Let’s Cut it Out! and double the positive this Lent

Khudayja, CAFOD Young Leader.
Khudayja, CAFOD Young Leader.

Khudayja, A CAFOD Young Leader from Portsmouth Diocese, explains why she is supporting #Muslims4Lent by Cutting it Out with CAFOD and how her Young Leadership group is getting the whole school involved with campaigning and fundraising.

We are a group of Year 12 students studying at sixth form college in Portsmouth Diocese. We believe that we must be the change we wish to see in this world, and this has driven us to become CAFOD Young Leaders. We recognise that the youth of today are the future of tomorrow and therefore it is our duty, as Young Leaders, to make our generation a great one.

Are you a young person? Get involved with CAFOD.

It has been a wonderful experience getting to know other Young Leaders from across the Portsmouth Diocese through our training sessions, ones that have been beneficial in personal development as well as real-life leadership applications.

Continue reading “Let’s Cut it Out! and double the positive this Lent”

Lent 2015: Ann faces the challenge of a 5.30 alarm with no snooze button

Ann Hayes works in CAFOD’s Clifton Office. This Lent, she has challenged herself to cut out using the snooze button on her alarm clock.

Ann Snooze
Ann will be cutting out using her snooze button this Lent

The first two weeks of my Lenten challenge had been going surprisingly well, I was feeling pretty pleased with myself. But the real test was looming on the horizon: would I be able to get up at 5.30 to make it to Flame 2?

For Lent, I have chosen to give up pressing snooze on my alarm. This is a pretty big challenge for me as I am a serial snoozer, often snoozing for 45 minutes before dragging myself out of bed and running around the house to get ready on time! I had plenty of tips from family and friends on how to make sure I got up in the morning, from sleeping with the curtains open, to drinking a pint of water as soon as I wake up, but actually apart from feeling pretty awful for the first few days, willpower has really been helping me get through.

And what a joy it is to get up earlier in the morning! It gives me time to get a sensible breakfast, chat to my housemates, and relax whilst getting ready for work. I’m lucky to be able to take a few quiet moments eating my breakfast and looking out into our beautiful garden, and even in these few weeks it’s been great to see Spring arriving. I’ve also taken the opportunity to pray every morning, thanking God for my day, and reflecting with the CAFOD Lent Calendar.

Continue reading “Lent 2015: Ann faces the challenge of a 5.30 alarm with no snooze button”

One Climate One World: Why I marched for action on climate change

CAFOD's Sarah Croft joins climate march

Sarah Croft is CAFOD’s campaigns officer. She joined thousands of others in London on Saturday to campaign for action on climate change.

Find out how you can take action on climate change with CAFOD

I love the first really sunny day of the year. The kind of day when you can go out without a coat for the first time, feeling the heat on your skin and seeing spring flowers starting to poke their heads through the grass.

On Saturday I was delighted to see that this day had finally arrived! I admit, the first thing that popped into my mind wasn’t ‘This is the ideal day for a protest’. Instead, pictures of BBQs, picnics in the park, bike rides, and ice creams started to flash before my eyes. Continue reading “One Climate One World: Why I marched for action on climate change”

International Women’s Day: “There won’t be peace without inclusion or equality”

Carmenza Alvarez, human rights defender
Carmenza Alvarez, human rights defender with Women’s Initiative for Peace. (Credit: Mark Chamberlain)

Carmenza Alvarez is a human rights defender in Colombia and works for an organisation supported by CAFOD and Caritas, Women’s Initiative for Peace. The role is a dangerous one, in 2014 alone 614 human rights defenders were attacked and 55 killed.

For International Women’s Day on Sunday 8 March, Carmenza discusses inequality and being trapped in the middle of a fifty-year conflict. She recently spent time in Europe as part of a joint CAFOD, Caritas Colombia, ABColombia and EC project, which sought to help protect human rights defenders in Colombia, with a particular focus on land restitution claimants, women and minority groups.

Please pray for equality and peace

“In 1991 I was working in a restaurant. It was in an area frequented by the left-wing revolutionary group, FARC. My son was at school and studying. When he finished for the day, a group would come for him and supposedly take him to play football.

“One of the visitors to the restaurant, after about two months of this, came up to me and said, ‘Sister, I’m going to tell you something. They’re preparing your son for war. Save him.’ Continue reading “International Women’s Day: “There won’t be peace without inclusion or equality””

Election 2015: questions to ask your candidates

Dom Goggins
Dom Goggins from CAFOD’s Government Relations team

Dom Goggins works in the Government Relations team at CAFOD. He looks back at political progress made on climate change and looks forward to a busy general election period.

With so much at stake in the next few months – a general election focusing on vital issues around the economy, the NHS and the UK’s role in Europe among other things – climate change can sometimes feel like a distant challenge – something we can put to one side for now and deal with in the future.

That might even be the case for many of us in the UK, but climate change already has a devastating impact on many of the poor communities we work with around the world; amplifying existing social, political and economic inequalities and pushing people over the edge. Ultimately, as the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has said, “if we don’t confront climate change we won’t end poverty”.

Find out about CAFOD’s One Climate, One World campaign

2014 Progress

Important progress was made in 2014. CAFOD’s MP Correspondents* played a key part by asking the Prime Minister to show his commitment to climate change by attending a special UN summit hosted by the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon – and he did! At the summit he echoed CAFOD’s call that the UK should “help those who need it, particularly the poorest and most vulnerable”. Continue reading “Election 2015: questions to ask your candidates”

Cutting out petrol for Lent: Father David’s electric car challenge for CAFOD

Father David with a Nissan Leaf
Father David will by driving an electric Nissan Leaf during Lent 2015

Father David Osbourne is the Parish priest of Cranleigh and Bramley. This Lent he’s cutting out petrol and will be donating all of the money saved to the CAFOD Lent Appeal. The help complete his petrol-free Lent challenge, Crawley Nissan have allowed him to borrow a new Nissan Leaf car.

For me, this Lent, ‘Cut it Out!’ means trying to cut out some use of fossil fuels used in motoring and thus call attention to alternative power sources and uses. This may highlight our almost total dependence on fossil fuels which are not only irreplaceable but are contributing to the largest contemporary threat to civilization – global warming.

Find ideas for how you can reduce your carbon footprint this Lent

I have been loaned an electric car by Nissan to experience whether battery powered vehicles are an alternative not only for the “keenies” but a viable alternative for mass transport.

I’m not sure that’s possible either!

Continue reading “Cutting out petrol for Lent: Father David’s electric car challenge for CAFOD”

Lent 2015: Oscar Romero – CAFOD Servant Leader

Liam Finn is CAFOD’s Regional Media Officer. His personal Lent journal today focuses on Archbishop Oscar Romero, who was a CAFOD partner and remains a great example of a ‘Servant Leader’.

When the CAFOD Lent calendar was launched in February and my colleagues and I were working out which days we were going to write our journals on, there was no way I was going to pass up the opportunity to write about Oscar Romero.

Oscar Romero is one of CAFOD’s most famous and inspirational partners
Oscar Romero is one of CAFOD’s most famous and inspirational partners

Archbishop Romero epitomises what CAFOD is about: people giving of themselves to achieve One Just World in which every child, woman, and man can live in peace and free from poverty. And I’ve deliberately chosen to speak of Romero in the present tense, despite it being 35 years this month since his assassination. Romero said himself “If they kill me, I shall rise again in the Salvadoran people”. He also lives on in CAFOD supporters, partners, and anyone who strives to bring about that one just world.

Continue reading “Lent 2015: Oscar Romero – CAFOD Servant Leader”

Lent 2015: Giving up is hard to do (especially when it comes to tea)

Giving up tea for CAFOD for Lent
Enjoying my last cup of tea until Easter

Sarah works in CAFOD’s campaigns team.

It’s been nearly two weeks since I starting cutting out tea for Lent, in a quest to raise money for CAFOD’s Lent appeal and gain support for our One Climate, One World campaign.

Progress so far

Money raised: £326.76  (you can still sponsor me!)

Petition signatures reported: 10 (you can still sign our climate petition!)

Cups of tea not drunk: approx 60

Lessons learnt from this challenge: 6 – and here they are….

Lesson one: Giving up is hard to do.

This challenge has renewed my respect for the all the ex-smokers, the non-drinkers and the vegetarians who have said goodbye to bacon butties for the sake of the planet. I know that by Easter I’ll have a steaming cup of tea in my hand again, but to give up something forever, wow, that takes commitment. Continue reading “Lent 2015: Giving up is hard to do (especially when it comes to tea)”

Me, My Socks & I

Alice Stride PictureAlice works in CAFOD’s PR team. Can you tell me about the socks you put on this morning? The colour, the pattern, where you bought them from, when they came into your life and wound up in your sock drawer? No, me neither. Socks do not feature highly in my ‘Things That I Think About A Lot’ list. That’s mostly food, and whether or not I’ll get a seat on the tube. But, this Fairtrade Fortnight, that’s changed. Now, I am thinking about what’s on my feet A LOT. “Why?” I hear you cry, “Do socks make cups of tea now? Are they able to tell the time? Why do you suddenly care about socks so much???” Continue reading “Me, My Socks & I”

Building a future after Myanmar’s biggest natural disaster

By Mark Chamberlain, Communications Officer

Martin - emergency drill - Myanmar - DRR CAFOD (2)
Martin, Myanmar

Martin was six when his small bamboo home in Myanmar’s southwestern jungle was blown away by a terrifying 145mph tropical storm.

I ask him what he remembers most from that night and the small, talkative boy is quiet for a few seconds, then smiles nervously: “I couldn’t hear other people calling out or crying, I could just hear the screaming voice of the wind.”

In minutes, houses where generations of people had lived were snatched from the ground and splintered across the land. Essentials like food, money and clothes were thrown into the nearby river and for miles across the land. Countless people were killed. In one village down the river, one out of every two were taken by the wind.

“It was dark and the wind was all around,” Martin says of that Friday in 2008. “My dad picked me up from our home and ran and ran. We didn’t know where to go or where to hide, but we went to the school.”

Donate to CAFOD’s Lent Appeal

Myanmar – the country formerly known as ‘Burma’ – faces small, localised cyclones every year. But nothing on the scale of Cyclone Nargis. Martin’s family, like many others in the village, ran in that May darkness, but they didn’t know where to or what to do when they arrived at their destination. Rebecca Murphy, CAFOD’s disaster risk reduction expert says: “This is the key moment when the initial effects of a disaster can be managed. So many lives can be saved just by ensuring a community has access to an early warning system, knows where to go and what to do when a cyclone hits.” Continue reading “Building a future after Myanmar’s biggest natural disaster”