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!
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?”
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Roisin Beirne, CAFOD’s Candlelight Fund Officer, talks about the inspirational families who honour a loved one through CAFOD’s work.
For me, this year has been eventful and full of meaning, as I began my new role in April, looking after our Candlelight Funds. I support those who have lost a loved one and are looking for a way to pay tribute to them through CAFOD’s work. I have been completely overwhelmed by the compassion and generosity shown by those who remember their loved ones in this way. They have welcomed me with a level of warmth that I never imagined would be a part of my job.
CAFOD legacy officer Hannah Caldwell shares the inspiring story of Lisl Steiner, who fled the Nazis, became a teacher and continues to change children’s lives by the gift she left to CAFOD in her will.
There are so many inspirational people at the heart of CAFOD’s work, each with their own story. I’m lucky that in my job every now and then I get to hear a little more of some of these stories.
One that I often think of is that of Lisl Steiner, who supported CAFOD for many years and remembered us with a gift in her will.
Lisl was born into a Jewish family in Vienna, 1923. At 15, as the world was on the brink of war and Jews were suffering cruelty and persecution at the hands of the Nazi regime, she made a lonely journey to England.
The legacy of Oscar Romero, former Archbishop of San Salvador who was assassinated in 1980, continues to inspire people around the world. CAFOD chair, Bishop John Arnold, has written about how Romero has inspired him, and how a gift in a will can enable us all to leave our own legacy of hope.
I decided some years ago to leave a gift to CAFOD in my will. As someone who has long appreciated CAFOD’s work and is very aware of our Christian duty to stand in solidarity with people who are poor, I felt it was the right thing to do.
On my trip to El Salvador with CAFOD last year, I met many people deeply moved by the life of Blessed Oscar Romero and his determination to speak out against injustice. When visiting the radio station at the Jesuit university in San Salvador, I was reminded that nearly 40 years ago, CAFOD funded Romero’s own radio station after it was blown up by the military.