Working together to survive, rebuild and heal

With your essential support, our local experts are ready to put a three-part plan into action that will save lives and protect the incredible progress we’ve made towards a fairer world, for everyone. Geoff O’Donoghue, CAFOD’s Director of Operations, explains how.

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How I’m showing solidarity during the coronavirus pandemic

Abigail McMillan, a parish volunteer at St Mary’s Parish in Harborne, explains what global solidarity means to her during the coronavirus pandemic.

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The crucial role of local experts fighting Covid-19

Kayode Akintola is CAFOD’s country representative in Sierra Leone and Liberia. He tells us how volunteers fought on the front line in the Ebola crisis and how these countries are preparing for Covid-19.

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Zimbabwe: the country of my birth

“Much has been spoken and written about the country of my birth,” says Sylvester Mutsigwa. A year on from Cyclone Idai, CAFOD’s Community Participation Coordinator for Birmingham visited Zimbabwe and found that its recovery is being built on the hope, resilience and love of its people.

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Indonesia earthquake and tsunami: Residents remain positive 12 months on

Yael Eshel is CAFOD’s Emergency Response Officer for Indonesia. Here she shares stories from a recent visit to Indonesia’s Central Sulawesi province, where she met families affected by the devastating earthquake and tsunami in 2018, and found out how they are rebuilding their lives thanks to donations from CAFOD supporters.

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Ebola in the DRC: Learning from the past

Laura Purves, one of CAFOD’s Emergency Response Officers, reflects on her experiences in Sierra Leone during the Ebola epidemic in 2015 – in particular, what was learned that can be used to help in the Democratic Republic of Congo now.

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“Our needs back home are being considered”

Allie Phillip leads Caritas St Lucia’s ‘Youth Emergency Action Committees’ (YEACs), which help vulnerable communities be their own first responders when disasters strike.

St Lucia is in the ‘hurricane belt’ of the Caribbean. The YEACs are run by young people who train other community members to be prepared for, mitigate, and manage responses to extreme weather.

Allie also coordinates the Church’s regional emergency response and the network of YEACs in the Caribbean. Hurricane Irma in 2017 was a particularly bad hurricane, killing people and destroying communities in 14 countries.

Here, Allie offers Sam from our campaigns team her reflections on her current work, climate change and young people.

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The role of an aid worker

Timothy Cohen from CAFOD’s emergency response team reflect back on his visit to Nepal. He talks about the role of an aid worker.

If someone tells you they’re an ‘aid worker’, how would you picture them? You probably think of someone who’s any (or all) of the following:

  • Photogenic (which rules me out!)
  • EmotiveFunded by EU
  • Holding a clipboard in a t-shirt with a cool logo

That’s certainly how we (the aid sector) have sold ourselves to the public for the past 20 years. It’s good for our image and our branding. And it’s not untrue either; but it doesn’t tell the whole story.

But if you’ve paid close attention, maybe you’ve noticed this narrative changing slightly over the past few years? Maybe you’ve noticed that members of the local communities, and the organisations that they work for, are in the spotlight more and more?

Help us respond to emergencies

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Freetown’s long road to recovery

Kathleen O’Brien works in the schools team and travelled to Sierra Leone with the Step into the Gap volunteers earlier this year. 

Entering Sierra Leone’s capital on a quiet morning, I could hear the happy cries of children echoing out of the glassless windows of the Malamakaningo pre-primary school.

This was a stark contrast from a year ago. In August 2017 the school was used to shelter people who had lost their homes in a disaster from which Freetown is only beginning to recover. Torrential rain battered the city for three days, and in the early hours of August 14, floodwaters and landslides ploughed through the areas surrounding the capital, killing 1,141 people and displacing three times that number.

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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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