10-year-old Florence’s World Gifts Christmas quest

Rachel Simkin is CAFOD’s World Gifts Co-ordinator. She was inspired to share the story of 10-year-old Florence, who set herself a fundraising quest to buy World Gifts knowing they would bring a smile to others.

Young CAFOD Volunteer Florence is on a quest to buy ethical presents this Christmas
Florence is on a quest to transform lives by fundraising for World Gifts

When I first heard about Florence’s quest to fundraise for World Gifts, I found it inspiring to hear of her energy and was delighted that she was encouraging so many to join her quest. Then I was even more amazed when I learnt she was just 10 years old!

Florence is one of CAFOD’s youngest local volunteers and has succesfuly inspired her Rotherham community to buy World Gifts to help communities across the world.

Young Florence first got the idea while listening attentively to her priest, Father Dee, at Mass. He had just been bought a goat from CAFOD’s World Gifts range as a thank you present.

“I thought it was an awesome idea,” said Florence. “I really wanted to help people who didn’t have what I have got. Last Christmas, I asked my friends at school to make a donation instead of sending Christmas cards to each other. I made a speech after Mass and told the parishioners I would be selling raffle tickets and the winner of the raffle would get to choose the animal’s name.

“Everyone at school and in my parish joined in and it was so successful we raised enough money to buy two goats, Kathleen and Rosie, and Maisey the piglet.”

Buy ethical gifts and help transform the lives of poor communities this Christmas

But Florence didn’t stop at Christmas; she decided to volunteer for CAFOD and organise more events throughout this year to encourage her fellow pupils to fundraise and learn about others across the world.

Continue reading “10-year-old Florence’s World Gifts Christmas quest”

Building a future of hope for Afghanistan

Hannah Caldwell, CAFOD’s legacy officer, reflects on how gifts in wills help communities look to the future with hope.

A women's savings group in Lal district.
A women’s savings group in Lal district.

The Oxford dictionary defines the word “legacy” as: “Something left or handed down by a predecessor.”

Working for CAFOD’s legacy team, I always think of a legacy in hugely positive terms. To me, it means a gift, carefully and faithfully given, to help continue the values of love and hope that a person held dear during their lifetime. It’s a gift that will reach out and help build a brighter future for generations to come.

Find out more about leaving a gift in your will

But perhaps I’m biased. For many, the word conjures up a gloomier image. It can, for example, be used to describe the long lasting, deep reaching effects of war or injustice. Continue reading “Building a future of hope for Afghanistan”

Canonisation of Mother Teresa

On the day of the canonisation of Blessed Mother Teresa, Daniel Hale, from our campaigns team, reflects on her lifetime of charitable work.

Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta. Photo credit: Manfredo Ferrari
Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta. Photo credit: Manfredo Ferrari

Mother Teresa, one of the most globally iconic people in the Catholic Church in the 20th century, is being declared a saint this weekend in Rome. For many, this is the high point of the Pope’s Year of Mercy. Pope Francis holds Teresa up as the embodiment of Jesus’ words, “whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”

Download our prayer vigil on care for creation

Leaving the relative comfort of her teaching order, Teresa began a ministry to those living on the streets of India. She showed the touch of God’s mercy to the ‘untouchables’ of society. To those who didn’t know more, her reputation was one of absolute charity – feeding the hungry and comforting the dying. When I grew up, Mother Teresa was its personification.

Continue reading “Canonisation of Mother Teresa”

5 ways to pray on World Day of Prayer for Creation

Rachel McCarthy works in CAFOD’s Theology Programme. Here, she reflects on how you can celebrate the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation on 1 September.  

Church of the Divine Providence, San Salvador
The Church of the Divine Providence, San Salvador.

The World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation fills me with gladness. How beautiful it is to think that Catholics all across the world will join together in thanks and praise for the wonderful gifts with which God blesses us.

The World Day of Prayer marks the beginning of the season of creation, which ends on the feast of Saint Francis of Assisi (4 October). It’s an important opportunity to spend time in prayer and reflection, to care for the world around us: our common home.

Download our prayer vigil for the care of creation

Pope Francis invites us to celebrate this day to draw closer to God, the Creator of all we can see and touch. From the birds in the sky to the tiniest of creatures, from our next-door neighbour to people in Bolivia, each one of us has been created by God.

Continue reading “5 ways to pray on World Day of Prayer for Creation”

Thank you from Kitui: “God knows that you have helped us”

As our Hands On Kitui journey comes to an end, three people who have worked on the project share their thanks. George Wambugu, CAFOD’s water specialist, worked on the water project right from the beginning during the planning stages.

George Wambugu, CAFOD's water specialist
George Wambugu, CAFOD’s water specialist

As a water expert, I know how vital it is to have access to water all year round – vital for the health and wellbeing not only of the people, but of the animals and plants. So I am immensely excited to be able to tell you that, after two years of hard work, the community in Kitui now have reliable access to clean water.

Looking to the coming years, I know that the great dam and the wells are going to provide water for the whole community, even in the dry seasons.

Thank you so much for all your donations, prayers and love over the past two years. We couldn’t have achieved this without you.

Donate to bring water to another community in Bolivia

Continue reading “Thank you from Kitui: “God knows that you have helped us””

Clean water is vital – How Mike from Liverpool brought water to a remote Kenyan community

A young boy washes his hands in Musosya, Kenya
Clean water is vital for good health and hygiene

Mike Gilligan from Liverpool Diocese is one of 1,700 Hands On supporters who were all inspired to fund a two-year water project in Kitui, Kenya. Hands On supporters in England and Wales followed the community’s progress in Kitui, and each month sent vital donations, encouragement and prayers.

Mike shares why Hands On is so special to him.

I first heard about Hands On through a flyer. It sounded like a very good idea, as the community were helping themselves and not relying on external organisations. It also gave me the opportunity to do my bit. I am helping someone, somewhere, in a place I can’t dream of seeing. Here in the UK we have an over-plentiful supply of water, but people in Kenya have such little water to work with. Clean water is vital – that’s why I signed up to help. Continue reading “Clean water is vital – How Mike from Liverpool brought water to a remote Kenyan community”

Letter from Stella in Kenya

Stella took part in our first Hands On project in Kitui, Kenya. Over two years, hundreds of people in Kitui were supported by more than 1,700 CAFOD supporters to rebuild their community dam and bring water back to the area. Having water nearby means families can irrigate their crops and don‘t have to spend hours walking to and from the river each day.

Stella winnows mung beans grown on her farm.
Thanks to your generous donations, Stella is able to irrigate her farm and grow food for her family.

Dear friends,

I am very grateful to you for giving donations and enabling us to carry out this project.

The project has meant I am able to get a job and manage a small income. With my income I am able to buy seeds for my farm and cement so I can build a strong house. Before there was such a challenge with food that I had to divert all my energy and resources to food.

Hear Stella describe what life was like in her community

Thanks to the Hands On project activities, even at this time of year before the rains have come, we have food stored. I am able to harvest enough and still have surplus to sell so I can pay for my kids to go to school. Last term I sold beans to the school in exchange for school fees. Continue reading “Letter from Stella in Kenya”

Schools volunteers take our Lampedusa Cross pilgrimage

Susan Kambalu works in our schools team, and recently joined CAFOD schools volunteers reflecting on the refugee crisis with our Lampedusa Cross pilgrimage resource. She describes her thoughts and feelings as she went through the stations.

CAFOD schools volunteers writing messages of hope for refugees
Schools volunteers left messages of hope for refugees

“Look down at what you are wearing. If you have a bag with you, consider what is in it.”

It was a warm day; I wore a dress and cardigan but no jacket, and soft shoes. They would not last long if I had to flee like Amina, a refugee in Darfur; if the weather changed I would have no protection against the elements. I happened to have my passport in my handbag that day, an unusual occurrence for me, but an important document that links me to the country of my birth. I had my house keys: but what use would they be if I could not go home? My wallet had a few coins, a bank card, a passport photo of my husband – the money would not get me far, neither would the contents of my bank account if I could no longer go to work. My mobile phone would provide a link with my family, directions to another destination, photos that would provide me with memories of my life and home – but only until the battery ran out, as I had no charger with me.

What prompted me to reflect on my clothes, my handbag? To wonder how I would get on with only the items I had with me, away from home? I was taking part in our new Lampedusa Cross refugee pilgrimage, an ideal opportunity to reflect on “welcoming the outsider” during this Year of Mercy.

Download CAFOD’s Lampedusa Cross pilgrimage for young people

It has been a privilege to be involved in this term’s training days for our school volunteers. Last week I spent the day with about fifteen volunteers in Portsmouth diocese; last month I spent a day visiting our Birmingham volunteers. Over the past term, 100 schools volunteers have been trained in leading this poignant pilgrimage. They now have the resources to support your local Catholic primary or secondary school in learning more about the current refugee crisis and praying for those looking for a safe place to stay.

Continue reading “Schools volunteers take our Lampedusa Cross pilgrimage”

My Lent Challenge: Going ‘tea’-total!

Tom, from CAFOD’s fundraising team, challenged himself to give up hot drinks for Lent. He tells us how he got on, and reflects on how the generosity of CAFOD supporters in the UK is helping people like those he met in Kenya.

CAFOD's Tom has his first cup of tea since the start of Lent
First brew and a slice of brack – Happy Easter!

This Lent, I took on a challenge very different to my usual no-sweet-things observance. In line with CAFOD’s aqua themed fundraising appeal, I decided to take up a water challenge and drink no hot drinks for 40 days and 40 nights.

There is still time to donate to CAFOD’s Lent appeal and help change lives

For some people this would be fairly straight forward. But I come from a long line of tea drinkers and would usually have at least 3 cups a day. A visit to my Nan’s is synonymous with having a brew, and if you were to turn one down you’d immediately be confronted with a “What’s wrong?!”

Continue reading “My Lent Challenge: Going ‘tea’-total!”

Virgin London Marathon 2016: Team CPL Aromas running for CAFOD!

Bright and early on the morning of Sunday, 24 April, eight runners from CAFOD corporate supporter CPL Aromas will be making their way to the start line of the 2016 Virgin London Marathon. Here three members of Team CPL tell us about the highs and lows of training, along with their motivations for taking on this huge challenge.

Chris Pickthall, Group CEO, CPL Aromas:

Chris-Pickthall-marathon-running-800x800
Chris has completed 14 marathons and visited CAFOD projects in Kenya and Sudan

“When I heard that CAFOD had spaces for the London Marathon, we put a note on the CPL intranet asking if anyone would like to take part. Much to my surprise, we now have eight runners!

Sponsor Team CPL and support CAFOD’s work with vulnerable communities

Back in January, I completed the Dubai marathon. I’ve done 14 marathons and this was the most difficult. I found it really tough. We were running up and down one long road, which gets a bit monotonous. The atmosphere at the London Marathon is sensational and I am really looking forward to it.

Continue reading “Virgin London Marathon 2016: Team CPL Aromas running for CAFOD!”