Supporting Lebanese and refugee women

CAFOD founders pictured on the first fast day in 1960
CAFOD founders, including Jackie Stuyt and Elspeth Orchard, in 1960

Neil Roper talks to Margaret Clark, President of the National Board of Catholic Women (NBCW), about the year of fundraising for CAFOD’s 60th anniversary and invites you to a quiz on Saturday May 7th at 7pm, raising money to support vulnerable Lebanese and refugee women.

Continue reading “Supporting Lebanese and refugee women”

CAFOD – Empowering women from day one

Becky is the World Gifts manager at CAFOD. She tells us about the inspiration she gathers from our female founders and our new director, as well as the women she learns about through her research for World Gifts.

When I first looked at applying to CAFOD, one of the things that really struck me about them as a charity is the story of their founders. Back in 1960, Jackie Stuyt and Elspeth Orchard, alongside women from other Women’s Catholic unions, joined together to run the first Family Fast Day.

Continue reading “CAFOD – Empowering women from day one”

We celebrate the International Day of Women, with Krubah Weedor

Willet Salue is CAFOD’s local expert in Liberia, she tells us about Krubah Weedor who has fought for herself and women in Liberia to inherit land. A success we can all celebrate on International Day of Women.

Continue reading “We celebrate the International Day of Women, with Krubah Weedor”

The fruit of her hands: Karima’s story from Israel

Karima harvesting peppers on a farm in Israel

Olwen Maynard has been at CAFOD for over thirty years.  While reviewing project files to see what’s worked and what didn’t, she’s often amazed to see the difference that’s been made to people’s lives. On the International Day of Rural Women, Olwen shares Karima’s story.

Thumbing through CAFOD’s file on the Workers Advice Centre (WAC) in Israel, I was most surprised to see we’ve been supporting their work now for ten years.  Roni Ben-Efrat, one of the amazing Israeli women who got WAC started back in the 1990s, argues convincingly that lasting peace in the Middle East is impossible until all the people living there can make a decent living.  Many Arab families in the area known as the Triangle, a remote and largely rural part of northern Israel, live below the poverty line.  It’s not easy to find jobs at all, and it’s especially hard for housewives and mothers, almost all of whom left school without any qualifications.  WAC requested support from CAFOD to help them move into paid employment, and we agreed.

Karima Yahya was in her early forties, with six children old enough not to need her constantly around, and a husband who’d undergone heart surgery and was no longer able to work.  With no money coming in, they were sinking further and further into debt.  Then she met Wafa Tiara.

Find out more about CAFOD’s work in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian territory

Continue reading “The fruit of her hands: Karima’s story from Israel”

The long road to peace in Guatemala

At the beginning of a new year, Laura Ouseley in our communications team has been looking into the situation in Guatemala and hoping for a brighter and more peaceful future for Guatemala’s indigenous peoples.

Indigenous women from Alta Verapaz supported by CAFOD’s local Church partner Pastoral Social - Caritas Verapaz
Indigenous women from Alta Verapaz supported by CAFOD’s local Church partner Pastoral Social – Caritas Verapaz

Twenty years have passed since Guatemala’s decades-long internal armed conflict was ended with Peace Accords signed in 1996. An estimated 200,000 civilians were killed or disappeared during the conflict, most at the hands of the military, police and intelligence services.

The 1996 Peace Accords aimed not just to put an end to the conflict, but to address its underlying causes, and to guarantee the rights of victims to truth, justice, reparation and no-repetition.

Find out more about CAFOD’s work in Guatemala

But despite being ‘at peace’ for twenty years, the country remains one of the most dangerous places in the world, and those who suffered most in the conflict – indigenous peoples – continue to face discrimination and poverty. So, what has been achieved over the last 20 years, and have indigenous peoples and women been able to access the justice they were promised?

Continue reading “The long road to peace in Guatemala”

Bishop John Arnold visits our friends in Puentecitos.

In November 2016, the Chair of CAFOD, Bishop John Arnold, visited El Salvador and Nicaragua. The last stop of his 10-day programme was to visit our friends in Puentecitos. These are some of his reflections.

Chair of CAFOD, Bishop John Arnold visits Connect2 El Salvador
Closing ceremony of the women’s workshop

We set off for a day in the rural area of Guaymango in the Department of Ahuachapan. It was about a two-hour journey to the West, almost to Guatemala. The good roads lasted until just a few miles from Guaymango and the last couple of miles were really nothing more than a single track of unmade road.

The scenery, however, was magnificent with mountains and volcanoes dominating the plain which stretched across to the ocean, which was clearly visible. Everything here is green and manages to remain so for most of the year. Agriculture is the basis of all livelihoods here though factories and assembly plants are increasingly present, together with small hotels which are hoping to see an increase in the tourist trade, particularly for what is apparently excellent surfing. This part of El Salvador was not so much directly affected by the war (1980-92) but many young men here were “pressed” into the army. The area has suffered in recent years by the increasing control of gangs.

Find out more about Connect2 El Salvador.

Continue reading “Bishop John Arnold visits our friends in Puentecitos.”

Why I volunteer – to be “part of a vital piece of God’s machinery”

Portsmouth CAFOD volunteers show their love at a supporter meeting
Portsmouth CAFOD volunteers show their love at a supporter meeting

Ahead of Volunteers’ week, we asked a number of CAFOD volunteers to share their experiences with us.  Here, Anne-Marie McBrien, a parish volunteer in the Portsmouth diocese, tells us why she makes time in a very busy schedule to help:

Firstly – because I was asked to! This is a very important point, I think, as lots of people don’t realise that CAFOD always needs more people to help and that you don’t need to do much to make a difference.

I was asked by an older parishioner to take on the role because she was tired and her husband was ill and I am younger and more mobile. I resisted at first because I do so many other things, and I have so little time, but I said yes because she needed someone to take it off her.  I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to devote any time to CAFOD. I was invited to, but couldn’t make, the supporter’s meeting just after I had taken on the role. I didn’t think it mattered really, as I gave the short talk at mass for Lent and I put up the posters I was sent.  I felt I was too busy with other church things, school responsibilities and latterly, the Scouts. Too much to do!

See more of our volunteering opportunities

The next supporters’ meeting I was able to attend.  As a result of it, my attitude to volunteering with CAFOD changed.

Continue reading “Why I volunteer – to be “part of a vital piece of God’s machinery””