Damian Conlin, from our fundraising team, took on a new challenge this Lent, one that mirrors the challenge faced by thousands of young girls around the world. With Lent over, he reflects on some of the difficulties he expected to face, and others that surprised him.
Damian at the river he ran to every week in Lent
I’ve (just about) been keeping up with my Lent challenge of running to water once a week.
For the most part, the experience has been what I expected. That is, I knew I’d find it difficult. I’ve always enjoyed sports and still do exercise, but running has never really been my thing. 5km is not a particularly long way, but my body has always made it pretty clear it considers itself to have been built for running distances of 50-60 metres tops.
There is still time to donate to CAFOD’s Lent appeal and help change lives
So there’s been lots of wheezing and knee creaking. Observers would be forgiven for thinking my Lent challenge has been to perfect my impression of a man running backwards. But there have also been a couple of things I did not expect.
Mariacristina Lubrano from our digital team tells us about her colleagues who have taken up some really exciting challenges this Lent.
CAFOD staff at the beginning of our challenges
Back in February, right at the beginning of Lent, I shared my excitement about the number of extraordinary challenges that some of my colleagues had set themselves.
Some decided to fundraise for the CAFOD Lent appeal, seizing the amazing opportunity to double their impact with match funding.
Others chose to reflect personally and raise awareness in solidarity with people who struggle to get clean water. As I heard each idea, I was touched by their commitment and willingness to push themselves.
CAFOD’s Eleanor Heans-Glogowska set herself the challenge of swimming the length of the English Channel over the course of the 40 days of Lent.
Elly is swimming the length of the English channel this Lent!
This Lent I set myself the challenge of swimming 22 miles – the length of the English Channel.
Good Friday is approaching and I can almost see the French coast appearing on the horizon! I’ve now got just 300 lengths left of my Lent Channel Challenge.
Support CAFOD’s Lent Appeal
I decided to attempt a Channel swim (although admittedly it was in my local swimming pool rather than the cold waters of the Channel) in solidarity with girls like Proscovia, who have to walk two to four hours just to get the water they need.
A CAFOD young leader practices the Lent Fast Day talk
Each Fast Day, hundreds of CAFOD volunteers arrange to speak at Masses about how CAFOD is making a difference overseas. Jed Murphy, a volunteer from the Southwark diocese, is one of these volunteers. He shares with us how he started volunteering and his top tips for a successful Fast Day talk.
Just over seven years ago I had one of those life-changing moments. I had a day’s annual leave and was lazing on my couch at home. Around me was every conceivable gadget you could think of: large TV, games console, several tablets & smartphones. And I thought to myself: I have all this and yet so many people around the world have nothing. I could not help but think it wasn’t right.
I felt that something had to change. I had to try and do something to make a difference.
I had grown up with CAFOD. I knew that they helped people in need around the world: but I knew little more than that. So I found the CAFOD website, learned a little more about what they did and clicked on a link to apply to be a volunteer. I wasn’t sure what I could do, or how I could help.
As part of the process I met one of the regional volunteer managers. His name was Jim and he was amazing. One of the things that he suggested was whether I would be willing to speak at Masses and make the appeal in support of CAFOD’s Lent and Harvest Fast Days.
And I have been doing that for the last seven years. Continue reading
The Gift Aid on a £10 Fast Day donation – £2.50 – could pay for antibiotics at a health centre in Niger.
Grace Cowley coordinates CAFOD’s Lent Fast Day Appeal. Here she tells us why she’s so passionate about Gift Aid and the difference it makes to CAFOD’s partners around the world.
The Gift Aid system, which gives back tax to charities from donations from tax payers, has just turned 25 years old. You’ll have seen Gift Aid forms when making donations, but it may surprise you just how special this little form is.
“It might just be a drop in the ocean, but the ocean is made up of lots of drops.” Evelina Manola, Caritas Hellas in Greece
In the past 25 years, CAFOD has received £42 million in Gift Aid. That money can be used for any project around the world, which means it can pay for work in places of great poverty, which perhaps aren’t in the headlines.
Find resources to start fundraising for Lent Fast Day 2016
This is the heart of why Gift Aid is brilliant – because it enables more people to overcome poverty and injustice. The Gift Aid on £1 – 25p – could buy enough rice to feed a family for a day after a natural disaster. The Gift Aid on a £10 Fast Day donation – £2.50 – could pay for antibiotics at a health centre in Niger. Continue reading