Bernadette in Nicaragua with CAFOD
Bernadette Goddard took part in the Step into the Gap programme last year. In this blog she describes why the work of partners in Nicaragua inspired her to ask for World Gifts as Christmas presents this year.
As Christmas approaches every year I am asked the question what would I like. It’s a double question for me as my birthday is just five days before Christmas, on 20 December. Each year I receive many gifts, often ones which, if I’m honest, I don’t need or use. In previous years I’ve asked for things which would be useful. Last year I was about to embark on a life changing trip with CAFOD to Nicaragua and people helped with my kit list, buying me useful items to take with me such as torches and plug adapters! This Christmas I have decided to appeal to family and friends on social media to buy World Gifts.
On World AIDS Day, Montserrat Fernández, Programme Officer for Central America, tells us how our partners in Guatemala are supporting women, men and children living with HIV.
The first time I met a person with HIV was in 1990, 25 years ago, in Canada. Since then, through my work with CAFOD in Central America, I have met dozens of girls, boys, women and men living with HIV, all of whom have enriched my understanding of how to live with dignity and with strength. On World AIDS Day, I want to share with you just one of the many stories from these individuals who have inspired me so much.
Gimena and David’s story
Gimena and her husband David are both living with HIV. When their baby boy was born, Gimena was breastfeeding him, unaware of the risks of transmitting the virus through her milk. They were not sure at that stage whether or not he was HIV positive because all newborns have antibodies from their mother, which means an HIV test shows positive, even if the baby is not infected himself.
Gimena and David
Gimena said: “The doctor told me: ‘Don’t breastfeed him any more.’ I started praying, asking God to save my baby.
“A year and a half later I said to God: ‘It’s going to be your will, not my desire.’ They tested my son, and after a time they told me: ‘Congratulations Mrs Gimena! Thank God! Although you breastfed him for four months, his HIV test result is negative.’ The doctors shouted and hugged each other, saying: ‘The child is well!’ I wept for pure joy.” Continue reading
Ben Price currently stars as Nick Tilsley in Coronation Street, and has acted as an ambassador for a number of CAFOD’s campaigns and appeals.
My Christmas list this year is slightly unusual. Instead of the customary socks, books and DVDs, I’m asking for a camel, a donkey and a couple of chirpy chickens. It may sound like I’m planning to set up my own farm, but actually, these are all gifts which feature in CAFOD’s World Gifts range of alternative presents.
World Gifts in Uganda
Earlier this year I travelled to Karamoja – in rural Uganda – where I met communities who have benefitted from World Gifts and saw firsthand the difference this scheme can make to the lives of people living in poverty.
Ben Price with beekeeper Paul
Greener than many of its neighbours, and home to both the highest mountain range in Africa and the source of the mighty Nile, Winston Churchill famously described Uganda as the ‘Pearl of Africa’. Unlike much of the country, however, due to its harsh climate and low annual rainfall, the Karamoja region is predominantly a semi-arid plain – causing many problems for the communities who live there.
Time and again during my trip I met people who were struggling to feed themselves because of ongoing drought. Most of those I spoke to were farmers but the lack of rain meant they were no longer able to cultivate crops or keep animals.
Buy a World Gift and change lives around the world >>
CAFOD and its partner Caritas Moroto are working in the area to make sure the most vulnerable people have enough clean water to drink and food to eat. They’re helping families to grow more crops using drought-resistant seeds and to increase their household income by selling surplus produce at market. For communities whose traditional work – like cattle rearing – is under threat, they’re ensuring long-term development by providing innovative ways for families to earn a sustainable income. Continue reading
By Vanessa Chang, who works on creating gifts for the annual CAFOD World Gifts catalogue.
For me, one of the best things about this festive period is singing Christmas carols and amongst my favourites is Little Donkey.
We often sing and hear about shepherds, wise men and angels but I sometimes forget about the long journey Joseph and heavily pregnant Mary made into Bethlehem. The journey was made easier by a donkey that Mary rode on and Little Donkey reminds us how the donkey carried her safely on the dusty road.
2,000 years later, donkeys are still proving to be trustworthy animals but now the precious load is water.
Buy a donkey for a family living in poverty >>
In the Erder community of Ethiopia, fetching water is hard, back-breaking work. Rising at dawn, women and girls walk for up to eight hours to the nearest well, filling heavy 20-litre jerry cans that they then must carry home. A donkey, however, can carry this amount of water – and much more – with ease – removing the burden placed upon families. Continue reading
Our Web Editor, Ffion Dean, has been thinking of ways to have a more eco friendly Christmas.
Ffion celebrating Christmas 2012
Christmas time is full of great joy and happiness, a time to relax and to spend time with our loved ones. But it’s also a time when we create a huge amount of waste – an estimated 736,571 tonnes each year in Britain alone! This year, CAFOD’s Advent calendar follows the story of Sinteyo, a woman living with the effects of a changing climate in rural Kenya, and offers some ideas about how we can all make changes in our lives to help our planet.
But what can we do to try and have a greener Christmas?
1. Wrapping paper
One year I challenged my family to cover their presents without using any newly purchased paper.
My mum bought a roll of fabric, cut it into different sizes and tied the packages together with strips of ribbon. They looked lovely and have been reused every year since.