Can £28 really stop a family going hungry?

Sally Kitchener, from CAFOD’s communications team, recently visited Zimbabwe. She tells us how hearing a mother’s story about hunger affected her.  She also shares some good news about vegetable gardens and invites you to help tackle malnutrition by donating to the CAFOD Lent Appeal.

A few months ago, I met Marian Magumise in her home in rural Zimbabwe. After packing the children off to school just after dawn, Marian invited me to sit in her cooking hut. The embers from the fire were still warm and the smell of porridge hung in the air.

Marian told me that she hasn’t always been able to give her children a meal before school. In fact, there have been countless times – months on end – when she has had not an oat or a grain to feed them.

Donate to CAFOD’s Lent Appeal

Continue reading “Can £28 really stop a family going hungry?”

Social media detox this Lent

Georgia is currently studying youth work and community development at De Montfort University in Leicester. She previously volunteered for the Nottingham Diocesan Youth Service’s retreat centre and outreach team. During the last year Georgia got the opportunity to be an ambassador for CAFOD and blog about her year.

This year for Lent Georgia will be attempting to give up social media and go on a digital detox. In order to do this, she will be giving up Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter. This is going to be a real test of Georgia’s willpower because she considers herself a ‘social media addict’.

Why I am taking this challenge

I am guilty- just like many other students of being obsessed with social media and having the need to always check their phone. Whether it be trying to take the perfect selfie or boomerang for Instagram. Snapchatting my mates, following my favourite people on twitter- including Pope Francis- or just simply keeping up with my friends and family on Facebook. Continue reading “Social media detox this Lent”

Fast to go slow: how fasting can transform you this Lent

Susy works in the CAFOD Theology team. Although she hasn’t always looked forward to fasting, this year she is going vegan for Lent. Here she tells us how she thinks fasting for Lent can transform her, and her relationships.

Fasting. The word doesn’t fill most people with joy. I know for me there has often been a slight dread about fasting. It is not something to look forward to, is it? Eating less, maybe giving something up that we enjoy. A sacrifice – surely it will be painful?

Follow CAFOD on twitter for tips on how to keep going with your Lenten fast.

I think though, like anything else, how we view fasting, how we approach it, makes an awful lot of difference to the experience. When I was much younger there was a short time in my life when I fasted on bread and water once a week. I would get splitting headaches and I was always very relieved when the day was over. I saw it as perhaps helping in my relationship with God, but I don’t remember making any connections with those who struggle to have bread and water every day.

Having worked at CAFOD for fifteen years now, I see fasting in a different light. I also have a much more positive attitude towards it – it is actually something I can look forward to! Why? For four main reasons. I feel fasting can help transform me in four areas – in my relationship with God, in my relationship with others, with creation and with myself. Here’s how I see it:

Continue reading “Fast to go slow: how fasting can transform you this Lent”

A message to all those preparing to fast

Promise Simwinde Muleya works for one of our Caritas partners in Zimbabwe. As thousands of people across England and Wales prepare for CAFOD’s Family Fast Day, Promise shares a message of solidarity.

From Zimbabwe to you

To all those that are taking part in the Lent campaign, I have a special message to all of you.

I say to you, appealingly, imagine and remember the children and the breastfeeding mothers in Zimbabwe who hardly have a meal to eat each day.

Donate to CAFOD’s Lent Appeal

Continue reading “A message to all those preparing to fast”

A fruity challenge this Lent

We are Hal and Cherrie from London based east-meets-west electronic pop group Ooberfuse.

Hal Bangalore from Ooberfuse
Giving up all hot food and drinks to support CAFOD #GiveItUpChallenge

Hal could not really think of many specific food items that start with “H” aside from ham, hamburgers and halloumi so he thought he would just go for all “Hot” food and “Hot” drinks. This will be a real daily challenge as Hal loves his hot tea and drinks tea at least 7 times a day!

Cherrie is giving up cherries this Lent!
Cherrie is giving up cherries this Lent!

Cherrie will give up all food starting with ‘CH’ – CHicken, CHocolate, CHeese, CHips and CHerries etc.

She absolutely loves chocolates – she is a certified chocoholic, so the #Giveitupchallenge will be a tough everyday challenge for Lent. Usually post gigs and rehearsals, we all go out for fried chicken and chips, so this will be something that will need to change too.

Why we are taking this challenge this Lent

We are happy to be part of the #Giveitupchallenge as an act of solidarity, to help raise funds and help support families living in poverty overseas

Continue reading “A fruity challenge this Lent”

Your Harvest donations: progress in the Bolivian Altiplano

Your Harvest donations are a vital lifeline for people all over the world. Last Harvest we introduced you to a community in Bolivia and invited you to join them in their journey towards an abundant harvest. One year into the project, Nikki Evans, CAFOD’s Bolivia Programme Officer, revisits one of the families you have helped.

Your donation can sow an abundant harvest

I first met Rosa Mamani and her four small children in 2016. I was visiting families that had just joined CAFOD’s Hands On project in the highlands of Bolivia near Lake Titicaca.

Why are your donations needed?

Many of the poorest rural farmers live in this area known as the Altiplano. Nestled high in the Andes mountains at over 12,000 feet, this plateau is arid and the farmers live at the mercy of the unpredictable and challenging weather. Continue reading “Your Harvest donations: progress in the Bolivian Altiplano”

Bringing water to Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe, water from Chiwashira DamSally Kitchener looks at how donations to CAFOD’s first match funded appeal, during Lent 2012, brought drinking water to a remote town in Zimbabwe.

I am woken by a gentle tapping sound. It’s 5:30am. I extract myself from the tangle of my mosquito net and shuffle to unlock my door. Outside is a bucket of steaming water. It’s a welcome sight.

It’s my second day in Zimbabwe and I’m staying in Nembudzia, a remote town in Gokwe North district. My room is basic but it has everything I need – a bed, a desk, and even an en-suite bathroom. Only, the sink and shower feel a little redundant, as there’s not a drop of water in the taps.

CAFOD’s progress on water Continue reading “Bringing water to Zimbabwe”

Your Lent donations – a new chapter of life for thousands of people in poverty

As we continue to celebrate the Easter Season, Jessica Coffin, CAFOD’s Communications Officer, shares a hopeful story from Zambia.

Mulenga in his wheelchair in Zambia
Donations to CAFOD’s Lent Appeal will help more people like Mulenga

In the days leading up to Easter Sunday, I came across a story. A story that was full of obstacles and hardship, but also full of hope. It reminded me of the hope that comes with Easter.

From the age of five, Mulenga lived with his grandfather in the village of Chushi in Mbala, Northern Zambia. Life was challenging. Mulenga had complex physical and mental disabilities but he did not have a wheelchair, so his only way of moving around was by rolling his body or being lifted by others.

Donate to CAFOD’s Lent Appeal Continue reading “Your Lent donations – a new chapter of life for thousands of people in poverty”

Two years on – what your Lent 2015 donations achieved

Thanks to your generosity during CAFOD’s Lent 2015 Appeal, the UK government matched your donations, giving £5 million to help families cope with the changing climate. David Mutua, CAFOD’s news officer based in Nairobi, visited one mother in Kenya who has benefited from your kindness.

Naomi in Kenya
Naomi has been shown ways to cope with the changing climate in Kenya

On the leeward side of the rolling hills of Samburu in Kenya, a cock crows as the rays of the rising sun cut across the landscape of Nomotio village. Naomi, 31, is already awake, and getting her three young children ready for school. After a light breakfast, Naomi bids them farewell and busies herself with the daily chores.

Donate to CAFOD’s Lent Appeal, so all can flourish Continue reading “Two years on – what your Lent 2015 donations achieved”

The first Family Fast Day

CAFOD was founded when women from the National Board of Catholic Women, the Catholic Women’s League and the Union of Catholic Mothers organised the first CAFOD Family Fast Day in 1960. Mildred Nevile, who was involved at the time, shares her memories of this key moment in CAFOD history.

Women of the World, with Sr Alicia - CAFOD
The group who organised the first Family Fast Day, with CAFOD’s first partner, Sr Alicia.

When Fast Day first took place, many families saw it as an opportunity to practice giving something up – voluntarily – and for the sake of others.

In the early 1960s, the Catholic community was much less affluent than it is today. Many people had known hardship and poverty and had sympathy for those who were struggling to survive.

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Frequently those opening the envelopes from Fast Day appeals were deeply humbled by the letters that accompanied donations. Continue reading “The first Family Fast Day”