Step into the Gap: Strength in adversity

Bridgid Duffy, Sophie Bray and Sophie Hull, who are all currently taking part in the Step into the Gap programme, share their experiences of meeting an inspirational business woman in her bustling Ethiopian café.  

Sophie Hull, Hannah, Lemlem, Bridgid and Sophie Bray in Mekelle.
Sophie Hull, Hannah, Lemlem, Bridgid and Sophie Bray in Mekelle.

After a long journey, we arrived in Mekelle. Before we had even left the bus, we were greeted with open arms and open hearts and welcomed into the home of the Daughters of Charity.

After the inspirational time that we spent in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, we had travelled up to a beautiful city in Northern Ethiopia called Mekelle, located in the Tigray province. We were staying with CAFOD partners, the Daughters of Charity, and were planning to meet some of the people who the charity has been supporting for many years with their HIV and AIDS livelihood projects.

Find out more about Step into the Gap

One of the Daughters of Charity’s main focuses is enabling the empowerment of women. During their time in Mekelle the Daughters of Charity have committed to challenging gender inequality in the region, an issue which is prominent.

Continue reading “Step into the Gap: Strength in adversity”

Step into the Gap: A diagnosis does not define you

 Hannah Henley, who is currently taking part in CAFOD’s Step in the Gap, writes this report about meeting an inspirational mother and son in Ethiopia. She explains how with the help of CAFOD’s local partners, people are not only living but thriving with a HIV positive status.

Step into the Gap volunteers with Sr Evlyn, who works at the Daughters of Charity HIV project.
Step into the Gap volunteers with Sr Evlyn, who works at the Daughters of Charity HIV project.

The first few days of our Ethiopian adventure have been full of inspiration, admiration and flavour. We have been staying with CAFOD partners, The Daughters of Charity, in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.

Find out more about Step into the Gap

I think I can speak for the whole group when I say we couldn’t have wished for a warmer welcome – and that’s nothing to do with the 27 degrees weather. We have been lucky enough to spend time three wonderful sisters, CAFOD staff, and are getting to know our driver Soloman.

The Daughters of Charity run a HIV and AIDS clinic. The project provides testing for HIV, a HIV prevention programme, financial support, heath and sanitation training and business training.

Continue reading “Step into the Gap: A diagnosis does not define you”

One community, two years and 25 million litres of water – the Hands On story in Kenya

Starting in April 2014, nearly two thousand dedicated CAFOD supporters joined Hands On, and over the past two years have been funding an incredible water project in Kitui, eastern Kenya. As the project comes to an end, Sally Kitchener looks at the impact of these generous donations.

Tabitha records the rainfall in Kitui, Kenya
Tabitha records the rainfall in Kitui, Kenya

Tabitha holds the small plastic rain gauge up to the light to take the reading. She carefully leans over, balances a blue chart on her knee and writes down the measurement. It’s another zero. It should be the beginning of the rainy season here in Kitui, Kenya, but Tabitha’s rain gauge hasn’t recorded a drop of rain for months.

Two years ago, the late rains would have been a disaster for Tabitha and her family. With their local reservoir dried up, and the nearest river two hours’ walk away, the lack of rain would have meant thirst, hunger, and illness. But since then, Tabitha’s life has changed dramatically.

£21 a month, over two years, can build a water storage tank to irrigate a whole farm

In just 24 months, Tabitha, along with 1,440 women and men in her community, and more than 1,700 CAFOD supporters, have worked together to restore their reservoir and bring water back to Kitui. Continue reading “One community, two years and 25 million litres of water – the Hands On story in Kenya”

HIV and AIDS: An emergency once again

Harriet Jones, CAFOD’s HIV Advisor, talks about her experience at the recent International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.

Harriet Jones, CAFOD’s HIV Advisor, talks about her experience at the recent International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.                                                         

Find out more about our HIV and AIDS work

The International AIDS conference brings people, involved in every aspect of HIV

AIDS conference 2016_2
21 International AIDS conference (2016) Durban, South Africa 22/07/2016. Durban ICC Random Pictures Photo International AIDS society / Abhi Indrarajan

response, together – from activists to health care workers, non-governmental organisations to pharmaceutical companies. Faith leaders to scientists, celebrities to government officials, and most importantly, women, men, and young people from around the world, living with and affected by living with and affected by HIV and AIDS

The AIDS conference was last held in Durban in 2000, in Durban, South Africa. Then, the epidemic was considered an emergency, with significant numbers of people dying each month, without access to the antiretroviral treatment keeping people alive, that we have now.

Watch our HIV/AIDS animation 

The theme of the conference was ‘breaking the silence’. Nelson Mandela addressed those in Durban, and called upon the world to, “break the silence, banish stigma and discrimination, and ensure total inclusiveness within the struggle against AIDS.” Continue reading “HIV and AIDS: An emergency once again”

Thank you from Kitui: “God knows that you have helped us”

As our Hands On Kitui journey comes to an end, three people who have worked on the project share their thanks. George Wambugu, CAFOD’s water specialist, worked on the water project right from the beginning during the planning stages.

George Wambugu, CAFOD's water specialist
George Wambugu, CAFOD’s water specialist

As a water expert, I know how vital it is to have access to water all year round – vital for the health and wellbeing not only of the people, but of the animals and plants. So I am immensely excited to be able to tell you that, after two years of hard work, the community in Kitui now have reliable access to clean water.

Looking to the coming years, I know that the great dam and the wells are going to provide water for the whole community, even in the dry seasons.

Thank you so much for all your donations, prayers and love over the past two years. We couldn’t have achieved this without you.

Donate to bring water to another community in Bolivia

Continue reading “Thank you from Kitui: “God knows that you have helped us””

Clean water is vital – How Mike from Liverpool brought water to a remote Kenyan community

A young boy washes his hands in Musosya, Kenya
Clean water is vital for good health and hygiene

Mike Gilligan from Liverpool Diocese is one of 1,700 Hands On supporters who were all inspired to fund a two-year water project in Kitui, Kenya. Hands On supporters in England and Wales followed the community’s progress in Kitui, and each month sent vital donations, encouragement and prayers.

Mike shares why Hands On is so special to him.

I first heard about Hands On through a flyer. It sounded like a very good idea, as the community were helping themselves and not relying on external organisations. It also gave me the opportunity to do my bit. I am helping someone, somewhere, in a place I can’t dream of seeing. Here in the UK we have an over-plentiful supply of water, but people in Kenya have such little water to work with. Clean water is vital – that’s why I signed up to help. Continue reading “Clean water is vital – How Mike from Liverpool brought water to a remote Kenyan community”

Letter from Stella in Kenya

Stella took part in our first Hands On project in Kitui, Kenya. Over two years, hundreds of people in Kitui were supported by more than 1,700 CAFOD supporters to rebuild their community dam and bring water back to the area. Having water nearby means families can irrigate their crops and don‘t have to spend hours walking to and from the river each day.

Stella winnows mung beans grown on her farm.
Thanks to your generous donations, Stella is able to irrigate her farm and grow food for her family.

Dear friends,

I am very grateful to you for giving donations and enabling us to carry out this project.

The project has meant I am able to get a job and manage a small income. With my income I am able to buy seeds for my farm and cement so I can build a strong house. Before there was such a challenge with food that I had to divert all my energy and resources to food.

Hear Stella describe what life was like in her community

Thanks to the Hands On project activities, even at this time of year before the rains have come, we have food stored. I am able to harvest enough and still have surplus to sell so I can pay for my kids to go to school. Last term I sold beans to the school in exchange for school fees. Continue reading “Letter from Stella in Kenya”

Being good neighbours and getting hands on

Damian Conlin works in CAFOD’s Fundraising team, and has been involved in our Hands On projects from the beginning. Our first Hands On project in Kitui, Kenya finished recently – explore it on our website

A group from Hands On Kitui waving
The original Hands On group in Kitui waving to their friends around the world.

Our desire to be connected

There has been a lot of comment in the last few weeks – off the back of our recent referendum – on what that vote to leave the EU says for our collective desire to stay connected to others. And, more specifically, what it says about our willingness to offer help to those outside our own borders. To be good neighbours.

So, with those questions in my mind, I’d like to say a big thank you to everyone who supports CAFOD and makes our work possible.

Because, through that support, you restore my confidence in people’s goodness. Continue reading “Being good neighbours and getting hands on”

Ethiopia Food Crisis: Drought seeps into every part of people’s lives

CAFOD’s World News Manager, Nana Anto-Awuakye has returned from Ethiopia where 10 million people currently face extreme hunger. She visited CAFOD’s partners in the northeast of the country to see how they are trying to tackle the devastating effects of the worst drought the country has seen in 30 years.

CAFOD Ethiopia Food Crisis appeal - Baraki with cow
CAFOD is appealing for urgent funds for Ethiopia to respond to the devastating food shortage.

It’s time to shout about what is happening to the people of Ethiopia. The crisis they face right now may not have featured in much of our press, but lives depend on us making a noise about it now.

Donate to CAFOD’s Ethiopia Food Crisis Appeal

The drought, which has left 10 million hungry and 1.5 million young children, pregnant and breastfeeding mothers in need of food supplements, has been caused by an El Niño weather pattern. The UN’s World Meteorological Organisation warned last November that the current El Niño is the strongest in more than 15 years and will cause severe droughts and devastating flooding throughout the tropics and sub-tropical zones of the planet. Continue reading “Ethiopia Food Crisis: Drought seeps into every part of people’s lives”

Ethiopia appeal: Betam amasayganalo Ethiopia!

Today more than 10 million women, men and children in Ethiopia are struggling with severe hunger caused by drought. With CAFOD working to respond, Jade Till, from our news team, describes her experience of the country’s rich culture and natural beauty.

CAFOD Children in Ethiopia play by the side of a river
“Ethiopia is where life happens”

Ethiopia is where life happens. Recently, Ethiopia has been in the news due to a widespread drought. What’s rarely told is the wondrous beauty of Ethiopia. It’s a dynamic country, rich in culture and history, I’m fortunate enough to have experienced it.

Donate to CAFOD’s Ethiopia Food Crisis Appeal

Coffee!

Probably what Ethiopia is most well-known for is coffee. Anyone who’s met me for longer than five minutes knows I’m a coffee drinker. Ethiopia is why I love, and drink, so much coffee.

I remember experiencing my first traditional coffee ceremony. No matter where I was in Ethiopia or if I was in the city or a rural village, the coffee was always served in a traditional style. Grass (even in areas where I hadn’t seen grass for days) is laid out around the coffee area. The woman making the coffee always wore a traditional, flowing, white gown. The coffee beans would be; washed, roasted, crushed, mixed into hot water, and then placed in a traditional coffee pot. The coffee would be shared and you would always drink seven cups of coffee during the coffee ceremony! Ethiopian coffee is extremely strong; it’s also extremely delicious.

Meet the tiny breakfast grain helping to save lives

Continue reading “Ethiopia appeal: Betam amasayganalo Ethiopia!”