Climate action in the Philippines

CAFOD, as part of The Climate Coalition, is leading a week of action on climate and energy. In this blog CAFOD volunteer Alice explains how the changing climate is affecting communities in the Philippines.

 ‘Climate change is a global issue…it really is a task for the whole world to take on and work together to counteract.’

 My Step into the Gap year has come to an end, but is still playing a part in my life!

untitled-2
Alice (second from right) in Peru as part of the Step into the Gap programme.

I spent some time during my year volunteering with CAFOD visiting CAFOD partners overseas to better understand how the changing climate is affecting people in communities where they work. The experience has really inspired me to continue volunteering.I heard about the Assumption Volunteers through CAFOD, and I’m now spending a year with them, and am volunteering for the environment office in the municipal government in the Philippines.

It’s the Speak Up week of action. Join an event near you

Continue reading “Climate action in the Philippines”

Connect2: Peru – updates from Warmi Huasi

02-padre-lalo-10-800x449
Fr. Ed in one of the Chapels in his parish

 

Father Ed O’Connell is one of our Connect2: Peru narrators. He is a Columban missionary priest who has been working in Peru since the 1970s.  He is one of the founders of our Connect2: Peru partner Warmi Huasi.  From June until September 2016 he was in the UK on a home visit, and took the opportunity to go to some CAFOD supporter meetings in Bristol and Birmingham.

 

I have been in Bristol and Birmingham with CAFOD and representatives of Connect2 parishes. It was an opportunity for me to meet people from the parishes and to hear their desire to get closer to the work of CAFOD through the work in Peru.  People asked lots of questions about CAFOD in general and the children Warmi Huasi works with.  I enjoy visiting as a way to offer thanks for people in the Church here sending me to Peru, and also as a way of staying in touch with the local Church in England and Wales.  I think it is important to make links between the local church in England and Wales and the local Church in Peru and the projects they run.

Sign up to Connect2: Peru

When I left Peru in June, Keiko Fujimori’s party had won total control of congress in the first round of the presidential elections. In the second round, Pedro Pablo Kuczyinski beat Keiko Fujimori only by 0.43% to become the president.

People are mixed in their responses. At the moment, people are unsure how the presidential elections will affect their daily lives at a local level. But people are frustrated.  Young people are in jobs that require long hours – working like new slaves.  More and more people are studying at university without job prospects once they graduate.

Continue reading “Connect2: Peru – updates from Warmi Huasi”

Human rights: Dignified burials in Peru

Bea Findley travelled to Peru with CAFOD as part of the Step into the Gap programme, and in this blog explains how our partners are working on human right issues.

Bea with Clotilde, who is supported by CEAS
Bea with Clotilde, who is supported by CEAS

I’m writing this blog today because the political conflict in Peru feels like more than just history to me now; I have a real understanding of what the people went through and the difficulties of the recovery.

CEAS are the social action group of the Peruvian Bishop’s Conference. I met two women, Bernadina and Clotilde who receive support from CEAS in response to their suffering during the internal political violence which ended in 2000.

During that terrible time, approximately 70,000 people were killed or disappeared. 75% of these were from rural areas and 73% were speakers of the indigenous language, Quechua. A terrorist organisation called Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path) began the violence and the army responded with more violence.

There were horrific mistreatments of people and breaches of human rights: people were tortured, killed, displaced and disappeared. Both the Shining Path, the army and other armed groups were responsible. Nobody could be trusted.

Continue reading “Human rights: Dignified burials in Peru”

Volunteering: Stepping into the Gap in Peru

Alice is one of this year’s Step into the Gap volunteers. She describes her experience volunteering in the UK and seeing the work of CAFOD’s partners in Peru.

Although it is Volunteers’ Week, and I might be a bit biased, I really would recommend

Alice will be based in Birmingham
Alice took part in CAFOD’s Step into the Gap programme

volunteering to anyone. This year I have been volunteering with CAFOD’s Step into the Gap programme, based at Newman University, Birmingham.  I have learnt so much throughout the year, both about myself and the world of work. It has also been so rewarding working towards such a good cause.

CAFOD is running a webinar for Volunteers’ Week this year, and me and another Step into the Gapper, Danielle,  are taking part. Everyone is welcome to come and listen / see the slides which will show lots of photos from our overseas experience visiting CAFOD partners as well as photos from our placements in the UK.

Sign up for our Step into the Gap webinar and hear more from Alice.

Continue reading “Volunteering: Stepping into the Gap in Peru”

Step into the Gap Peru – Working together 

Alice Bowers reflects on the final few days spent in Peru by the Step into the Gap volunteers:

The volunteers with Manuel, Dora and Roberto from EDUCA
The volunteers with Manuel, Dora and Roberto from EDUCA

Our final days here in Peru have been spent with CAFOD partners EDUCA and IES who work on helping young people start businesses and to understand and counteract violence, amongst other things. It has been so nice to see first-hand the work of our partners. These two are no exception with the hope they offer for the future of Peru and the successes of the projects they run. They are constantly changing and adapting to the needs that arise for the people they work with. They are so grateful to CAFOD and its supporters.

Donate to CAFOD’s Lent appeal

Salir adelante” is a phrase that has been used predominantly in these three weeks. It means “to move forward”. This has been something striking about people here in Peru, and the work that CAFOD’s partners are doing through the backing of supporters. People gain real satisfaction from working towards that goal. It has been seen in young people standing up for their rights and against violence, right through to the older generations working in collaboration, partly for company but also to take action together.   Continue reading “Step into the Gap Peru – Working together “

Step into the Gap – Empowering women in Peru

Michelle Udoh, one of CAFOD’s gap year volunteers in Peru, has written about the impact of meeting women supported by our partner, Solidaridad:

Michelle (second left) with women from Solidaridad
Michelle (second left) and gap year volunteers with women from Solidaridad

CAFOD has worked with the NGO Solidaridad since 1997. It promotes women’s empowerment, especially women living in poverty. In Lima, Solidaridad works in Lomas de Carabayllo. Their work has always been about the women, about their self-esteem, about knowing what your rights are and being able to exercise them. Through workshops, Solidaridad has trained many women in skills such as cooking, pastry making, sewing, and hairdressing, with the hope that they will be able to gain financial independence.

Learn about CAFOD’s gender work

When we went to visit Sweet Temptations, the baking company that was set up by some of the women Solidaridad supports, we spent a day in the life of the women who work there: helping them bake, selling their pastries, and listening to the stories that they eagerly wanted to share. Continue reading “Step into the Gap – Empowering women in Peru”

Step into the Gap Peru – Fiona sees the Year of Mercy in action

Fiona has written from her Step into the Gap visit to Peru about how she is seeing the corporal acts of mercy in action in CAFOD’s work:

Fiona at Lake Parón
Fiona at Lake Parón

During this Year of Mercy, we are called to act upon the corporal and spiritual acts of mercy. And so, while in Peru, I’ve been reflecting on the corporal acts in particular. It seems that they don’t need to be taken literally, as I’d first thought. I thought I’d take this time to focus on CAFOD partner CEAS who we’ve had the privilege of spending time with during this trip. They are the organisation for social action set up by the Peruvian Bishops’ Conference.

Learn more about the Year of Mercy

‘Welcome the stranger’

Of all the corporal acts of mercy, I find that ‘welcoming the stranger’ is a particularly challenging one. It’s God’s call for us to put the faith and trust we have in Him into a complete stranger’s hands. It can be difficult to open our hearts—let alone our homes—to people that we know nothing about. Still, families have been doing just that—and more!—for us gap year volunteers here in Peru. The relationship built between CAFOD partners such as CEAS and the local community has enabled this faith and trust to exist.

‘To clothe the naked’ Continue reading “Step into the Gap Peru – Fiona sees the Year of Mercy in action”

Step into the Gap Peru – Water is a precious commodity

Bea Findley, one of CAFOD’s gap year volunteers, has written about how water shortages are affecting communities in Peru:

Bea (second right) and fellow gap year volunteers at Lake Parón in Peru
Bea (second right) and fellow gap year volunteers at Lake Parón in Peru

We are about half way through our time in Peru now and I can’t believe it! It’s all happening so fast – I wish I could slow it down! I had a great week last week with partners on the outskirts of Lima and this week, we’re amongst the mountains.

We’ve been spending time with CAFOD partner CEAS, which is a social action commission of the Peruvian Bishops’ Conference.

CEAS’ work in Ancash is about fair water distribution and empowering the local community. All the water sustaining this region is from Lake Parón – an incredible natural resource high in the mountains. Streams and rivers flow down the mountains from the lake to all of the communities and families. Lake Parón sits beneath glaciers. As they melt and the rain falls, the lake fills and sends water to the communities. Continue reading “Step into the Gap Peru – Water is a precious commodity”

Step into the Gap Peru – Advocacy at the local level

Alice and Michelle are currently in Peru, visiting communities CAFOD works with as part of the Step into the Gap programme. This is their first blog about their stay and some of the people they have spent time with so far.

Luz first came into contact with CAFOD partner Warmi Huasi as a mother when they were running a child nutrition programme. Now she works for Warmi Huasi and continues to support parents and children to live with dignity, know their rights, and be treated fairly.

Michelle

CAFOD's Step into the Gap volunteers in Peru
CAFOD’s Step into the Gap volunteers in Peru

It was so impromptu. I can’t even remember what we were talking to Luz about before. But then she started to tell us about the time she found out that a school in her area was mistreating its students. Luz wanted to campaign for a better learning environment for the students so she asked others for their help and support. At first, they were worried about the consequences and didn’t want anything to do with it – but with a little bit of encouragement, the campaign began. Continue reading “Step into the Gap Peru – Advocacy at the local level”

Step into the Gap – Adventures in Peru

Fiona Sim is one of our gap year volunteers. Here are some of her reflections from her first week seeing projects CAFOD supports in Peru:

Fiona (right) with women from Lomas de Carabayllo's comedors
Fiona (right) with women from Lomas de Carabayllo’s comedors

From working with the dynamic children of Warmi Huasi to meeting the inspirational residents of Lomas de Carabayllo, it has been a jam-packed first week of our journey. Though it’s been quite an intense week, I feel so privileged to have been able to meet and learn from so many amazing people already. As cheesy as it sounds, I feel like I’ve met some of the real life super heroes of our time. These people have no special powers, no soothsaying abilities, and no fancy capes. This is what they do have: resilience, strength, and a kitchen at their fingertips.

These are the wonderful women of two of Lomas de Carabayllo’s comedors. These communal kitchens provide a subsidised lunch to people who need it in the community—those who would struggle to afford hearty meals otherwise—from Monday to Friday. The staff members themselves are part of the same community and earn free meals through working at the comedor when they can.

Buy Food for a Family with CAFOD’s World Gifts Continue reading “Step into the Gap – Adventures in Peru”