Step into the Gap: A diagnosis does not define you

 Hannah Henley, who is currently taking part in CAFOD’s Step in the Gap, writes this report about meeting an inspirational mother and son in Ethiopia. She explains how with the help of CAFOD’s local partners, people are not only living but thriving with a HIV positive status.

Step into the Gap volunteers with Sr Evlyn, who works at the Daughters of Charity HIV project.
Step into the Gap volunteers with Sr Evlyn, who works at the Daughters of Charity HIV project.

The first few days of our Ethiopian adventure have been full of inspiration, admiration and flavour. We have been staying with CAFOD partners, The Daughters of Charity, in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.

Find out more about Step into the Gap

I think I can speak for the whole group when I say we couldn’t have wished for a warmer welcome – and that’s nothing to do with the 27 degrees weather. We have been lucky enough to spend time three wonderful sisters, CAFOD staff, and are getting to know our driver Soloman.

The Daughters of Charity run a HIV and AIDS clinic. The project provides testing for HIV, a HIV prevention programme, financial support, heath and sanitation training and business training.

Continue reading “Step into the Gap: A diagnosis does not define you”

2017, the beginning of the end of AIDS?

Madison McCulla works for one of CAFOD’s partners in Uganda, supporting people living with HIV and AIDS. She reflects on the achievements that have been made since the 1980s.

Nalwadda Nuluyati at a consultation with staff at CAFOD partner Kitovu Mobile in Uganda
A consultation at Kitovu Mobile clinic in Uganda

It is possible that AIDS could be eradicated within the next 15 years. If 90 per cent of all people worldwide living with HIV get tested, if 90 per cent of those who test positive go on treatment, and if 90 per cent of the people on treatment have the HIV virus supressed in their body (the UNAIDS targets for 2020), then research predicts that AIDS will be eradicated by 2030.

With more effective methods available and reduced costs for HIV prevention, testing and treatment, a world without AIDS becomes more realistic. However, a lot of work still needs to be done for these ‘ifs’ to be achieved.

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12 Years of progress – CAFOD’s development work

Tania Dalton works in CAFOD’s Latin America Team. As we celebrate the success of our two year water project in Kitui, Tania reflects on the long-term development projects she’s been part of in her time with CAFOD, and their ongoing impact today.

CAFOD El Salvador Ana Manganaro Clinic staff
Some of the staff at the Ana Manganaro Clinic

I am blessed to work in CAFOD’s Latin America team: my life is constantly enriched by the people I encounter.  Seeing change over time is especially wonderful.  The Ana Manganaro Clinic in Guarjila, El Salvador, is a great example of taking the long view.  I visited it first in 2004, and again earlier this year.  In those twelve years, it transformed from a small building where community health workers received training in the yard, to a comprehensive rural health centre, with a maternity care unit, dentist, nutritionist, physiotherapist and other key health services.  In 2010, the clinic integrated with the Ministry of Health.  Now it serves 16,500 people across eight municipalities and is recognised as a model for rural health services.

Find out about our latest Hands On project in Bolivia

Marlene, my guide when I visited this year, helped me to appreciate fully the transformation of the clinic.

Continue reading “12 Years of progress – CAFOD’s development work”

Pedal Against Poverty 2015

Jon Stricklin-Coutinho, Manager for Westminster Diocese, tells us why you should Pedal Against Poverty.

Pedal Against Poverty for CAFOD
Pedal Against Poverty annual bike ride

For nearly a decade CAFOD supporters from Westminster, Southwark and Brentwood have come together in the Lee Valley to Pedal Against Poverty. On Sunday 7 June almost 200 cyclists will be taking over the tow paths for a morning, just as they do every summer. Incredibly, in this ninth year of the event, our combined fundraising total over the years should reach £100,000!

Sign up to Pedal Against Poverty on Sunday 7 June 2015

So what can attendees expect on the day? As CAFOD’s Manager for Westminster Diocese, my day starts at Ponders End Lock – the starting point of our more challenging 19 mile route – at 10:15am. Riders can also choose the more family-friendly ten mile distance, with these riders congregating at Cheshunt. There’s a real party atmosphere as everyone picks up their ride number, with our volunteers registering the most spontaneous of our riders and giving out last-minute CAFOD vests and t-shirts. My responsibility is the safety briefing (we are cycling along a tow path after all!) and checking that everyone has a helmet. Then there’s the obligatory group photo before the shout is given and the cyclists are off! Continue reading “Pedal Against Poverty 2015”

Ebola Crisis: On leaving Sierra Leone

Caritas_Sierra Leone_Tommy Trenchard_Oct (9)
CAFOD’s work includes promoting good hygiene and training communities in how to stop the spread of the disease.

Catherine Mahony, CAFOD’s  Humanitarian Coordinator for West Africa, has been working on Ebola in Sierra Leone for the last three months. She reflects on coming home.

Donate to CAFOD’s Ebola crisis appeal

This week I’ll be taking the boat to the airport to leave Sierra Leone, three months to the day since I arrived.

I remember well the apprehension I felt when I first came in on that boat, mainly at the enormity of the task and the scale of the crisis.

In October last year we were preparing ourselves for the possibility that 1.4 million people would be infected with Ebola by the end of the year if we didn’t massively step up our efforts.

As of the 25 January, the World Health Organisation estimates that the cumulative confirmed, probable and suspected cases across Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea stands at 21,724 and the graphs finally seem to be flattening out, showing fewer cases per day. It’s still too many lives lost, but thankfully not our worst case scenario.

At last, districts in Sierra Leone are crossing the ‘Ebola free’ threshold, having passed 42 days without a new case. I feel a sense of relief that we were able to prevent the worst and our optimism albeit small is allowed to grow a little every day.

So many people have made an extraordinary effort to get us to this point: the local health workers who selflessly stepped up to care for the sick and dying, 221 of whom here in Sierra Leone lost their lives to Ebola; the brave men and women who volunteered to join burial teams and dig graves, every day facing the strain of grieving families; and the people across England and Wales who’ve generously donated to CAFOD. Continue reading “Ebola Crisis: On leaving Sierra Leone”