Rohingya Crisis Appeal: Caritas volunteers join relief efforts

Tom Delamere is CAFOD’s Bangladesh Programme Officer. Here he tells us about his recent visits to Bangladesh, a country struggling to cope with the arrival of more than 582,000 refugees from Myanmar, on top of the devastating effects of recent flooding.

On landing in Dhaka, Bangladesh’s bustling capital city, two things immediately strike you. The first is the close, warm climate; growing up in the North of England didn’t really prepare me for South Asia’s summer temperatures. The second is just how busy the roads and streets are, ringing with vehicle horns, rickshaw bells and the movement of crowds of people.

Please donate to CAFOD’s Rohingya Crisis Appeal 

What sticks in my mind the most about the country is the hospitality shown by its people – a warm welcome, a cup of char and an engaging conversation are never far away.

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Why should we protect human rights?

Our belief in the inherent dignity of every person calls us to protect the rights of everyone in our human family. We ask people from some of the organisations we work with why protecting rights is essential if everyone is to reach their God-given potential.

Speak out about human rights – become a campaigner with CAFOD

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Defending rights in Brazil: supporting our brothers and sisters living in favelas

Tony Sheen is CAFOD’s Community Participation Coordinator for Westminster Diocese. Here he looks back on a memorable visit to São Paulo’s favelas in Brazil. He explains how seeing the Church ‘in action’ defending the human rights of those in need continues to inspire him.

A couple of years ago I was lucky enough to visit São Paulo and meet some of the people supported by CAFOD’s partners. Early one morning I travelled with Heluiza and Osmar from our partner APOIO, to visit a shanty town to the east of the city called Electropaulo Favela, where over 1200 families live in abject poverty.

5 human rights violations CAFOD partners are working on

 

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“I wanted to be more dead than alive.” Meet one woman building peace in Colombia

For more than fifty years Colombia has been ravaged by an armed conflict that has impacted the lives of millions of people. Despite a peace deal with the FARC guerrillas, there has been an alarming increase in attacks against human rights defenders.  CAFOD’s Laura Ouseley meets Liney Contreras, one the women who is speaking out.

“When I was younger I wanted to be a teacher” says Liney. “But that all changed. After the attack I wanted to be more dead than alive. My dreams went out the window.”

Liney Contreras, from Colombia, is telling me about the moment her life changed forever when she was just 16 years old. She was in Medellin to register for university, walking with two friends when a car bomb went off. “I lost my right arm and broke my leg in the explosion. I spent 6 months in hospital.”

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Nepal earthquake: bringing innovation to steep slopes

Bhawanatha Paudel is being helped by CAFOD to make a good living two years on from the Nepal earthquake.
Bhawanatha Paudel is being helped by CAFOD to make a good living two years on from the Nepal earthquake.

Two years on from the massive Nepal earthquakes, Milan Mukhia, who is based in Kathmandu and works for CAFOD’s partner, Cordaid, tells us about an innovative way your donations are helping people get back on their feet.

On 25 April 2015, a devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit the area to the north of Kathmandu in Nepal. This was the country’s worst disaster in living memory; nearly 9,000 people died, thousands more were injured, and 600,000 lost their homes and income.

Just over two weeks later, on 12 May, a second 7.3 magnitude earthquake hit Nepal, adding to the destruction.

Please pray for people affected by the Nepal Earthquakes

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Spotlight on Brazil: protecting indigenous peoples

Esther Gillingham is CAFOD’s Brazil Programme Officer. As the Olympic Games get underway in Rio, this World Indigenous Day (9 August) Esther turns the spotlight on our work with Brazil’s indigenous peoples.

Brazil is once again under the world’s spotlight. Just two years ago, Brazil spent roughly USD3.6bn of public money on stadiums for the 2014 World Cup. Now, when 25.8 million Brazilians live in poverty, and the country is experiencing its worst political and economic crisis in decades, Brazil is hosting a second mega sporting event: the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro from 5 to 21 August.

7 facts about Brazil you probably won’t hear at the Olympics

Brazil’s most vulnerable

In preparation, an estimated £3.8bn of taxpayers’ money has been spent and 77,000 people have been evicted from their homes. Here in the UK, I’ve found it difficult to ignore the headlines about the Zika virus, entrenched political corruption, and Olympics-related security breaches. But we rarely, if ever, hear about the threats posed to Brazil’s poorest and most vulnerable people.

On 14 July 2016, CAFOD’s partner, CIMI Tefé (Indigenous Missionary Council) organised a demonstration of indigenous leaders in defence of their rights, and presented a petition to the authorities demanding effective implementation of public policies. (Credit: CIMI Tefe)
On 14 July 2016, CAFOD’s partner, CIMI Tefé (Indigenous Missionary Council) organised a demonstration of indigenous leaders in defence of their rights, and presented a petition to the authorities demanding effective implementation of public policies. (Credit: CIMI Tefe)

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Spotlight on Brazil: Passing on the Olympic torch

John McBride carrying the Olympic flame trough Barnard Castle
John McBride carrying the Olympic flame through Barnard Castle

John McBride is CAFOD’s Learning and Development Coordinator. Here he shares his fond memories of carrying the Olympic flame for CAFOD, and about meeting some of the partners who have inspired him to continue speaking out to protect our common home.

We are shining a light on Brazil this Olympic Games

2012 was a big year in Britain, Bradley Wiggins won the Tour de France, Andy Murray won at Wimbledon and Rory McIlroy won the US PGA. We also hosted the Olympic Games that proved to be a triumph. We showed the rest of the world that we were good at sports. In a small County Durham town, I made my contribution to the summer of sport by carrying the Olympic flame, representing CAFOD supporters and partners through the market town of Barnard Castle.

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Connect2: Brazil: communities connected through the power of cake

The Chesham Union of Catholic Mothers at St. Columba’s RC Church have baked hundreds of cakes to raise funds for Connect2: Brazil
The Chesham Union of Catholic Mothers at St. Columba’s RC Church have baked hundreds of cakes to raise funds for Connect2: Brazil

The Chesham Union of Catholic Mothers (UCM) group at St. Columba’s RC Church have a long history of supporting CAFOD’s work with our partners in Brazil. Starting from fundraising to supporting children in need in general, they explain how they came to be a Connect2: Brazil parish.

Learn more about Connect2: Brazil

We have always raised money for children who were in need and following a presentation about sewer children in Mexico, we decided to change the focus to South America. Parishioners, past and present, of St. Columba’s RC Church in Chesham have regularly and for many years donated to CAFOD via the CAFOD Envelopes. CAFOD has been an organisation dearly close to our hearts and is always well supported within the parish.

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Colombia’s future hinges on an inclusive peace deal that recognises human rights

Monsignor Hector Fabio Henao, CAFOD partner Caritas Colombia
Monsignor Hector Fabio Henao is Director of CAFOD partner Caritas Colombia.

Monsignor Héctor Fabio Henao, Director of Caritas Colombia, is a long-standing partner of CAFOD. For years he has been close to efforts by the Catholic Church to negotiate peace with all parties involved in the conflict in Colombia.

Here he reflects on the news that the Colombian Government and the FARC guerrilla have signed  a bilateral ceasefire agreement; the first time both parties have agreed to put down their arms in over 50 years of conflict.

News that the Colombian Government and FARC guerrillas have agreed a bilateral ceasefire could herald a fresh start for a country that has witnessed the longest-running internal conflict in the western hemisphere.

Find out more about the peace process in Colombia

In the past half-century, at least 220,000 people have been killed in my country. More than 25,000 are missing, more than 6 million have been displaced, and thousands have suffered sexual violence.

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Hope and grief in Nepal one year after the earthquake

Chris Bain, CAFOD Director, writes about his recent visit to Rasuwa district in Nepal one year on from two devastating earthquakes. Watch a short video of Chris in Nepal and read about some of the families who are rebuilding their lives thanks to donations from CAFOD supporters and the tireless work of our partners.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eb54G9klxnw]

Just over a year ago, a devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit Nepal north of Kathmandu. A few weeks later, on 12 May, another 7.3 magnitude earthquake struck in the northeast of the country. Nearly 9,000 people died, thousands more were injured, and 600,000 lost their homes and livelihoods. One year on, I travelled to Nepal to meet the communities that were affected, and see the work that CAFOD through our partners in Nepal have carried out to help people recover from this tragedy. It was my third visit to Nepal and I was saddened to see the impact of the disaster on the beautiful landscape and villages we passed.

Join CAFOD’s Emergency Response Team and support our work during emergencies

In Rasuwa, near the border with China, I met Kamala Thalea who lost her young son, two daughters and her mother when the earthquake struck. Kamala’s surviving daughter, Asmita aged 13, told me that she survived the earthquake because she was in a wooden section of their home, while her brother, sisters and grandmother were in a section of the house built of stone. Her hip was injured by falling rubble, but still she saved her two-year-old cousin who lay in the debris next door. Kamala was visiting her mother-in-law in a village three hours away, and arrived home the next day to a collapsed home and her lost children.

She said, “My family and old life are gone now, I only have my eldest daughter left with me.” Continue reading “Hope and grief in Nepal one year after the earthquake”