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”

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”

Step into the Gap Nicaragua – “Together we can achieve more”

Kate is one of CAFOD’s gap year and is currently based with Just Youth in Salford. She has been visiting communities supported by CAFOD in Nicaragua, from where she has sent this blog:

The ASOMUPRO team
The ASOMUPRO team

This week we had the chance to work closely with ASOMUPRO one of CAFOD’s partners out here in Nicaragua, they are an Association of Women Producers working out in the most rural areas of Nicaragua to give employment and strengthen the hope to the women of Nicaragua.

Want to see the world? Take a look at Step into the Gap

The slogan of ASOMUPRO is “LAS GAVIOTAS” translated into English it means “Seagulls,” it could be seen as a very strange slogan, however there is a lot of meaning behind it.

And the meaning is that everyone working for ASOMUPRO are like geese, they work in a V formation. The idea behind this formation is that the front bird leads and when they get tired they set themselves back and someone else takes up their place. Geese all stick together and drive themselves forward. ASOMUPRO are a team, they work together, share common values and are lifted by the enthusiasm and energy of each other. This is why this is the slogan for ASOMUPRO. This was by far the overriding theme of the week. The women we met gave up their time to talk to us about the work of ASOMUPRO and how ASOMUPRO have greatly helped their lives. Continue reading “Step into the Gap Nicaragua – “Together we can achieve more””

Step into the Gap – Our week at Mashambanzou

CAFOD’s gap year volunteers in Zimbabwe have been learning about our work supporting people with HIV and AIDS:

CAFOD's gap year volunteers saw the work our partner Mashambanzou does for those living with HIV and AIDS
CAFOD’s gap year volunteers saw the work our partner Mashambanzou does for those living with HIV and AIDS

HIV and AIDS is something we’re all aware of and have heard about, but until we were immersed in the reality of Zimbabwe, we could not truly appreciate the impact it has on the individuals affected, their livelihoods, families and communities. However, within a situation which can sometimes seem hopeless and desperate, we have been truly inspired by the work of the Mashambanzou Care Trust.

Find out more about CAFOD’s HIV and AIDS work

Mashambanzou is a CAFOD partner which ultimately aims to see HIV-free communities through empowerment, care and support. They work mainly in poor, overcrowded areas of Harare, the capital of Zimbabwe. Over the past week we have witnessed many incredible projects, such as a children’s day care centre, child protection clubs in schools, and home visits to people living with HIV. Continue reading “Step into the Gap – Our week at Mashambanzou”

“Don’t use your hairdryers!” ‒ Our young climate bloggers’ training weekend

St James young climate bloggers
St James young climate bloggers

Young climate bloggers from St James’ Catholic High School tell the story of their CAFOD training weekend ‒ the fun, the challenges and the inspiration.

“Don’t use your hairdryers …” was one of the first pieces of advice we were given on arrival at the Othona Community in Bradwell on Sea “Hairdryers use more electricity than all the ovens, lights, fridges and freezers in our community joined together. If you use a hairdryer it could overload the system.” As the Orthona Community was off the main grid, frizzy hair it was to be.  This was the first of many lessons learnt whilst experiencing sustainable living. The hard work and fun was about to begin.

Keep up with the CAFOD young climate bloggers during 2015.

Continue reading ““Don’t use your hairdryers!” ‒ Our young climate bloggers’ training weekend”