Katy Lowrey is one of CAFOD’s Step into the Gap volunteers in Zimbabwe. Here she writes about how vital birth certificates are to families and how difficult it can be for children to get one.
We have been in Zimbabwe now a week and we have visited two different partners. Both have shown me so much: about life in Zimbabwe, an insight into the difficulties faced by organisations such as Mashambanzou and Mavambo – two of our partners – and the reality of what life is like for people living in poor communities.
One thing that has really stood out and shocked me and made me think is something that before this trip I would never have really thought of as being important in my life. What I have learned is that every child needs a birth certificate. Without it they cannot go to school, they cannot take exams, they cannot apply for an ID and they cannot vote. Therefore this means this child will grow up to be a human being without any rights, it takes away their dignity. Continue reading “Step into the Gap Zimbabwe – The power of a birth certificate”
Leah Fox is a volunteer at Youth Ministry Team in the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle. Here she reflects on her first experience of campaigning with CAFOD. In March Leah will be continuing her journey with CAFOD’s campaigning in a visit to Parliament with other youth leaders from across the country.
At the end of November I was asked to go and join CAFOD at the People’s Climate March in London. This was a peaceful demonstration to voice the opinion to world leaders that they need to act against climate change, just before they met in Paris to make some very important decisions. Climate change affects so many people across the world, but especially those living in poverty, so I was very excited to be joining others to help encourage world leaders to recognise and act on this issue.
When I was asked to go, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I had never been on any sort of march so I naively thought that there might be a few hundred people marching through London, interrupting people’s busy lives. So I was very surprised to join over 50,000 people walking from Hyde Park to Whitehall!
When we first arrived at the meeting point for the entire march we made our way to the section which had people from different faith groups marching together, towards the front. CAFOD was one of many faith-based charities that were marching. There were more people there already than I could ever have imagined. Soon we all had a CAFOD placard and a few others and myself drew green hearts on our faces to represent CAFOD. The energy from the march was amazing, with cheering, music and people talking over speakers. Politicians from every major political party spoke before the march to show what their party would do to prevent climate change.
Throughout the march we saw people from different charities marching on behalf of different reasons (some were even dressed as polar bears or bumble bees!) but despite the many reasons for people being there, it felt amazing to be united with so many people, marching for one outcome – to stop climate change. I got to talk to many people from CAFOD and other charities over the course of the march and talk about my faith and the amazing things we can do to help raise awareness of climate change and how it’s affecting communities across the world.
At the end of the day, we were all very tired from walking, but left the walk feeling very happy and fulfilled knowing that we had helped raise awareness to people that climate change is a problem and needs to be stopped.
Rosemary has supported CAFOD for over 30 years – buying World Gifts, taking part in LiveSimply, praying for our partners around the world, and even running the London Marathon. Rosemary tells us why giving is important to her and what her plans are for Harvest Fast Day.
Justice in my family
When my husband and I first moved to Norwich, about 34 years ago, our finances were quite tricky. We prayed and decided we would put God first. We decided to tithe our income and give 10 per cent back to the Lord for his Kingdom work. A big proportion of our funds went to CAFOD. We wanted our tithing to go towards justice and peace work because we believe there has to be justice before there can be peace. How can people live peacefully in their hearts when others are struggling? As Pope Paul said: “If you want peace, work for justice.”
I brought my children up to think about justice within the family and being fair. We don’t take things from each other without asking because we’re depriving that person of a chance to be generous. If you’re asked, the kind thing is to say: “Yes, you may borrow it.” But you have to ask first, otherwise you’re taking from that person and presuming they’ll be generous. Then they can have the blessing from making a good choice. Continue reading “My Harvest Fast Day – a day in solidarity with those who do not have enough”
This week is National Volunteer Week, and we’re celebrating the amazing and varied work of our CAFOD volunteers. Schools volunteer Toni Woodhead shares her experience of visiting schools, getting creative and inspiring children to take action for CAFOD.
Being a school volunteer has been rewarding and enlightening, even with the preparation time and the first scary moments in front of the children. I have even found a creative side to myself and it is amazing how much it is developing!
The resources from CAFOD are always great and usually contains all the information about what is needed. At first this was all I used but as confidence grows, so do the ideas. From the first dirty water container and the wonderfully wrapped clean water, to the straw animal from Ikea that looked like a supergoat once a red cloak was added, I have started to look at every shape and size in a different way. I used glass spheres in a bucket for the weight instead of water. I bought child size garden tools for the “place at the table” and large sand toys for the “dig deep”. For the funny shaped food I got pictures from the internet and made them A4 size so the children could see them. They found them enjoyable. I found an old box in the loft that I cleaned and stuck on the words “treasure”.
Lucy, from CAFOD’s Youth Team, explains how Step into the Gap volunteers Mary, Chris and Leila are preparing for speaking on stage to 8000 young Catholics at Flame 2.
We’re so excited here in the youth team – we’ve been planning and preparing for Flame 2 since last September and can’t believe that it’s now less than two weeks away! Flame 2 is a national youth congress on March 7th, where 8,000 young people from England and Wales will gather at the SSE Arena, Wembley, to celebrate their faith. CAFOD is privileged to be a part of it.
Halfway through the year, Julia from CAFOD’s Youth Team looks back at the achievements of our Young Leaders so far.
CAFOD’s Young Leaders are sixth-form students from across the country who inspire other young people to support CAFOD and take action, from fundraising to raising awareness of the issues CAFOD campaigns on.
120 amazing sixth-form students from the Dioceses of Brentwood, Clifton, Hallam, Portsmouth, Southwark and Westminster are training as CAFOD young leaders. Alongside their A-Levels, they have committed to CAFOD training days and taking action on injustice in the UK and overseas. Continue reading “CAFOD Young Leaders’ mid-year report”
Liam Finn is CAFOD’s Regional Media Officer. His personal Lent journal today focuses on World Day of 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.
CAFOD’s Step into the Gap volunteers in Nicaragua – Kate, Chris, Bernie, and Step – have come to the end of their time with the Sisters of the Guardian Angels. They’ve each picked a photograph to reflect on the experiences that have stayed with them the most from their week:
Chris, Bernie, Kate, and Steph from CAFOD’s Step into the Gap programme have written about their week with the Sisters of the Guardian Angel, who work to support young people in Nicaragua.
We have just spent a week with The Sisters of the Guardian Angel. They have been involved with CAFOD for many years and work in many communities around Managua and the surrounding regions. They run a three-year youth leadership diploma programme for young adults based on practical experience of helping to lead youth groups and children’s groups. The training is enhanced by CAFOD’s support of Envio, a monthly magazine on social and justice issues and workshops that explore current affairs affecting Nicaragua and the rest of Central America. The youth leaders are encouraged to go along to the workshops whenever they can.