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”

Step into the Gap – Saying goodbye to Nicaragua

It’s the end of the visit of CAFOD’s Step into the Gap volunteers to Nicaragua. Here are the thoughts of Kate and Steph as they prepare to return to the UK:

Kate

Kate
Kate

We have seen and experienced Nicaragua in so many ways these past few weeks, and to put it into words is a daunting task.

My reasons for joining CAFOD’s Step into the Gap programme at the beginning of the year were: I have been a long term supporter of CAFOD’s work, I have helped in fundraising, been a Young Leader helping out at events such as Flame and done work experience at Romero House. So it really seemed like a natural progression to spend a year out of education expanding my knowledge of CAFOD and learning more about their work in the developing world before heading off to university to study International Development. But over the past 6 months, this year has become less about myself and more about those around me. I am extremely fortunate to spend a year with nine of the most hardworking, dedicated and passionate people that I have ever met. They have truly changed my life in more ways than one and I have been lucky enough to go to Nicaragua with three of them. I can honestly say I have made friends for life. Continue reading “Step into the Gap – Saying goodbye to Nicaragua”

Step into the Gap Zimbabwe – Farewell

CAFOD’s Step into the Gap volunteers in Zimbabwe have come to the end of their visit. Here are their thoughts as they head home:

We’ve reached the final day of an amazing trip, where we’ve been immersed in Zimbabwean culture, met so many inspirational people and have so much we can’t wait to share back with communities in England and Wales. As we prepare to catch our flight home, here are just some of our reflections.

Learn more about CAFOD’s gap year

Mary

Mary
Mary

Wow. Looking back through my journal of the past three and a bit weeks, we have been so privileged to meet so many amazing people and witness such a wide range of CAFOD supported projects. Although the projects have been varied, a reoccurring theme has been prevalent throughout – the overwhelmingly strong sense of “togetherness” and community here in Zimbabwe. Continue reading “Step into the Gap Zimbabwe – Farewell”

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”

Show the love for…water

libbyLibby Abbott, Campaigns Coalition Manager at CAFOD, tells us why – for the love of water and communities facing drought – she is excited about CAFOD participating in the Climate Coalition’s ‘Show the love’ campaign this February.

I grew up in Texas which, despite what many people have told me, is not a desert – at least, not all desert. It has grassy plains, rolling hills, forests, swamps, beaches and even a few mountains tucked away (and, yes, there is desert).

That said, even in the wetter regions of Texas, we would experience the occasional drought. People easily got by with watering lawns less or only washing cars in the evening. Hosepipe bans weren’t uncommon, but the droughts never lasted very long.

Find out more about our climate change campaign, One Climate, One World

Continue reading “Show the love for…water”

Step into the Gap Nicaragua – A light in the darkness: The Sisters of the Guardian Angels (Part II)

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:

Kate

Sr Elizabeth, Anna, and Sr Marie
Sr Elizabeth, Anna, and Sr Marie

We have been lucky enough this week to work with one of CAFOD’s partners the Sisters of the Guardian Angels here in Managua. We have heard about the Sisters’ work on ENVIO which is a programme of analysis and current affairs in Nicaragua and Central America. This is part of their wider social outreach and mission in and around Nicaragua with children and young people. Continue reading “Step into the Gap Nicaragua – A light in the darkness: The Sisters of the Guardian Angels (Part II)”

Step into the Gap Nicaragua – A light in the darkness: The Sisters of the Guardian Angel (Part I)

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.

Young people
Young people

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.

Discover CAFOD gap year opportunities Continue reading “Step into the Gap Nicaragua – A light in the darkness: The Sisters of the Guardian Angel (Part I)”

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”