Humanitarian aid is more than food. It is a sign of hope.

In March 2017, a drought in east Africa, combined with terrible violence between the government and rebels, had created a famine in South Sudan. One of CAFOD’s staff based in the country, Emergency Programme Manager Michael O’Riordan, visited people in March to give out food. At that time he reflected on the emotion and power of the experience.

A haunting refrain

When I was leaving Yirol in central South Sudan following a food distribution, an elderly gentleman in his late 60s kept asking why he wasn’t on the list to receive food. He couldn’t work and therefore couldn’t earn a living. Clearly disabled and using a walking stick, he kept pleading “why am I not deserving?”.

This haunting refrain has echoed in my ears ever since.  It is not that he is not deserving; we just don’t have enough for everyone.

You can help food to people who are going hungry – donate to CAFOD’s emergency work

Having returned to this community after just a few months since the last food distribution, we found a bad situation far worse than we could have imagined. Although we are responding as best we can, it is beyond our ability to meet all needs.

Continue reading “Humanitarian aid is more than food. It is a sign of hope.”

Working in emergencies: meet Zoë, our Emergency Support Officer

Zoë Corden tells us what it is like working for CAFOD’s Emergency Response Team and what a typical day in the office is like for her. 

What is your role at CAFOD?

I am an Emergency Support Officer in the Emergency Response Team. We are a small team of people who are sent into all types of emergencies that CAFOD responds to. My job is to help CAFOD partners when an emergency happens.

What kind of emergencies does CAFOD respond to?

We respond to a range of emergencies and no two are the same. There are ‘rapid onset’ emergencies, that hit suddenly, like earthquakes and floods, which you’ll usually see in the news; but there are also smaller emergencies that sadly don’t make the news, or receive so much money, despite many people being affected – we call these ‘hidden’ emergencies.

Find out how the Emergency Response Team helps people caught in emergencies

Continue reading “Working in emergencies: meet Zoë, our Emergency Support Officer”

East Africa Food Crisis: “Nothing would break their resolve.”

CAFOD’s Africa News Officer, David Mutua, visited South Sudan in March to see how the money donated by you to CAFOD’s East Africa Crisis Appeal was helping people at risk of dying from hunger.

Mary Akoye, a mother of seven girls and three boys, is partially blind. Frail from years of toil and hardship, the clothes that Mary wears hang loosely over her thin frame.

You can give food to people suffering from hunger – Donate to CAFOD’s Emergency work

Journey to Mary’s new home

I met Mary in the small village of Billing in South Sudan. It took a long time to get here – we travelled for over a day, through several towns and along dusty earth roads. You have to take a UN flight to Bor where you wait for a helicopter to take you across the Nile.

Continue reading “East Africa Food Crisis: “Nothing would break their resolve.””

Bishop John’s last couple of days in Niger

Bishop John Arnold, CAFOD’s Chair of Trustees, has now returned from visiting Niger. He visited CAFOD partners there and our Hands On Doutchi project. Read more about this trip here. 

Bishop John Arnold, CAFOD Chair of Trustees
Bishop John Arnold at a UK event in 2016

Hands On is a special series of CAFOD projects that allows you to support a specific community with a project. Our latest project in Bolivia is still open for new supporters to join. 

Day five – return to the city

Today was the long journey back to the capital city of Niamey. The journey was certainly long but by no means tedious and I keep reminding myself of the privilege of being here and experiencing the life of the people and a place which could not be much further removed from life in Manchester.

Continue reading “Bishop John’s last couple of days in Niger”

Bishop John visits Hands On Doutchi

The Chair of CAFOD’s Trustees, Bishop John Arnold, is visiting Niger to see our projects, including our Hands On Doutchi project. Bishop John is also keen to build stronger links with the local Catholic Church.

Children from Doutch waving
Everyone in Doutchi was very excited for the Hands On project.

Hands On is a special series of CAFOD projects that allows you to support a specific community with a project. Our latest project in Bolivia is still open for new supporters. Find out more about Hands On in Bolivia

Bishop John’s first blog describes his initial impressions; he has been travelling out to see projects over the last two days…

Continue reading “Bishop John visits Hands On Doutchi”

Bishop John’s diary from Niger

Bishop John Arnold, CAFOD’s Chair of Trustees, is currently visiting Niger. He will be visiting CAFOD partners there, including our Hands On Doutchi project. Bishop John is also keen to build stronger links with the local Catholic Church. 

Hands On is a special series of CAFOD projects that allows you to support a specific community with a project. Our latest project in Bolivia is still open for new supporters. Find out more about Hands On in Bolivia

Continue reading “Bishop John’s diary from Niger”

Connect2: Ethiopia: Standing with Sebeya

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rVvSKkmwcBg?rel=0&w=560&h=315]

Maggie Guy is a CAFOD volunteer from Birmingham diocese. Here she tells us how her parish has been fundraising for the Connect2: Ethiopia scheme.

Our Parish of Corpus Christi in Headington (Oxford) and Our Lady of Lourdes in Wheatley started supporting the community of Sebeya in Ethiopia in 2015. The project has really captured the enthusiasm of the parish and so far we have raised over £3,000.

Sign your parish up to Connect2: Ethiopia

We have raised money through a variety of activities: In April we had an Ethiopian evening where we enjoyed some delicious Ethiopian food, held a traditional coffee ceremony and had an illustrated talk from Tony Fitzgerald, a parishioner from our previous Parish in Camberley, who had visited the area. His pictures of a completed irrigation project in nearby Biera, supported by CAFOD Connect2, were profoundly moving; we could see a green valley, in marked contrast to the surrounding arid region, which should help protect the community from drought.  Continue reading “Connect2: Ethiopia: Standing with Sebeya”

Hands On: Water returns to Kitui

Africa-Kitui-Hands-On-community-wavingAbout this project: The community of Kitui in Kenya have spent two years working on a project to re-sculpt their landscape and bring back a sustainable supply of water. This has all been possible thanks to generous supporters in the UK. Our next project is beginning soon – find out more and get involved.

Over the last two years we have planted trees, dug terraces, built dams and learned everything necessary to bring safe water back to the Kitui community.

People’s lives will now be transformed – so many opportunities will open up now that people here don’t have to walk for many miles each day just to have enough to drink. Continue reading “Hands On: Water returns to Kitui”

How far does your Gift Aid go?

Haoua Balma at St Augustine Health Centre, Niamey.
The Gift Aid on a £10 Fast Day donation – £2.50 – could pay for antibiotics at a health centre in Niger.

Grace Cowley coordinates CAFOD’s Lent Fast Day Appeal. Here she tells us why she’s so passionate about Gift Aid and the difference it makes to CAFOD’s partners around the world.

The Gift Aid system, which gives back tax to charities from donations from tax payers, has just turned 25 years old. You’ll have seen Gift Aid forms when making donations, but it may surprise you just how special this little form is.

“It might just be a drop in the ocean, but the ocean is made up of lots of drops.”  Evelina Manola, Caritas Hellas in Greece

In the past 25 years, CAFOD has received £42 million in Gift Aid. That money can be used for any project around the world, which means it can pay for work in places of great poverty, which perhaps aren’t in the headlines.

Find resources to start fundraising for Lent Fast Day 2016

This is the heart of why Gift Aid is brilliant – because it enables more people to overcome poverty and injustice. The Gift Aid on £1 – 25p – could buy enough rice to feed a family for a day after a natural disaster. The Gift Aid on a £10 Fast Day donation – £2.50 – could pay for antibiotics at a health centre in Niger. Continue reading “How far does your Gift Aid go?”

Hands On Kitui: Happy New Year to all our supporters

Hello and a very happy New Year from everyone in Kitui. The end of our two year project is just a few months away and so we are hard at work ensuring that our project here will be a great success.

Those of you who are sent Side by Side will have received your special DVD – for those of you who are not, Here is this personal message from everyone in Kitui.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C7cgErVEeSg?rel=0&controls=0&showinfo=0&w=560&h=315]

If you’d like to send a message back, please leave one in the comments! Continue reading “Hands On Kitui: Happy New Year to all our supporters”