learns how this World Gift benefits people in many ways.

Continue reading

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Filed under CAFOD, El Salvador, Guatemala, Latin America and Carribean, World Gifts

World Gifts from CAFOD: cake sale in Loreto

Pens, pencils, books, a uniform. At first these seem like quite ordinary things that many of us are thinking about as the new term is upon us, and yet for many people in developing countries – where many families can’t afford to send their children to school – these things are life-changing.

School Starter Kit World Gift from CAFODCAFOD’s new range of World Gifts are available now, and the School Starter Pack is just one of the gifts available to buy, and at just £7 is quite far from ordinary. In fact, that’s just what students at Loreto High School in Chorlton thought this month when they came together in their Justice and Peace group to raise money to buy a selection of World Gifts.

Loreto High Salford cake sale for CAFOD World Gifts

Loreto High Salford cake sale for CAFOD World Gifts

Raising around £70 through selling an amazing array of cakes for their classmates, the J&P group decided to buy a selection of gifts, including one of these School Starter Packs.

School Starter pack for £7

This gift simply means that the students are helping other children go to school.

This gift can provide a child with pens, books, school fees and daily meals – everything they need to attend school and fulfil their potential.

James from Tanzania

James from Tanzania

James is just 16 years old and lives in Tanzania, but he has big ambitions. “I want to be somebody to remember, a remarkable person,” he says. Thanks to CAFOD paying his school fees and providing essentials like notebooks and pens, James is now studying at Mairiva Secondary School.

Like thousands of children and young people in Tanzania, James has already had to overcome a lot of tragedy and hardship just to get to school. “My father passed away when I was in class three and my mother when I was in class seven. I now live with my sister in her home and CAFOD help pay my school fees.”

Despite his difficult start in life, James is now thriving and is top of his class. One day, he hopes his hard work will pay off so he can fulfil his dream of becoming an accountant.

Here are the other gifts they purchased with their cake sale money:

School Starter pack for £7

Gift of Refuge and safety for £10

Teach someone to read for £10

Vegetable garden for £10

Drought resistant crops for £12

Chirpy chickens for £20

The Loreto students will now receive a beautifully illustrated card which explains how their gift is helping people fighting poverty in developing countries. In the meantime, the £69 they spent will go into the appropriate World Gifts Fund – and help to pay for similar work around the world.

World Gifts from CAFOD catalogue

World Gifts from CAFOD catalogue

Over the last few years, up and down the country, CAFOD supporters have been using World Gifts to fundraise in solidarity with the world’s poorest people.

Well done to everyone at Loreto High school for raising money to buy World gifts, they really do make a world of difference. Check out our brand new World Gifts range at cafod.org.uk/worldgifts

There are so many ways to get involved with World Gifts this year, with a range of resources to support lessons and worship that can be downloaded from cafod.org.uk/groupgifts

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Filed under Advent, Africa, CAFOD, Local CAFOD event, Tanzania

Great generation: at Winter Wonderland

Young CAFOD Group raises over £1, 000 at Winter Wonderland

On Sunday 20 November 2011 I and 15 teenagers opened up St Peter’s and Paul’s Church hall in the Diocese of Westminster for yet another Winter Wonderland fundraiser.

We had everything from Krispy Kreme doughnut stands to an old fashioned sweet shop, handmade Christmas cards, a World Gifts stall, tombolas an

Winter Wonderland

This year we made an amazing total of over £1, 000, in just over 4 hours

d raffles and not forgetting of course , a very highly requested Santa’s Grotto, all in the hope of raising some money for CAFOD.

It’s never too late to buy a World Gift >>
You can send a free CAFOD Christmas E-card too >>

This year we made an amazing total of over £1, 000, in just over 4 hours, which isn’t bad at all for a group of teenagers on a Sunday morning! All the money we make goes to an amazing organisation that helps to end poverty and injustice in over 40 countries all over the globe: CAFOD.

We had amazing feedback about our event and ended up enjoying it just as much as everyone who came along. We all can’t wait to bring on next year’s. Let’s hope it’s just as good!

Did you know our A-Z of Fundraising has lots of ideas for your events in 2012?

Sign up to our Great generation enews here and join us on Facebook at facebook.com/CAFODGreatGeneration for more great stories and to tell us yours.

About the author: Alexander Ferguson is a member of the Young CAFOD Group at St Peter’s and St Paul’s Catholic Church in the Diocese of Westminster and co-organised the parish Winter Wonderland event.

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Filed under fundraising, greatgeneration, youth action