Step into the Gap: Tackling hunger one bowl at a time

Caroline Collins is a Step into the Gap volunteer at Newman University in Birmingham. This week she is getting ready for Family Fast Day.

At Newman University we have been preparing to swap our usual Friday lunch boxes for a simple soup lunch.

CAFOD gap year volunteers 2018/2019
Caroline

For so many of our brothers and sisters around the world, the harvest determines whether their families will go to bed hungry tonight.

For Lilian in Zambia, a good harvest is so important.  It means she can feed herself and her family in the coming months, and sell any extra food to buy school clothes, books and materials to build a home.

Donate to CAFOD’s Fast Day appeal

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Your harvest donations will make a lasting difference

CAFOD’s World News Manager, Nana Anto-Awuakye explains how your donations for Family Fast Day will instill hope into those that see eating as a luxury.

On Sunday 23 September, pottering about in the kitchen, my constant companion – the radio – informs me that this very day is the autumn equinox, when day and night meet as equals, the official start of autumn.

I glance out through the kitchen window onto my garden, and see that the leaves are already falling, and turning their magnificent autumn yellows, browns and berry colours.

Host a Family Fast Day simple meal

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Why are young people at the heart of what we do?

Chris Knowles works in our education team. In this blog he explains why young leadership is essential to CAFOD’s work.

Our new Hands On project in Colombia has young leadership at its heart because young people are not just the future of our world, but as Rosana, involved in the project in Colombia says;

“We have a responsibility towards our country, we are the present”. Rosana

Read about our latest Hands On project

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Reflections on the Zimbabwe election

Dadirai Chikwengo is CAFOD’s Governance Advisor supporting work across Africa, Asia and Latin America. She is currently in Zimbabwe ahead of the first elections since former President, Robert Mugabe – who had been leading the country for over 30 years – stepped down.

In the last five days, I have been taken back to my childhood days. The days when I was a little girl in Gweru. The euphoria and the excitement in the country have taken me back decades to 1980 when Mugabe came into power.  It is winter in Zimbabwe. Not that our winters are grey and wet as some place in the North where I now live. Here most of the vegetation looks brown like fields of wheat ready for harvest. But this winter, the colours on the brown barks of the trees have been unusual. From green, yellow, red, blue, you mention it!

Trees in Zimbabwe covered in election posters
Trees in Zimbabwe covered in election posters

In case you think I am out of my mind – surely who has seen a blue tree? I am not. These are all the colours of posters tied up or pasted on the trees. The colours of posters that are lining the streets or on walls whenever you go. Posters of political parties, the Church or the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission about this election.  I meet people in the streets who are fearlessly open about their candidate of choice. Clad in the colours of their party every time they see someone in the same colours they acknowledge them and loudly say out the slogan ED Pfee (ED enters) or Chamisa chete chete (Chamisa the only one).

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How reading about honey gave me a sweet fundraising idea

Runa volunteers for CAFOD. She tells us why a CAFOD beekeeping project inspired her to want to fund raise.

I recently helped my niece and nephew bake a honey cake for a bake-off challenge for their charity school fair.  A lot of families attended the event  and  it was a real success. It is great to see supporters looking to have a party-like experience while raising some money, although our cake wasn’t the winning cake (I am still sad about that). I believe creating a fun atmosphere is the key in raising money for CAFOD this summer.

Get ideas from CAFOD’s A-Z of fundraising

Beekeeping project

A training workshop in caring for bees. CAFOD's partner in Nicaragua runs a beekeeping project to give women a source of income. They work in a group to care for hives and bees and are then able to sell the honey produced.
CAFOD’s  beekeeping project.

I was inspired by reading about CAFOD’s overseas projects, and I came across the story of Bharoti. Bharoti lives in a village in Bangladesh with her husband. They are poor parents that led a very hard life and struggled to pay for the basics. CAFOD’s beekeeping project gave Bharoti an alternative way to earn money. The project provides training on bee cultivation and advanced bee keeping techniques. They learn about proper nursing, feeding, treatment, and how to make a new queen cell to grow the bee colony.  It is great to hear Bharoti is now an expert on advanced bee keeping technologies, and she also provides technical support to others in the community.

Stories like Bharoti’s prove how beneficial raising money is to families that need support. CAFOD Beekeeping projects provide an income and can create business opportunities.

The project is a source of hope for women where paid work is hard to come by and working with bees has helped build confidence and self-esteem within their communities. That’s surely motivation to want to do fund raise this summer.

Do you feel inspired by CAFOD Beekeeping project and want to show your support? Organise a fundraising event

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Get the most out of your Lent donation

Thank you to everyone who has donated to the Lent Appeal. Your gifts will change lives around the world. And if you donated between 13 February and 12 May, the UK Government will double your donation, giving twice the number of children the opportunity to grow up healthy and strong. Match funding for the appeal has now ended but you can still donate

Runa Begum is a volunteer in CAFOD’s digital team. She tells us why she was so impressed by the opportunity to have your donation doubled this lent, and by CAFOD supporters who continue to donate generously.

For the last few years I have been thinking more about donating with maximum impact – giving so my money goes further to needy causes. I often research the projects charities fund to see how far my pound can go. I think a lot of other people are feeling similar – we want our charitable donations to go as far as possible and to do as much good as possible.

Money raised for CAFOD’s Family Fast Day appeal this Lent will definitely do as much good as possible. Donations will be match funded by the UK Government which means your donation will be doubled, at no extra cost to you. More importantly, it means your gift will have double the impact in communities in Zimbabwe, Eritrea and around the world.

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What Giving up ‘Bad language’ for Lent is teaching me

Blogger Amy has taken up the challenge of giving up ‘Bad words’ this Lent. She tells us how she is getting on and what this challenge is teaching her.

I have now done just over four weeks of my Lent challenge and I have been surprised and amazed each day by my journey so far. I am so humbled by how God has met me in this time.  Each week I have learned something new and been pointed in a new direction. Even in the difficult moments it has still been a joy to experience. I love the fact that God is graciously taking the time to change me.  Change is hard and discipline is even harder. However, I truly think that when God disciplines us this is an expression of love and affection.

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Give it up: my caffeine fast

Charlotte Atkins is a youth leader from Bristol taking the give it up challenge this Lent. Charlotte works in the diocese of Hexham and Newcastle with the Youth Ministry Team.

“Why on earth are you giving up coffee for Lent? Are you brave or foolish?”

Charlotte is fundraising for CAFOD this Lent as part of the give it up challenge
Charlotte is taking the give it up challenge this Lent

Coffee is a common item to give up for Lent, considering how many people drink some sort of hot beverage, whether that be coffee or tea, every single day. It becomes a part of our everyday lives. We get up, get ready and have  a cup of coffee with breakfast. Or, if you’re anything like me, get up and go straight to the kettle. It becomes ritualistic, a need to wake up and to get through the day. I have decided to give coffee up to get myself out of this routine, and to also have a think about what is truly important in our everyday lives.

Donate to CAFOD’s Lent appeal

I want to think about what we need versus what we want. Coffee is definitely not something I need, despite what I often think. If more of us were to take these steps into thinking what do we need and what do others really need, I believe we could take these small steps to making an impact in the world.

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How to mark Family Fast Day in your parish this Lent

Margaret Finn is a CAFOD supporter and parishioner at the Holy Name of Mary church in Middlesbrough. Here, Margaret writes about how the parish prepares for Family Fast Day at Lent.

Margaret is a CAFOD parish volunteer in Middlesbrough
Margaret is a CAFOD parish volunteer in Middlesbrough

Supporting CAFOD’s work is very important to people in our parish. We are always aware of those less fortunate than ourselves. This is across the age range of parishioners – from nursery children to grandparents. Children at St Edward’s, the school next door to the parish where I used to teach, take part with assemblies and fundraising events, while members of our Justice & Peace group help to prepare in the parish ahead of Ash Wednesday.

There are various things we do to get ready for Family Fast Day.

1. Pin up poster and put announcement in newsletter

A Family Fast Day poster
A Family Fast Day poster

Firstly, we have to let people know that Family Fast Day is coming up. We try to put up a poster at the entrance to the church and a notice in the newsletter a few weeks earlier so that people will be thinking about Lent before the season arrives. It’s always eye-catching and reminds us of the difference we can make.

This Lent, donate to CAFOD’s Family Fast Day Appeal.

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The power of a Birth certificate – a World Gifts update

Rachel works for CAFOD. Here she reflects on how meeting Katy, a CAFOD Gapper, helped her to discover the power of a simple birth certificate, and inspired her to create a new, very special virtual gift for CAFOD’s World Gifts collection that will help babies and children around the world.

The importance of a birth certificate

A birth certificate. Every person needs one, it shows our citizenship, lets us get a passport – it tells the world who we are. And I think that here in the UK, we take this simple legal document for granted.

But for people living in poverty, perhaps in rural areas, where babies are born at home, it is often forgotten. And a child without a birth certificate faces problems.

In Zimbabwe, children without a birth certificate cannot go to school, take exams, apply for an ID card, vote, travel, nor access many other basic essential services.

You can buy a Birth certificate World Gift so that a child can go to school

I’ve worked in fundraising for years and am always eager to hear about how donations help. Katy, who recently travelled to Zimbabwe on a gap year trip with CAFOD, told me about the terrible and long-lasting impact of growing up without a birth certificate.

Katy said, “Children around the world continue to grow up without the basic human right of an identity.”

This startling comment gripped me.

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