What Easter means to me

This Holy Week, Catherine Gorman from CAFOD’s Theology team reflects on what Easter means to her, and how hope can transform lives.

Easter is swiftly approaching. It is a time of joy, when hope and faith are renewed. The long waiting of Lent is almost over, and finally the time to celebrate will be here. The light of the risen Christ shines through all ages, breathing new life, bringing mercy and conquering darkness.

See our favourite Easter prayers

It is so easy to get caught up in ourselves, to feel like we have to do everything on our own. I know, for instance, that I am often unwilling to ask for help. I prefer struggle on, getting more and more frustrated and disheartened, than to burden anyone else with my difficulties.

Finally, I snap at whoever is nearest, and whichever friend or loved one is bearing the brunt of my rage says, “Why didn’t you ask? I can help you.” Just as I would, if the situation were reversed. I feel foolish for not having believed in the love that others have for me, for not counting myself worthy of their kindness.

Continue reading “What Easter means to me”

Bringing water to Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe, water from Chiwashira DamSally Kitchener looks at how donations to CAFOD’s first match funded appeal, during Lent 2012, brought drinking water to a remote town in Zimbabwe.

I am woken by a gentle tapping sound. It’s 5:30am. I extract myself from the tangle of my mosquito net and shuffle to unlock my door. Outside is a bucket of steaming water. It’s a welcome sight.

It’s my second day in Zimbabwe and I’m staying in Nembudzia, a remote town in Gokwe North district. My room is basic but it has everything I need – a bed, a desk, and even an en-suite bathroom. Only, the sink and shower feel a little redundant, as there’s not a drop of water in the taps.

CAFOD’s progress on water Continue reading “Bringing water to Zimbabwe”

Bishop John’s last couple of days in Niger

Bishop John Arnold, CAFOD’s Chair of Trustees, has now returned from visiting Niger. He visited CAFOD partners there and our Hands On Doutchi project. Read more about this trip here. 

Bishop John Arnold, CAFOD Chair of Trustees
Bishop John Arnold at a UK event in 2016

Hands On is a special series of CAFOD projects that allows you to support a specific community with a project. Our latest project in Bolivia is still open for new supporters to join. 

Day five – return to the city

Today was the long journey back to the capital city of Niamey. The journey was certainly long but by no means tedious and I keep reminding myself of the privilege of being here and experiencing the life of the people and a place which could not be much further removed from life in Manchester.

Continue reading “Bishop John’s last couple of days in Niger”

Bishop John visits Hands On Doutchi

The Chair of CAFOD’s Trustees, Bishop John Arnold, is visiting Niger to see our projects, including our Hands On Doutchi project. Bishop John is also keen to build stronger links with the local Catholic Church.

Children from Doutch waving
Everyone in Doutchi was very excited for the Hands On project.

Hands On is a special series of CAFOD projects that allows you to support a specific community with a project. Our latest project in Bolivia is still open for new supporters. Find out more about Hands On in Bolivia

Bishop John’s first blog describes his initial impressions; he has been travelling out to see projects over the last two days…

Continue reading “Bishop John visits Hands On Doutchi”

Bishop John’s diary from Niger

Bishop John Arnold, CAFOD’s Chair of Trustees, is currently visiting Niger. He will be visiting CAFOD partners there, including our Hands On Doutchi project. Bishop John is also keen to build stronger links with the local Catholic Church. 

Hands On is a special series of CAFOD projects that allows you to support a specific community with a project. Our latest project in Bolivia is still open for new supporters. Find out more about Hands On in Bolivia

Continue reading “Bishop John’s diary from Niger”

Step into the Gap: The power of renewable energy

As part of CAFOD’s Step into the Gap programme, Sophie Bray met communities in Ethiopia. In this blog she talks about how access to a reliable water source and renewable electricity is transforming one community and giving hope to many others.

The group in Ethiopia.
The Step Into the Gap group in Ethiopia with CAFOD.

It was during the first week of February on our journey through Northern Ethiopia, when we travelled to a rural town in Mekelle called Lemlem.

After meeting the people who lived in the village, it soon became clear how access to a reliable water source and renewable electricity is transforming their community and giving hope to many others.

Find out how renewable energy is transforming lives. Join our campaign

Continue reading “Step into the Gap: The power of renewable energy”

Step into the Gap: “Water is life”

Sophie Hull is currently taking part in CAFOD’s Step into the Gap Programme and she reflects how Ethiopian communities are adapting the changing climate and the projects that CAFOD’s partners are implementing to help bring about a positive change.

In Sebeya with the school children.
In Sebeya with the school children.

Before coming overseas, I only had heard about climate change and the impact it has on communities. Now, I have seen with my own eyes the realities of climate change.

We had just visited a community in Adigrat, a village that had been supported by access water and renewable energy by CAFOD partners, Adigrat Catholic Diocese Secretariat. Having access to these things had transformed their community, but I was soon to learn that access is not the only barrier communities face when they are impacted by climate change.

Find out more about Step into the Gap

Continue reading “Step into the Gap: “Water is life””

Step into the Gap: Working together to weave change in Cambodian communities

James Ronan, who is currently taking part in CAFOD’s Step into the Gap, talks about the village communities he spent time with in Cambodia where local organisations are empowering communities to change their lives for the better.

Step into the Gap volunteers walking through now flourishing fields
Step into the Gap volunteers walking through now flourishing fields

Cambodia’s long history, most recently the civil war and the Khmer Rouge regime, has “left many communities broken”, said Singha, one of the founding members of CAFOD partners, Village Support Group (VSG).

Find out more about Step into the Gap

Continue reading “Step into the Gap: Working together to weave change in Cambodian communities”

Christmas in Gaza

Mary Lucas, our representative for the Middle East, describes what life is like for one young boy living in Gaza.

mohammed-standing-in-his-destroyed-home-gaza
Mohammed’s home was destroyed in the 2014 conflict in Gaza

Mohammed was just nine when he and his sister, Doha, were orphaned. It was a hot summer in 2014 and the people of Gaza were struggling to survive an extreme military bombardment. Apartment blocks were falling in clouds of dust throughout the territory. Some nights, entire neighbourhoods were given a few minutes’ warning to leave – fleeing their homes to find safety wherever they could.

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Mohammed’s family had to leave their home as it wasn’t safe. They were evacuated to a nearby school and like so many caught up in the conflict, struggled to get the essentials. Water pipes were damaged and food was expensive and running low in shops because of the bombing.

To ensure the family could survive, Mohammed’s parents would wait until there was a ceasefire and run to collect water and food.

That day, they decided to check on the house that they had spent years investing in for their family. As they approached the house, an explosion killed them both instantly. Shortly afterwards, another bomb reduced the house to rubble. Continue reading “Christmas in Gaza”

One community, two years and 25 million litres of water – the Hands On story in Kenya

Starting in April 2014, nearly two thousand dedicated CAFOD supporters joined Hands On, and over the past two years have been funding an incredible water project in Kitui, eastern Kenya. As the project comes to an end, Sally Kitchener looks at the impact of these generous donations.

Tabitha records the rainfall in Kitui, Kenya
Tabitha records the rainfall in Kitui, Kenya

Tabitha holds the small plastic rain gauge up to the light to take the reading. She carefully leans over, balances a blue chart on her knee and writes down the measurement. It’s another zero. It should be the beginning of the rainy season here in Kitui, Kenya, but Tabitha’s rain gauge hasn’t recorded a drop of rain for months.

Two years ago, the late rains would have been a disaster for Tabitha and her family. With their local reservoir dried up, and the nearest river two hours’ walk away, the lack of rain would have meant thirst, hunger, and illness. But since then, Tabitha’s life has changed dramatically.

£21 a month, over two years, can build a water storage tank to irrigate a whole farm

In just 24 months, Tabitha, along with 1,440 women and men in her community, and more than 1,700 CAFOD supporters, have worked together to restore their reservoir and bring water back to Kitui. Continue reading “One community, two years and 25 million litres of water – the Hands On story in Kenya”