Daniel Collins works in CAFOD’s Fundraising team focussing on our Hands On initiative.
One of the most exciting parts of my job is working on Hands On – a scheme which enables you to support a specific community as they undertake an ambitious project that will change their lives. Our first project in Kitui, Kenya, started one year ago, and aims to bring water to the community by transforming the local landscape.
One of the really interesting things about Hands On is that, because people’s donations go towards one specific project, and because we gather lots of information about the project to send out to Hands On supporters every month, it really creates a strong emotional bond between the Catholic community here in England and Wales and the community in Kitui. Something I have been very keen to do is to find ways for supporters to send their own messages of encouragement to Kitui.
Last Christmas everyone who had donated to Hands On was sent a card with a message from Kitui and a postcard where they could add their own personal Christmas message in response. The postcards were then sent on to Kenya where they were shared with members of the community and our local partners.
I was delighted by how many hundreds of people took up the opportunity, and was deeply touched by the messages people chose to send. I would like to share a few of these messages with you now.
Elaine wrote: “To all my brothers and sisters in Kitui, praying that you will have a happy and healthy Christmas. We may be divided by land and sea but we are one in Christ. I will be praying that God will bless you with a bumper harvest of crops for all your hard work. God bless you all and I will continue to pray for you and your country.”
While Donna sent this message: “Wow! What a great and happy photo and achievement. The project fills me with joy and I have shared the story so far with friends and family. You will be in my thoughts and prayers at Christmas and forever.”
Sentiments like this really do make me feel humbled to be playing my small part in this Hands On project, and I know that they gave such happiness to all in Kitui who read them. I would like to offer my own personal thanks to every single person who has been so generous to support this project, and to those who are supporting our latest Hands On project in Niger. I would like to end with these words, from another supporter – Dorothy, which I think sum up Hands On perfectly.
“Thank you to all the lovely people in your Christmas photo. Your work to restore the land to productivity is so inspiring, that we are honoured to do what we can to give help in this small way. Have a happy Christmas and all good wishes for the work in the new year. God Bless.”