Tag Archives: healthcare

Syria crisis: healthcare for refugees

By Tabitha Ross, CAFOD freelancer in Lebanon

In Syria, it’s traditionally a source of great pride to be the mother of sons, and Ghossoun was rightly proud of her five boys. Brought up on a farm in the Homs region of Syria, each one grew up and went into the army when he left home – a stable and respectable career at the time. Ghossoun and her husband were left at home with their youngest, their only girl.

Ghossoun, Syrian refugee in Lebanon - CAFOD and Caritas


Then Syria descended into war.

Ghossoun’s sons were targeted

“We didn’t want to participate in the war. We were neither with the government nor against it. But unfortunately we were not allowed that option,” said Ghossoun.

Because they were in the army, her sons were targeted as government supporters, although Ghossoun says their choice of career was not a political statement. The threats got worse, and one terrible day, Ghossoun’s husband was murdered as he worked on the farm.

Fearing for her children’s lives, Ghossoun fled to Lebanon with her family.

Donate to CAFOD’s Syria Crisis appeal

This made her sons military deserters, and now they are in trouble with both the Syrian government and its opponents. “We told the authorities that their father was killed and their lives were threatened, but of course they didn’t believe us,” she said.

They have also been pursued to Lebanon by the group that killed her husband, and have had to move around several times. Now they live in hiding, only leaving the house when absolutely necessary. Continue reading

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Filed under CAFOD, Conflict, Middle East

Wedded bliss plus World Gifts

By Vanessa Chang who works on creating gifts for the annual CAFOD World Gifts catalogue.  

Felicity and Joe Isaacs on their wedding day. The couple raised money for CAFOD World Gifts and bought two Medical Outreach Teams.

Felicity and Joe Isaacs bought World Gifts to celebrate their wedding (Photographer – Emma Boileau)

When planning your special day there are often lots of things you need to organise: a venue, food, invitations, music, THE dress… the list goes on. One couple from Lancashire however, added another more unusual item to their wedding to-do list – a CAFOD World Gifts Medical outreach team.

This summer, Felicity and Joe Isaacs invited guests to donate to World Gifts during their wedding reception. Generous guests raised over £500 which the happy couple put towards two medical outreach teams, funding medical professionals to bring essential healthcare to remote communities.

Felicity, a maths teacher at Cardinal Newman College, Preston, said:

“CAFOD is a charity we’ve been involved with for some time. I run a CAFOD Group at college which helps to fundraise and raise awareness of the causes of poverty.

“Joe and I thought it would be nice for the money people normally spend at a wedding to go to other people. My mum is a nurse at Royal Preston Hospital so we know the difference that medical care can make in people’s lives.”

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Filed under CAFOD, donate, fundraising, UK, World Gifts

Darfur: The clinic that began in a church

Heath worker at Sr Pierra's Nyala clinicThe sun is already high above me when I arrive in central Nyala to interview Sister Pierra Santino who runs a clinic supported by CAFOD partner Sudanaid. She greeted me and guided me round the immaculately clean clinic showing me the the waiting room, the area for mothers, laboratory and introducing me to the doctors and staff that she works with.

The clinic in Nyala was established in 1998. “We had a lot of people coming to us for help,” she recalls. From treating 20-30 people per day,  the clinic now receives between 120-130 people per day. Sister Pierra tells me of her extensive research and study in order to develop her understanding and knowledge of tropical diseases. Today, the clinic enjoys a good reputation for its treatment of skin diseases and people come from all parts of South Darfur to seek assistance.

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Filed under Africa, CAFOD

East Timor: Where is the development?

I have always felt very personally involved with the suffering of the East Timorese people when, after a UN-sponsored referendum in August 1999 had resulted in a massive 78% vote for independence, a terrible wave of violence engulfed the country.

I shared their rejoicing when, following international intervention, East Timor was recognised by the UN as a sovereign state, and so returning to the country for celebrations marking the 10th anniversary of the referendum felt very special.

It was my fifth visit since independence, and I had been specially invited to take part in a three-day solidarity conference, as well as bring material for a commemorative exhibition.

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Filed under Asia, CAFOD

Nigeria: A pack for Mums and Babies

The story of four schoolgirls from Bradford who had an idea to combat maternal mortality overseas. This film shows their dream becoming a reality as they travel to Nigeria to meet women who risk their lives through pregnancy and childbirth, and make them a diaper cake. See how their ‘Pack for Mums and Babies’ will save lives

These four school friends wanted to help young mums in Africa – and had an idea which is now set to be a real life-saver as one of our World Gifts.
Find out more about their amazing story


Filed under Africa, CAFOD, CAFOD Leeds