Mary Lucas, our representative for the Middle East, describes what life is like for one young boy living 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.
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”
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 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.
As our Hands On Kitui journey comes to an end, three people who have worked on the project share their thanks. George Wambugu, CAFOD’s water specialist, worked on the water project right from the beginning during the planning stages.
As a water expert, I know how vital it is to have access to water all year round – vital for the health and wellbeing not only of the people, but of the animals and plants. So I am immensely excited to be able to tell you that, after two years of hard work, the community in Kitui now have reliable access to clean water.
Looking to the coming years, I know that the great dam and the wells are going to provide water for the whole community, even in the dry seasons.
Thank you so much for all your donations, prayers and love over the past two years. We couldn’t have achieved this without you.
Mike Gilligan from Liverpool Diocese is one of 1,700 Hands On supporters who were all inspired to fund a two-year water project in Kitui, Kenya. Hands On supporters in England and Wales followed the community’s progress in Kitui, and each month sent vital donations, encouragement and prayers.
Mike shares why Hands On is so special to him.
I first heard about Hands On through a flyer. It sounded like a very good idea, as the community were helping themselves and not relying on external organisations. It also gave me the opportunity to do my bit. I am helping someone, somewhere, in a place I can’t dream of seeing. Here in the UK we have an over-plentiful supply of water, but people in Kenya have such little water to work with. Clean water is vital – that’s why I signed up to help. Continue reading “Clean water is vital – How Mike from Liverpool brought water to a remote Kenyan community”
Stella took part in our first Hands On project in Kitui, Kenya. Over two years, hundreds of people in Kitui were supported by more than 1,700 CAFOD supporters to rebuild their community dam and bring water back to the area. Having water nearby means families can irrigate their crops and don‘t have to spend hours walking to and from the river each day.
I am very grateful to you for giving donations and enabling us to carry out this project.
The project has meant I am able to get a job and manage a small income. With my income I am able to buy seeds for my farm and cement so I can build a strong house. Before there was such a challenge with food that I had to divert all my energy and resources to food.
Thanks to the Hands On project activities, even at this time of year before the rains have come, we have food stored. I am able to harvest enough and still have surplus to sell so I can pay for my kids to go to school. Last term I sold beans to the school in exchange for school fees. Continue reading “Letter from Stella in Kenya”
Damian Conlin works in CAFOD’s Fundraising team, and has been involved in our Hands On projects from the beginning. Our first Hands On project in Kitui, Kenya finished recently – explore it on our website
Our desire to be connected
There has been a lot of comment in the last few weeks – off the back of our recent referendum – on what that vote to leave the EU says for our collective desire to stay connected to others. And, more specifically, what it says about our willingness to offer help to those outside our own borders. To be good neighbours.
So, with those questions in my mind, I’d like to say a big thank you to everyone who supports CAFOD and makes our work possible.
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
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.
About this project: The community of Kitui in Kenya have spent two years working on a project to re-sculpt their landscape and bring back a sustainable supply of water. This has all been possible thanks to generous supporters in the UK. Our next project is beginning soon – find out more and get involved.
Over the last two years we have planted trees, dug terraces, built dams and learned everything necessary to bring safe water back to the Kitui community.
Tom, from CAFOD’s fundraising team, challenged himself to give up hot drinks for Lent. He tells us how he got on, and reflects on how the generosity of CAFOD supporters in the UK is helping people like those he met in Kenya.
This Lent, I took on a challenge very different to my usual no-sweet-things observance. In line with CAFOD’s aqua themed fundraising appeal, I decided to take up a water challenge and drink no hot drinks for 40 days and 40 nights.
For some people this would be fairly straight forward. But I come from a long line of tea drinkers and would usually have at least 3 cups a day. A visit to my Nan’s is synonymous with having a brew, and if you were to turn one down you’d immediately be confronted with a “What’s wrong?!”
Damian Conlin, from our fundraising team, took on a new challenge this Lent, one that mirrors the challenge faced by thousands of young girls around the world. With Lent over, he reflects on some of the difficulties he expected to face, and others that surprised him.
I’ve (just about) been keeping up with my Lent challenge of running to water once a week.
For the most part, the experience has been what I expected. That is, I knew I’d find it difficult. I’ve always enjoyed sports and still do exercise, but running has never really been my thing. 5km is not a particularly long way, but my body has always made it pretty clear it considers itself to have been built for running distances of 50-60 metres tops.
So there’s been lots of wheezing and knee creaking. Observers would be forgiven for thinking my Lent challenge has been to perfect my impression of a man running backwards. But there have also been a couple of things I did not expect.