The coronavirus pandemic has meant that summer plans have had to change as many events have been cancelled. When you are unable to act as planned, it’s easy to feel like your chance to make a difference has gone. Julia Corcoran, Leadership Development Coordinator at CAFOD, reminds us that, despite lockdown, there are still many ways we can make a difference this summer.
We’re now months into lockdown and it’s easy to feel that summer has been cancelled. I know my summer definitely feels on hold. Two of my friends have been forced to postpone their weddings and my family holiday to Ireland, to celebrate my parents’ birthdays, has also been postponed. You may have booked a holiday, or planned to attend an event, or organised a get together with friends and family – all of which are cancelled now.
You may have even organised a fundraiser for CAFOD. Sadly, our fundraisers are cancelled too.
When you are unable to act as planned, it’s easy to feel like your chance to make a difference has gone. But there is good news. Summer is not yet over, and there is a brilliant way you can still make a massive difference.
“All it takes is one good person to restore hope”
This summer, like never before, we are called to be signs of hope for our world. That is why we are asking you to get involved with our Summer of Hope fundraiser. You and your family are invited to be a part of a Summer of Hope, to recreate your cancelled events virtually and to fundraise for CAFOD’s Coronavirus Appeal, ensuring that clean water and food are able to reach those who need them most – vulnerable families across the world who must not be forgotten during this global emergency.
There are lots of ways to get involved: from camping and recreating school sports day in your garden, to hosting a Zoom BBQ or your own summer fair stall. Even better: come up with your own creative way to show hope.
Bernie Goddard had planned to spend the summer walking to Santiago Compostela in Spain to complete the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage. Coronavirus means her plans are cancelled. Instead of Spain, Bernie is planning daily walks from her front doorstep to match the distance of the Camino de Santiago. She is also raising money for CAFOD by asking her friends and family to sponsor her.
Kathleen O’Brien was planning on going on a painting holiday this summer. Sadly, because of coronavirus, she was forced to cancel too. But Kathleen is adapting. Instead of her painting holiday, Kathleen is planning to paint the portrait of a lucky raffle winner. She has asked people to donate to CAFOD, and those that do will have their names entered into a hat. In her own creative way, Kathleen transformed her cancelled plans into support for some of the most vulnerable families in the world. Her creativity is making a genuine difference.
Not all families have access to clean water and soap for hand washing
This past January, I was lucky enough to accompany the Step into the Gap (CAFOD’s special gap year programme) participants to Cambodia. We arrived back in the UK just as hygiene-warning signs were being put up at Heathrow airport, and people with symptoms were being told to isolate.
In Cambodia, we spent three weeks traveling from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap. Throughout the three weeks we met with local experts and the communities that CAFOD has been working alongside. The whole time we were in Cambodia, we were very aware of our hygiene practices – of making sure we washed our hands regularly when we were able to do so, and using antibacterial gel when we were not. This all proved to be great practice for the handwashing we’ve had to do since returning.
This also highlighted to me a problem I noticed in Cambodia: just how often families didn’t have access to water and soap for hand washing.
Some of the people traveling in our group joined a class of children who were learning about the importance of hand washing. They were able to wash their hands at school, but as soon as they went home they no longer had access to essential items like soap.
We know the importance of hygiene and of properly washing our hands as a way to protect ourselves against Covid-19, but what about our sisters and brothers who don’t have access to soap? Or even to clean water?
We have a responsibility to protect our global family – not just our family here in the UK – and your act of hope this summer can make a huge difference. We want families all across the world to no longer ask the question: “How will I keep my child safe if we don’t even have water to wash our hands?” All you have to do is recreate at home the events you will miss this summer – you can even have fun while doing it!
Transform your cancelled plans into a sign of hope and raise money for CAFOD’s coronavirus appeal. Just £6 can buy a hygiene package for a vulnerable family containing soap, washing powder and reusable face masks – things we take for granted, things that will help save lives.