Hope Journal 2015: Fairtrade Fortnight

Ellie Wilcock head shot
Ellie

Ellie Wilcock is CAFOD’s PR officer. Today, her personal Lent journal focuses on Fairtrade Fortnight.

This Lent I’m keeping a hope journal, and over the coming weeks will be sharing a number of my entries on this blog. My journal – which closely follows CAFOD’s Lent Calendar – will be a place to record my joys, hopes, concerns and inspirations. A place to reflect on everything for which I am grateful, and the values by which I try to live my life.

A Fairtrade coffee farmer tends to her crops
A Fairtrade coffee farmer tends to her crops

Today marks the beginning of Fairtrade Fortnight – an annual campaign organised by the Fairtrade Foundation to raise awareness of its work. Over the past 20 years, Fairtrade has become the best known ethical label in the UK, and the two week period from now until Monday 08 March is the perfect time to celebrate the successes of the Fairtrade movement. It’s a time to speak out for justice in solidarity with the communities living in extreme poverty, and reflect on changes we can make in our daily lives to help ensure that small-scale farmers and producers enjoy fair terms of trade.

Find out more about Fairtrade

Every Fairtrade product bought helps to transform the lives of more than 1.4 million people in 74 countries around the world – an astonishing figure. However, with over 50% of the UK public still not actively choosing to buy Fairtrade products – and only around 7% of tea sold in the UK Fairtrade-certified – there’s clearly still much to be done to spread the word. Continue reading “Hope Journal 2015: Fairtrade Fortnight”

Lent 2015: World Day of Social Justice

Liam Finn is CAFOD’s Regional Media Officer. His personal Lent journal today focuses on World Day of Social Justice.

Lent journal, Shouting for social justice
Shouting for social justice

“Why do you want this job?”

“I don’t really. I don’t want CAFOD to exist.”

That was how I started to answer the question from my boss in my CAFOD interview. It might seem a mad response to someone in the hope that they would offer me the job. But I meant it. CAFOD exists because social injustices exist. I really wanted my job, and – *spoiler alert* – I was offered it. Yet I would much rather live in a world where people don’t go hungry or lack access to clean water, where people don’t have to flee from wars or oppression, and where people have the same means as others in richer countries to withstand disasters and rebuild their lives afterwards. We at CAFOD work to achieve that world and make ourselves unnecessary in the future: we work for social justice.

Donate to our Lent Appeal and support CAFOD’s work

What is social justice?

CAFOD has a long history of campaigning for social justice
CAFOD has a long history of campaigning for social justice

Today is World Day of Social Justice. I’ve been using the day to consider what social justice means. I studied Law at university because I wanted to learn about what justice is, and how to bring it about in the world. I believe that basic justice is achieved when everyone has seven things: Continue reading “Lent 2015: World Day of Social Justice”

Lent 2015: How to prepare for a disaster

By Nick Harrop, World News Officer

“The wind was circulating fast and glass was flying everywhere,” says Flora Badanoy, 39. “The roof was blown off by the gale. It felt like there was an earthquake. We were terrified. Then the hwater started coming in, with a strong current. We opened the front door and more water came gushing in. I thought it was the end of our lives.”

The Guiuan peninsula in the Philippines was the very first place to be hit by Typhoon Haiyan, shortly after midnight on 8 November 2013. Winds of up to 170 mph struck the coast and huge waves swept in from the sea, flooding coastal villages like Flora’s.

Palo, Leyte Island, Philippines - devastation after Typhoon Haiyan
Devastation in the Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan

“We were not expecting it to be a special typhoon,” says Flora. “The local officials told us we had to evacuate, but they didn’t say it would be so powerful. We were not warned that there would be floods. We’d heard there would be a ‘storm surge’, but we didn’t understand what the phrase meant. It wasn’t a phrase we used in our language.”

Help people like Flora whose lives are being affected by storms, droughts and floods.

Flora remembers the roar of the wind – so loud that she couldn’t hear herself shout – and the terror her children felt as water came flooding in under the door. Continue reading “Lent 2015: How to prepare for a disaster”

Lent 2015: Cutting out my cuppas

Cutting out tea for Lent with CAFODSarah Hagger-Holt, CAFOD’s Campaign Engagement Manager, is cutting out one of her favourite habits for CAFOD this Lent. Here she explains why she’s giving up tea – and what you can do to help her cope.

It’s what I have first thing in the morning, often just before bed at night, and four or five times throughout each day.

It’s what I prepare to show someone they are welcome in my house, and what I use to break up a boring day.

It’s my small treat after a cold bike ride or a difficult meeting or to give us all a reason for a rest as I drag my kids round the shops.

I’ve had it in an Indian village – syrupy and sweet – and – full of sugar – on the morning of my wedding to calm my nerves.

Tea. I’m cutting it out this Lent.

Please sponsor me now and add to my tea-total.

Why tea?

There’s nothing wrong with tea. Many of my fellow CAFOD cut-it-outers are doing without things that have a direct impact on the carbon emissions that cause climate change, like eating meat, or taking up environmentally friendly activities like cycling. Tea, apart from the inevitable air miles to get it here, is a fairly minor vice. Especially as I always drink Fairtrade.

I’m cutting out tea because it’s a habit, even an addiction, and habits are hard to break. Continue reading “Lent 2015: Cutting out my cuppas”

Lent 2015 Myanmar: Eleven things I learned about life in the jungle

Villagers in Myanmar
Villagers in a jungle village in Myanmar

Our Fundraising Writer Mark Chamberlain visited Myanmar in 2014 to learn about the effects of storms and extreme weather. Myanmar is the focus for this year’s CAFOD Lent appeal which is being match funded by the UK government.

In June last year, I was lucky enough to spend some time with U Than Win, Martin, Kyin Nu, Zin Thu Thu and U Win Myi the fisherman in Myanmar. While staying in their communities, I kept a diary and made a list of points about surviving the jungle. Here are eleven things I learned:

1. Footwear is essential. No matter how hot it is and how liberating the sensation of the jungle floor on your bare feet is, don’t be tempted to walk around without protection. The jungle is alive with spiders, snakes and the intimidating ‘scorpion king’. Bites can be lethal because both communities were are a long way from a hospital.

2. The ‘scorpion king’ is a giant centipede. It won’t kill if it bites, but it will hurt. A lot. Make sure you move your bed away from a wall if you are near one – this is so it doesn’t creep into bed with you for a snooze.

Continue reading “Lent 2015 Myanmar: Eleven things I learned about life in the jungle”

Doubling our impact this Lent

Double the baking at Lent
Ffion, Mariacristina and Laura are doubling their baking this Lent

Lent is traditionally a time of giving, praying and fasting, as we seek to transform our lives and the lives of others. Ffion Dean, our Web Editor, has been talking to CAFOD staff about their great ideas to live out our Lenten practice, and make a difference to the world’s poorest people.

Here at Romero House we’re excited about the fact that donations to CAFOD this Lent are being doubled by the UK government. We want to make the most of this extraordinary opportunity and have been putting our heads together to think of how we can raise as much money as possible between 18 February and 17 May.

Although I won’t be giving something up in the traditional Lent fashion, I’ve decided to double the time and effort I put into CAFOD fundraising through the medium of biscuits and cakes! I find spending an afternoon baking very relaxing, but I don’t get to do it as often as I’d like. I’m aiming to bake once a week during Lent and to sell to my creations to CAFOD colleagues. It’s going to be a great feeling knowing that every time someone spends £1 on a biscuit, the UK government will be putting another £1 in the fund towards CAFOD’s work to ensure the world’s poorest women, men and children are able to cope with the effects of storms, droughts and floods. Continue reading “Doubling our impact this Lent”

A people of hope

This blog is written by Rachel McCarthy who works in the CAFOD Theology Programme. It is the first of a series inviting you to share your joys and hopes, and to pray for people living in poverty at Lent

Rwanda- writing in a journal
Keep a hope journal this Lent

As we journey through Lent, take time to reflect on your joys, hopes, concerns and inspirations by keeping a hope journal. In a spirit of solidarity, we hold in our prayers the joys and hopes of our global family.

Follow our daily reflections with the CAFOD Lent calendar

2015 is the 50th anniversary of Gaudium et Spes. We are called to share the “joys and hopes, the griefs and the anxieties” of our global neighbours, especially those who are living in poverty.

Continue reading “A people of hope”

Cutting out chocolate for Lent: this year I have a plan

Lent fundraising 50p chocolate
Jo is cutting out chocolate and donating the money she saves to CAFOD.

Jo De Paula works in CAFOD’s schools fundraising team. Her work involves encouraging children to take part in Lent Fast Day, but here she tells us how she’s planning on personally making a difference this Lent. Lent is coming soon! Every year I plan to do many things for Lent that will bring me closer to God and challenge myself to be a better person. This year I have chosen to give up chocolate. So right now I have the overwhelming urge to eat as much sugar as I can before I give it up for 40 days. But so often after I share my #ashtag Ash Wednesday Selfie with the world, my good intentions never materialise. This year will be different. This year I have a plan:

CAFOD staff are cutting it out for Lent 2015

CAFOD staff Lent 2015
Mariacristina with her CAFOD colleagues who are cutting something out or doubling something in their lives this Lent.

Maricristina Lubrano from our digital team tells us about her colleagues who are giving something up for Lent.

It is at times like Lent, when we stop to reflect on a number of things and get closer to God, that we often realise how blessed we are. Right now I feel blessed to be working with a group of committed and passionate people. With only two weeks to go until Ash Wednesday I know lots of people will be trying to decide what to cut out in order to create a change in their own lives or in the wider world.

Take a look at our Cut it Out resources for Lent fundraising

I’ve been talking to my colleagues about their preparations for Lent and have been impressed by how dedicated they are to make a difference to the lives of those who suffer and taking care of the gifts we have been given by God. Many people are focussing on using Lent to help people living in poverty to cope with the destruction that extreme weather and climate change can bring. Lots of people at CAFOD are making Lenten promises, and we all have our own little challenging and exciting cut it out activities to try and reduce our impact on the environment. Continue reading “CAFOD staff are cutting it out for Lent 2015”