Exploring the refugee crisis with young people

The team of Step into the Gap volunteers have been running sessions, retreats and activities with young people this term on refugees. We asked Kezia and Juliette to tell us a bit about their favourite resources.

Kezia

CAFOD gap year volunteers 2018/2019
Kezia

Placing yourself in a refugee’s position is so difficult. Over the past month I’ve been trying to help young people experience what it’s like to leave your home, to feel the emotions and make decisions that some refugees have to make.

Find refugee resources for young people

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Gospel reflection: Jesus is rejected in his home town

Every Friday we offer you a reflection on the Sunday gospel. This week’s reflection was written by Trevor Stockton, a CAFOD supporter from St Anthony of Padua parish, Wolverhampton.

Based on the gospel for Sunday 8 July – Mark 6:1-6

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“Where did this man get all this? What is this wisdom that has been granted him…?”

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Share the Journey with arms wide open

You are invited to imagine Dilda’s journey who fled Myanmar. Hear Pope Francis’ call to Share the Journey with our brothers and sisters, with arms wide open.

I invite you to close your eyes for a moment. You are at home. You can see thick smoke rising from the house across the street. People are shouting. Your neighbour’s house is on fire. You escape with your family, leaving everything behind.

You start a long journey to find a new home. You don’t know how long you will be walking, when you will next eat or where you will rest.  Alone and afraid… you need someone to talk to, a sister or brother to reach out and share the journey with you…

This was just like Dilda’s journey. She fled Myanmar to escape violence in her village. She says, “We didn’t bring a thing. We just grabbed the children and ran.”

Dilda left behind her home, her possessions – everything – for a temporary shelter on the side of the road. Her children are scarred by what they have seen.

We cannot cross by on the other side while our neighbours are struggling. We can share the journey, we can share our hope.

Discover how to Share the Journey

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A livesimply parish group transforms lives of local refugees

Carol Chilton, a Justice and Peace and livesimply group member from St John the Baptist  Cathedral in Norwich shares how their livesimply group made a real difference to local refugees.

It all started with a phone call

The members of the Justice and Peace and Livesimply group in St John the Baptist Cathedral in Norwich, East Anglia diocese, after receiving the 27th livesimply award. Carol, who shares her experience in this blog, is the one holding the livesimply award
The members of the Justice and Peace and Livesimply group receiving their livesimply award. Carol holds the livesimply award.

There’s a whole network of underground support for refugees and asylum seekers in Norwich. I didn’t know about any of it until I made a phone call to find out what our group could do to help.

We heard from a health visitor that families were being moved into the area, but the accommodation they were staying in was so dirty. The families had nothing to clean it with.

Discover our campaign Share the Journey to stand up for the dignity of refugees

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“When they heard my Palestinian accent, they didn’t call back”

Richard Sloman is CAFOD’s Middle East Programme Officer. Here he reflects on his time in Lebanon where almost 40 per cent of the population are Syrian and Palestinian refugees. Richard visited one of Lebanon’s twelve Palestinian refugee camps – home to 450,000 people, one in ten of the country’s population.

Bourj el Barajneh in Beirut, Lebanon is one of the world’s oldest refugee camps. Established in 1948, it’s home to more than 31,000 people. These women, men and children live in just one square kilometre of land. That’s roughly 31 people for every square metre of earth.

Please give to CAFOD’s Advent appeal to help people living in poverty

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Small acts of kindness make a huge difference to refugees

Rosie Heaton, CAFOD’s regional communications assistant in the North West, reflects on the compassion being shown from Catholic people across England and Wales to refugees.

Get involved now

During the Year of Mercy, CAFOD supporters from parishes and schools across England and Wales responded to the refugee crisis by writing more than 30,000 Messages of Hope.  I had the honour of delivering just a few of these messages when I visited a refugee wellbeing class in Salford.

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Rohingya Crisis Appeal: Caritas volunteers join relief efforts

Tom Delamere is CAFOD’s Bangladesh Programme Officer. Here he tells us about his recent visits to Bangladesh, a country struggling to cope with the arrival of more than 582,000 refugees from Myanmar, on top of the devastating effects of recent flooding.

On landing in Dhaka, Bangladesh’s bustling capital city, two things immediately strike you. The first is the close, warm climate; growing up in the North of England didn’t really prepare me for South Asia’s summer temperatures. The second is just how busy the roads and streets are, ringing with vehicle horns, rickshaw bells and the movement of crowds of people.

Please donate to CAFOD’s Rohingya Crisis Appeal 

What sticks in my mind the most about the country is the hospitality shown by its people – a warm welcome, a cup of char and an engaging conversation are never far away.

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World Humanitarian Day – a day with Syrian refugees

Each year since 2009, World Humanitarian Day has been held on 19 August to mobilise support for people affected by crises around the world and to pay tribute to all those who risk their lives in humanitarian service. Yadviga Clark, CAFOD’s Emergency Programme Officer for the Syria Crisis response, shares her experiences of visiting Syrian refugees that have settled in Lebanon.

Conflict so often affects innocent people – many flee for their lives, families are torn apart and displaced from their homes, children are traumatised and taken out of school, and aid workers risk their lives to care for people caught up in the violence.

Pray for all those affected by conflict

Last month I spent a day with Syrian refugee children who are living in an informal settlement in the Bekaa valley, Lebanon.

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World Refugee Day: Building trust and friendship

Olwen Maynard is a member of the Asia and Middle East team. She tells us how bringing young people together in Lebanon is helping to build trust among local people and Syrian refugees.

Boys in the Handicrafts class create a sign: ‘Youth across borders: facing life challenges together.”

There’s been a lot of heart-searching in this country about taking in Syrian refugees, and how many would be our ‘fair share’. Something we tend to forget is that most displaced Syrians are still in the Middle East region. Lebanon, a small country with a population of about four million (half that of Greater London), has taken in over a million. Just stop and think about that for a minute.

This World Refugee Day donate to our Refugee Crisis Appeal for refugees around the world. Continue reading “World Refugee Day: Building trust and friendship”

Great Generation: Volunteering with CAFOD at Flame

Cameron is a CAFOD young leader and volunteered at Flame 2017, an event for 10,000 young Catholics on 11 March. Alongside around 50 other young volunteers, he ran activities with the Flame crowd to raise awareness of CAFOD and global justice issues.

CAFOD volunteers at Flame 2017
Cameron was part of the young volunteers team at Flame 2017.

I had the opportunity to volunteer with CAFOD at Flame. This was an enjoyable experience and I had a really nice day. For anyone who doesn’t know, Flame is a Catholic event held at the SSE Arena, Wembley. At Flame there are many different speakers and performers such as Matt Redman.

The day started with joining the mini bus in order to take us to Wembley. As we arrived we got into the groups got to know what activities we’d be running as we were volunteering and not just here to watch the performances!

Watch our film shown on stage at Flame 2017

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