Madeline Woods is a Step into the Gap volunteer who has recently finished her year on the programme. She looks back on the past year, the opportunities it presented and what being a ‘gapper’ means to her.
Niamh Melton is a CAFOD Step into the Gap volunteer and is based at the Briars Centre, Nottingham. She recently returned from an overseas visit to Uganda. Here, she reflects on the experiences she had there.
Today is World Toilet Day. Abigail McMillan, in CAFOD’s South West and Wales team reflects on how the humble toilet is an often overlooked life-saver.
Toilets are generally a private subject; my mum would say not to be discussed at the dinner table. But professionally, World Toilet Day makes perfect sense to me. The world can be changed by toilets, and the Church takes toilets very seriously.
Following the tremendous response of Catholic parishioners in England and Wales to CAFOD’s Family Fast Day Appeal during Lent 2016, the UK Government doubled the nearly £5m that was donated by the general public. With this, we were able to instigate a water, sanitation and hygiene programme in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda and Zimbabwe.
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.
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.
Justin Rowntree owns the highly acclaimed Silversmith’s Restaurant in Sheffield. On 5 June he ran the Ugandan Marathon in memory of his late mum, Sarojini, his grandmother, Angelina, and to support CAFOD. He set himself the challenge of raising £4,000 to cover the cost of building a borehole in the Gulu region of Uganda. He spoke to CAFOD’s Katherine Binns about the race:
The week before the marathon was truly life changing. Meeting people in the remotest of villages rebuilding their lives after 20 years of war, [and seeing] their dignity, determination and relentless strength to improve their lives is something we in the west can learn so much from.
I saw how wells already implemented by CAFOD changed the fortune and lives of whole communities. No six hour trips for water by the children meant school could be attended, hygiene and health improved tenfold, and crops had a chance to survive drought.
As one village leader said to me “building a well is giving life, as here water is life”