World Humanitarian Day – a day with Syrian refugees

Each year since 2009, World Humanitarian Day has been held on 19 August to mobilise support for people affected by crises around the world and to pay tribute to all those who risk their lives in humanitarian service. Yadviga Clark, CAFOD’s Emergency Programme Officer for the Syria Crisis response, shares her experiences of visiting Syrian refugees that have settled in Lebanon.

Conflict so often affects innocent people – many flee for their lives, families are torn apart and displaced from their homes, children are traumatised and taken out of school, and aid workers risk their lives to care for people caught up in the violence.

Pray for all those affected by conflict

Last month I spent a day with Syrian refugee children who are living in an informal settlement in the Bekaa valley, Lebanon.

Continue reading “World Humanitarian Day – a day with Syrian refugees”

Philippines Typhoon: Three years on

Sophie Allin is CAFOD’s Emergency Programme Manager for the Philippines. Since Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines three years ago, she has seen communities rebuild their lives with the help of CAFOD’s local partners. Here she tells us what has been achieved with the generous donations of our supporters.

One of the new schools re-built after Typhoon Haiyan by CAFOD’s partner in Bantayan
One of the new schools re-built after Typhoon Haiyan by CAFOD’s partner in Bantayan

This November, we remember those who lost their lives three years ago to Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. As communities brace themselves for new typhoons, we continue to support people to rebuild their lives and hopes.

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Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines on 8 November 2013. More than 6,000 people died and five million families lost their homes. On a recent visit, I met with some of the communities CAFOD has been working with over the last three years, thanks to the generosity of our supporters.

Continue reading “Philippines Typhoon: Three years on”

HIV and AIDS: An emergency once again

Harriet Jones, CAFOD’s HIV Advisor, talks about her experience at the recent International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.

Harriet Jones, CAFOD’s HIV Advisor, talks about her experience at the recent International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.                                                         

Find out more about our HIV and AIDS work

The International AIDS conference brings people, involved in every aspect of HIV

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21 International AIDS conference (2016) Durban, South Africa 22/07/2016. Durban ICC Random Pictures Photo International AIDS society / Abhi Indrarajan

response, together – from activists to health care workers, non-governmental organisations to pharmaceutical companies. Faith leaders to scientists, celebrities to government officials, and most importantly, women, men, and young people from around the world, living with and affected by living with and affected by HIV and AIDS

The AIDS conference was last held in Durban in 2000, in Durban, South Africa. Then, the epidemic was considered an emergency, with significant numbers of people dying each month, without access to the antiretroviral treatment keeping people alive, that we have now.

Watch our HIV/AIDS animation 

The theme of the conference was ‘breaking the silence’. Nelson Mandela addressed those in Durban, and called upon the world to, “break the silence, banish stigma and discrimination, and ensure total inclusiveness within the struggle against AIDS.” Continue reading “HIV and AIDS: An emergency once again”

Ethiopia appeal: Betam amasayganalo Ethiopia!

Today more than 10 million women, men and children in Ethiopia are struggling with severe hunger caused by drought. With CAFOD working to respond, Jade Till, from our news team, describes her experience of the country’s rich culture and natural beauty.

CAFOD Children in Ethiopia play by the side of a river
“Ethiopia is where life happens”

Ethiopia is where life happens. Recently, Ethiopia has been in the news due to a widespread drought. What’s rarely told is the wondrous beauty of Ethiopia. It’s a dynamic country, rich in culture and history, I’m fortunate enough to have experienced it.

Donate to CAFOD’s Ethiopia Food Crisis Appeal

Coffee!

Probably what Ethiopia is most well-known for is coffee. Anyone who’s met me for longer than five minutes knows I’m a coffee drinker. Ethiopia is why I love, and drink, so much coffee.

I remember experiencing my first traditional coffee ceremony. No matter where I was in Ethiopia or if I was in the city or a rural village, the coffee was always served in a traditional style. Grass (even in areas where I hadn’t seen grass for days) is laid out around the coffee area. The woman making the coffee always wore a traditional, flowing, white gown. The coffee beans would be; washed, roasted, crushed, mixed into hot water, and then placed in a traditional coffee pot. The coffee would be shared and you would always drink seven cups of coffee during the coffee ceremony! Ethiopian coffee is extremely strong; it’s also extremely delicious.

Meet the tiny breakfast grain helping to save lives

Continue reading “Ethiopia appeal: Betam amasayganalo Ethiopia!”

Refugee crisis: A message from Lebanon

Mark Chamberlain is a communications officer with CAFOD. He spent time with refugees in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley in December 2015. On International Families Day, he writes about meeting some of the families there.

Razir is a 40-year-old mother of five. It was just after 11 in the morning when I visited her tent.

She offered for me to sit down on the only blanket the family had. I declined, blew into my hands to keep them warm and chose the bare floor instead. It was like sitting on ice.

Send a message of hope to refugees today Continue reading “Refugee crisis: A message from Lebanon”

Hope and grief in Nepal one year after the earthquake

Chris Bain, CAFOD Director, writes about his recent visit to Rasuwa district in Nepal one year on from two devastating earthquakes. Watch a short video of Chris in Nepal and read about some of the families who are rebuilding their lives thanks to donations from CAFOD supporters and the tireless work of our partners.

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Just over a year ago, a devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit Nepal north of Kathmandu. A few weeks later, on 12 May, another 7.3 magnitude earthquake struck in the northeast of the country. Nearly 9,000 people died, thousands more were injured, and 600,000 lost their homes and livelihoods. One year on, I travelled to Nepal to meet the communities that were affected, and see the work that CAFOD through our partners in Nepal have carried out to help people recover from this tragedy. It was my third visit to Nepal and I was saddened to see the impact of the disaster on the beautiful landscape and villages we passed.

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In Rasuwa, near the border with China, I met Kamala Thalea who lost her young son, two daughters and her mother when the earthquake struck. Kamala’s surviving daughter, Asmita aged 13, told me that she survived the earthquake because she was in a wooden section of their home, while her brother, sisters and grandmother were in a section of the house built of stone. Her hip was injured by falling rubble, but still she saved her two-year-old cousin who lay in the debris next door. Kamala was visiting her mother-in-law in a village three hours away, and arrived home the next day to a collapsed home and her lost children.

She said, “My family and old life are gone now, I only have my eldest daughter left with me.” Continue reading “Hope and grief in Nepal one year after the earthquake”

Nepal earthquakes: rebuilding lives and homes one year on

Janet Crossley is CAFOD’s Emergency Programme Manager for Nepal. One year on from the devastating earthquakes which struck Nepal in April and May 2015 watch Janet’s short video from Nepal and read how the generosity of supporters has helped our partners reach the people who were most affected.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0wt0jndoVuY?rel=0&w=560&h=315]

When I arrived in the village of Bungkot in Gorkha district, piles of rubble still filled spaces where houses once stood. Grass and crops had already started to grow out of the heaps of stone and dust that families once called home.

Please pray for the people of Nepal

I first visited Gorkha district in western Nepal three months after the 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck on Saturday 25 April. It devastated the lives of more than 5 million people, killing over 8,700, and reducing more than half a million homes to rubble. A second earthquake caused further destruction when it hit three weeks later on 12 May.

Continue reading “Nepal earthquakes: rebuilding lives and homes one year on”

Youth leaders: Hannah reflects on the European refugee crisis

Hannah Remm is a youth worker at The Briars, the residential youth centre for the Diocese of Nottingham. Over the past year Hannah has been involved with CAFOD’s ambassador scheme, and recently she gathered with other youth leaders to spend time reflecting on the current refugee crisis and CAFOD’s response in Syria and Europe.

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Hannah is a member of the Briars youth team in Nottingham diocese

As a part of our CAFOD Ambassadors scheme, we a day at the CAFOD office at Romero House discussing the topic of refugees. We looked at the language we associate with refugees, the stories that we had heard in the news and on social media along with other information about the European refugee crisis. Some of the things discussed did shock me a little, especially when we looked at how often the media portrays refugees in in a dehumanising way, such as the refugees in Calais living in ‘The Jungle’ camp, or politicians referring to them arriving in ‘swarms’. As a group we realised that the language we use is so important. Refugees are still people – people with families, emotions, hope and dreams just like us. Continue reading “Youth leaders: Hannah reflects on the European refugee crisis”

World Day for Migrants and Refugees

This blog is written by Linda Jones, Head of the CAFOD Theology Programme. Linda shares her thoughts on the World Day for Migrants and Refugees in this Year of Mercy.

Aza and her young son
Aza and her son

‘Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.’ (Luke 6:36).

“They (refugees) are men and women like us… seeking a better life, starving, persecuted, wounded, exploited, victims of war” Pope Francis.

Last year the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) recorded that more than one million migrants and refugees had crossed the Mediterranean Sea, seeking sanctuary in Europe. Sadly, the UN Refugee agency (UNCHR) say that over 3,700 other children, women and men did not survive the perilous journey by sea, and drowned on their journey to safety.

Find out more about our response to the refugee crisis

Aza fled Syria with her infant son because of the war. She said, “They told us that there would be 35 people in our boat but when we arrived there were more than 200. We were in the sea and the engine stopped. The first thing we did was call the coastguard but they didn’t come.

Continue reading “World Day for Migrants and Refugees”

Refugee crisis: update from Lesbos

Abandoned life-jackets on a beach on Lesbos
Abandoned life-jackets on a beach on Lesbos

Zoe Corden from CAFOD’s Emergency Response Team is currently in Greece, supporting our local partners in their response to the refugee crisis. She writes:

Flying into Lesbos you see the aftermath of the crossings before you even land on the island. Along the coast scarlet life-jackets and sodden clothes litter the narrow bay, evidence of the previous crossings. Out to sea in the distance it is possible to see Turkey rising on the horizon.

This week there have been strikes among transport workers in Turkey. This has meant that everyone, Greeks and refugees alike, are stranded on the islands unless they purchase expensive flights. No departures were scheduled until Friday, and these are likely to be hugely oversubscribed.

Please donate to our refugee crisis appeal

Father Leon, whose parish covers the islands of Chios and Lesbos, was meant to return to his home island of Chios after visiting Lesbos on Sunday, but he remains on the island, stranded just as the refugees are. On Wednesday we had the opportunity to visit Kara Tepe refugee camp with him while he waited to return home. Continue reading “Refugee crisis: update from Lesbos”