‘Volunteering helps me feel more connected – even in lockdown’

Thomas Kimaru is a CAFOD volunteer in Southwark. This Volunteers’ Week, he describes how he was first inspired to volunteer by his parish priest in Kenya, and why he thinks it’s important to stay in touch during lockdown.

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Back to school: Volunteering with CAFOD

Kezia is from Brentwood and has just finished a year volunteering with CAFOD as part of the Young Leadership programme, and has written  about her experience to inspire others to get involved this year. 

Young leader Kezia
Kezia taking part in the Power to be campaign.

My year with CAFOD would not have started without my faith. My faith drove me to apply for CAFOD’s young leadership programme and to develop my passion for helping others. I had heard about CAFOD through my school but not in much depth, so when I applied for the programme, I didn’t know what to expect. Looking back, what I loved about the programme is the hands-on attitude. In my spare time, I do a lot of dance and that has made me want to get in and get involved. The young leadership programme is all about getting involved and raising awareness of CAFOD’s campaigns, so this programme was perfect for me. I was lucky enough to experience this for a whole year.

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Getting business on side to transform the world

Farzana is the Head of Major Gifts and Philanthropy at CAFOD. She introduces her open reflection on the role of the private sector for the common good and invites us to join it.

At CAFOD, my team and I are called to work with supporters who are looking to partner with us to reach those who need our help the most.

Corporate partnerships are a mutually enriching way to engage with CAFOD, donating as an organization to fund life-saving work while achieving client and employee engagement.

Corporate donations, company-matched giving and fundraising as an organisation are great ways to bring about positive change directly from our workplace.

Find out how your organisation can get involved with CAFOD

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Time for Time Out

Daniel Hale is CAFOD’s Head of Campaigns. In November, CAFOD will be hosting retreats all around the country, giving supporters a chance to reflect on faith and taking action in light of the Year of Mercy.

There are only three more weeks until the end of the Year of Mercy, the holy year called by Pope Francis to reflect on the mercy of God. Of course reflection is good at any time, but why did the Pope ask for this year to be the year?

I think it was a clever way to ask us to take a fresh look at the problems faced by the world and its people. The refugee crisis, to which Pope Francis had tried to draw so much attention was one such issue.

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The Lampedusa Cross has been an image of hope during the Year of Mercy

 

Over several years Francis had done a lot to promote the cause of refugees, including visiting Lampedusa, where so many migrants washed up on European shores. But the world was slow to act.

Send refugees a message of hope

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Great Generation: Faith in Action award

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Julia is making new year resolutions for September!

Julia from CAFOD’s Youth Team shares her news year’s resolution for the new academic year and shares how young people can do their CYMED Faith in Action Award volunteering with CAFOD.

“The times we live in do not call for young ‘couch potatoes’ but for young people with shoes, or better, boots laced.” Pope Francis, World Youth Day, 2016.

I’ve made a new year’s resolution… I need to go to World Youth Day! Even though by Panama 2019, I’ll be (just!) out of the age bracket, I’ll have to find a group to go with. I know I’ll make it one day!

Download CAFOD resources to support your CYMFED Faith in Action award

Each person I speak to who was in Krakow this year has something amazing to say: ‘Exhilarating’, ‘electric’, ‘joy-filled’. ‘The Pope said some really inspiring and challenging things’. ‘WYD’s about our relationship with Jesus and what we do about that. To be a couch potato or to be active.’

An amazing group of young adults went to WYD in Rio in 2013 with CAFOD – volunteers from the UK alongside CAFOD partners in Brazil including Marianne and Maristely.

You can’t help but feel the energy and inspiration.

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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

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Why I volunteer: “life and faith are interconnected”

Margaret, a spirituality volunteer from the Shrewsbury diocese, shares the strong role of her faith, and how this motivates her to volunteer.

I have always been interested in the work of CAFOD, and inspired and impressed by its spirit, which is rooted in the Gospel. For me, having faith cannot be separated from living this faith, in the reality of everyday life.

I have spent my professional life in education, in one form or another. My last job was Assistant Director of Schools in the Diocese of Shrewsbury, where I worked for 11 ½ years. I retired in July 2011, and since then I have been involved in working in different parishes around the Diocese, delivering both training and reflective sessions for readers, Eucharistic Ministers, parish retreats, and so on.

CAFOD staff and volunteers join Bishop John Arnold in prayer in Romero House
CAFOD staff and volunteers join Bishop John Arnold in prayer in Romero House

At present, I am working as a spirituality volunteer. This includes helping to prepare liturgies for various occasions, linking Scripture with CST, and rooting this in everyday life. Who knows what else I may do!

See more of our volunteer opportunities

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Lenten works of mercy: Welcome the newcomer

Jo Kitterick is Head of Development Education at CAFOD. In this blog she describes meeting Fr Paul, Director of Caritas Lebanon and hearing a powerful story of mercy, love and hope.

How much I desire that the year to come will be steeped in mercy, so that we can go out to every man and woman, bringing the goodness and tenderness of God!’ (Misericordia Vultus April 2015)

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Students at Cardinal Newman School, Luton, commit to CAFOD Lent actions for the Year of Mercy

Across schools, parishes and cathedrals, momentum has been gathering to mark the Year of Mercy. I hear talk of holy doors, children writing poems and prayers on mercy, people making time to reflect on how we really open our hearts to God and to others.

CAFOD partner, Fr Paul, Director of Caritas Lebanon, passed through the door of CAFOD’s London office just two weeks ago. I had the privilege of speaking with him before he left to return home to Beirut.

The civil war in Lebanon was a regular news item on the television when I was a child. Lebanon continues to be in the news because this small country of just over four million is hosting over a million refugees affected by the war in Syria. The door to these refugees’ homes are the flaps of tents, openings to disused buildings. Some are doors shared with local families. The bed for a family can be a towel or a cloth on a cold concrete floor.

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Lenten works of mercy: Give drink to the thirsty

Today is Lent Fast Day, a day to think about how we can help provide water for all. Giving water to the thirsty is a very practical and valued act of mercy, as CAFOD gap year volunteer Bea Findley explains.  Capture

In England and Wales, it’s hard to believe there is a shortage of water in the world.

The toilet will always flush and the tap will always work. We are told to save water, yet look out the window and see rain pour down. Whilst it may be difficult to understand coming from a British climate that water is precious, today on Lent Fast Day, I’m remembering why it’s so important to stand in solidarity with people around the world who are in need of water.

One of the corporal works of mercy is to ‘give drink to the thirsty’, and Pope Francis calls us to do just that in this Jubilee Year of Mercy. Last month I visited CAFOD partner CEAS in Peru, and saw just how precious water is in one particular community.

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