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”

Bishop John’s last couple of days in Niger

Bishop John Arnold, CAFOD’s Chair of Trustees, has now returned from visiting Niger. He visited CAFOD partners there and our Hands On Doutchi project. Read more about this trip here. 

Bishop John Arnold, CAFOD Chair of Trustees
Bishop John Arnold at a UK event in 2016

Hands On is a special series of CAFOD projects that allows you to support a specific community with a project. Our latest project in Bolivia is still open for new supporters to join. 

Day five – return to the city

Today was the long journey back to the capital city of Niamey. The journey was certainly long but by no means tedious and I keep reminding myself of the privilege of being here and experiencing the life of the people and a place which could not be much further removed from life in Manchester.

Continue reading “Bishop John’s last couple of days in Niger”

Bishop John’s diary from Niger

Bishop John Arnold, CAFOD’s Chair of Trustees, is currently visiting Niger. He will be visiting CAFOD partners there, including our Hands On Doutchi project. Bishop John is also keen to build stronger links with the local Catholic Church. 

Hands On is a special series of CAFOD projects that allows you to support a specific community with a project. Our latest project in Bolivia is still open for new supporters. Find out more about Hands On in Bolivia

Continue reading “Bishop John’s diary from Niger”

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”

January exercise: Four reasons to be hopeful for 2017

Mark Chamberlain is a communications officer for CAFOD. Here he shares his four reasons to be hopeful for the year ahead.

CAFOD climate campaign
CAFOD staff members take part in a Climate Campaign outside Westminster Cathedral.

This is a great January exercise: take five minutes to come up with four reasons to be hopeful with the world around us.

I’ll admit right now, it’s not easy. One in every 113 people in the world is now either a refugee, an internally displaced person or an asylum-seeker. Picture the Christmas Eve Mass now – that’s at least one person in the service. If you’ve got a school assembly this week, take a look around. That will probably mean perhaps five of that assembly will be a person who has had to leave their home because they were forced to.

Follow us online and make 2017 the year you speak out against poverty and injustice!

Continue reading “January exercise: Four reasons to be hopeful for 2017”

Harvest Fast Day: bearing witness to life-changing work

David Mutua, CAFOD’s Africa News Officer based in Nairobi, reflects on some of the invaluable projects he has seen helping people to grow food in Kenya.

John waters crops beside his greenhouse - Kenya
“Farming has ensured that my children do not sleep hungry and we live much better than we did.” John

Kenya is renowned not only for its award-winning beaches but also the breathtaking safaris. Alongside the 47 million citizens who call Kenya home, many people across the United Kingdom have a special place in their hearts for my country. Members of the British Royal Family have holidayed amidst some of our natural beauty spots on the foothills of Mount Kenya.

Away from the tourist brochures, the lives of so many are being disrupted by the adverse effects of climate change. For people who have always lived off the land, who depend on it to feed their families and earn a living, these changes are having a dramatic impact.

CAFOD food and farming projects in northern Kenya

In June I headed to Maralal and Marsabit in northern Kenya, where CAFOD is working on a climate and agriculture programme funded by our Lent 2015 appeal. The UK government matched pound for pound £5m raised by CAFOD’s supporters, and we are using part of this money to work alongside our partners Caritas Maralal and Caritas Marsabit to teach more than 97,000 community members sustainable farming methods that can be adopted in the very unforgiving environment.

This Harvest, fast for a day and send in the money you save

In Maralal town, climate change has caused rainfall to decrease and become erratic. Water sources have dried up and there’s less pasture for the predominantly pastoralist Samburu community to graze their cattle. Continue reading “Harvest Fast Day: bearing witness to life-changing work”

Harvest Fast Day: happy apthapi!

Looking for fundraising event ideas for Harvest Fast Day? Nikki Evans is CAFOD’s programme officer for Bolivia, and in this blog describes the Bolivian tradition of holding shared community picnics. 

apthapi-bolivia
A Bolivian apthapi in the Andes.

In Bolivia, when Andean communities or families come together to share the food together, this is called an apthapi (pronounced “ap-tappy”).  The tradition of apthapi was born in the countryside in the Andes in Bolivia where people brought the food they had produced on their land and from their animals during the time of year when the food was in season.

At an apthapi organised by CAFOD partners, the women of the community arrive with a large brightly-coloured shawl filled with food to share. There are always potatoes, chuño (freeze dried black potatoes) and broad beans. Usually people bring a salsa with tomatoes and onions to enjoy with the food. Sometimes families have made cheese, boiled some eggs or cooked some fish if they live near Lake Titicaca – it depends on the food available.

Find resources to organise a Harvest Fast Day event in your parish.

Continue reading “Harvest Fast Day: happy apthapi!”

One community, two years and 25 million litres of water – the Hands On story in Kenya

Starting in April 2014, nearly two thousand dedicated CAFOD supporters joined Hands On, and over the past two years have been funding an incredible water project in Kitui, eastern Kenya. As the project comes to an end, Sally Kitchener looks at the impact of these generous donations.

Tabitha records the rainfall in Kitui, Kenya
Tabitha records the rainfall in Kitui, Kenya

Tabitha holds the small plastic rain gauge up to the light to take the reading. She carefully leans over, balances a blue chart on her knee and writes down the measurement. It’s another zero. It should be the beginning of the rainy season here in Kitui, Kenya, but Tabitha’s rain gauge hasn’t recorded a drop of rain for months.

Two years ago, the late rains would have been a disaster for Tabitha and her family. With their local reservoir dried up, and the nearest river two hours’ walk away, the lack of rain would have meant thirst, hunger, and illness. But since then, Tabitha’s life has changed dramatically.

£21 a month, over two years, can build a water storage tank to irrigate a whole farm

In just 24 months, Tabitha, along with 1,440 women and men in her community, and more than 1,700 CAFOD supporters, have worked together to restore their reservoir and bring water back to Kitui. Continue reading “One community, two years and 25 million litres of water – the Hands On story in Kenya”

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””

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”