In July, Takura Gwatinyanya, from CAFOD partner Caritas Harare, will be travelling across England and Wales to share his passion for tackling poverty and to show how your support is making a difference in Zimbabwe.
Meet Takura and discover more about CAFOD’s climate and energy campaign at a series of special events, starting in London on Wednesday 6 July.
We caught up with Takura to ask his about his family, his work and what keeps him motivated.
Tell us a little bit about your family.
I am married to Rutendo Avriel, and we have one five-year-old son.
You’re an expert in water and sanitation. What makes you passionate about this area?
My experience in sanitation and humanitarian work has shown me that access to water and sanitation is a fundamental human right. It bring human dignity, with immediate and evidenced results. The need for decent water and sanitation cuts across all ages and all backgrounds, it doesn’t matter whether you are rich or poor.
Pumps run on solar power are helping people in the communities where I work to access clean water and are reducing the time it takes people to collect water.
Ben McMullen is the Deputy Head of All Hallows Catholic High School in Preston. In April he ran the 2016 Virgin London Marathon for CAFOD in memory of his father, Vin McMullen. Just before the marathon, he spoke to Jade Till of CAFOD’s media team, about the inspiration from his father and the course that CAFOD continues to run through his life.
CAFOD’s been a part of my life since I was 10 years old. My dad, Vin McMullen, worked for CAFOD for 16 years, from 1981 – 1997. He was the very first regional organiser outside of London. His area was originally the north of England, and then eventually covered Salford, Shrewsbury, Liverpool, and Lancaster dioceses.
Eventually every diocese had a regional organiser so he covered Liverpool. All through my teenage years I volunteered. My dad was the one who set up the Christmas Fun Run in Liverpool in 1984, which still goes on.
My dad was away a lot, and when he came back, all of the photographs and video clips really raised my awareness of how other people have to live. He was particularly involved with the Philippines. He wrote a book which the geography department at my school still uses.
Tom Hallsworth works with Animate Youth Ministries in St Helen’s in the Liverpool Archdiocese, leading retreat days with young people aged 11-25 to inspire them to live out the Gospel and social justice. He’s part of the CAFOD ambassador scheme, connecting CAFOD with youth centres across the country.
I’ve been working hard to help young people to understand the refugee crisis, and see what we can do to help. I organised a session in my church where we started with an icebreaker on refugee statistics and also had interactive prayer stations to help people to reflect and think about refugees.
The young people found it really striking that more than half of refugees worldwide are under 18 years old. It got us thinking about what it would be like to be in their shoes. My friend told me she was shocked that so many refugees are young, are unaccompanied children, why can’t they sort it out? It’s such a huge problem, there are just so many.
Then we used CAFOD’s Lampedusa cross action cards to write our own messages of hope for refugees. I’ve collected hundreds of these messages, and the numbers are still growing.