Monica Conmee works in our education team. In this blog she explains why education is such an important part of CAFOD’s work.
My dear young people, a better world can be built as a result of your efforts, your desire to change, and your generosity. Pope Francis
CAFOD is nothing without faith, our international partners and people. I am constantly amazed at the insights, ideas and sheer determination of people to build a more just and peaceful world. When given the chance to reflect and learn, these actions can combine to make a significant impact on our world and in our communities. Pope Francis’ address to young people earlier this year reminds us how much of a difference young people can make.
Kezia is from Brentwood and has just finished a year volunteering with CAFOD as part of the Young Leadership programme, and has written about her experience to inspire others to get involved this year.
My year with CAFOD would not have started without my faith. My faith drove me to apply for CAFOD’s young leadership programme and to develop my passion for helping others. I had heard about CAFOD through my school but not in much depth, so when I applied for the programme, I didn’t know what to expect. Looking back, what I loved about the programme is the hands-on attitude. In my spare time, I do a lot of dance and that has made me want to get in and get involved. The young leadership programme is all about getting involved and raising awareness of CAFOD’s campaigns, so this programme was perfect for me. I was lucky enough to experience this for a whole year.
“Young people demand change. They wonder how anyone can claim to be building a better future without thinking of the environmental crisis and the sufferings of the excluded.” Laudato Si #13
We know that many young people take action with CAFOD, working together to overcome poverty and injustice throughout the world. Many of our partners across the world empower young people to transform their societies.
We’re inspired by them, and know that young people in the UK have the same ability to take the lead, which is why we focus on this area of work in the UK, supporting young people to be key influencers of their peers and local communities.
The CAFOD Young Leadership programme is one of the ways we engage a younger audience in our work, offering sixth-formers an opportunity to take the lead by volunteering for CAFOD to make a difference in fighting poverty and injustice.
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.
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!
Emily is training as a CAFOD young leader volunteer in Portsmouth Diocese. Alongside other young leaders, this Harvest she spoke up for CAFOD at her school by running an assembly. Their assembly helped fundraise a record amount!
CAFOD’s Brighten Up campaign this Harvest was an opportunity for all of us involved in the CAFOD young leadership programme at my college to co-ordinate our own fundraising in aid of CAFOD’s work, focusing on their partnership in Bolivia.
By using an assembly and service as our main means of communication to students and staff at our school, we were able to get across the message of CAFOD in such a positive way and give CAFOD a new face at our school. By literally trying to Brighten Up this Harvest, we encouraged our student body to all wear scarves to our Harvest Festival whilst giving charitable donations which made for a much ‘brighter’ day!
Antonia is a young leader from Sheffield. Here she shares her experience of volunteering with CAFOD, and speaking out for fairness and equality.
‘I really felt as though my talk had reached people. Not only had it raised awareness, it had also raised money and educated people so that they can also speak out for justice and equality.’ – Antonia
Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve had a passion for helping others. I was always the first one to put money in the charity box or to purchase a wristband and badge at a fundraising stall. My mother has always taught me to be a generous person, and she says that sometimes it’s the smallest actions that can create the biggest impact.
In May I visited my local church in the hope that my small gestures may indeed amount to something much bigger.
Once I had learnt about CAFOD’s World Gifts range and enlightened others through assemblies at school, I felt the urge to spread the message to a wider community. I was amazed at how CAFOD could change so many people’s lives in this way and knew that it was my duty to pass this idea on to others. My initial instinct was to contact my childhood parish and try to organise a five minute slot where I could introduced CAFOD’s work on a deeper level and perhaps encourage others to get involved. Naturally, they had already heard about CAFOD and were more than happy for me to come in and speak to their congregation: I was delighted!
As a new term begins, CAFOD’s Elouise Hobbs spoke to young leader Jouriz, from Chertsey, about her experiences and advice for those thinking of taking part this September.
Over the last academic year CAFOD has worked with 245 young people from across seven dioceses as part of CAFOD’s young leadership programme. These young people spent the year learning about justice issues and developing leadership skills. Collectively they have reached around 65,000 people through their campaigning, speaking at Mass, fundraising, assemblies, blogs and tweets.
In the last academic year, Jouriz took part in the CAFOD young leadership programme; when I met her, she was presenting to lower forms from her school about the impact of CAFOD.
You recently attended the end of year Young Leadership celebration day with CAFOD. Do you have a moment that particularly sticks out for you?
“My favourite moment was actually at the beginning of the day. We had just arrived and as an ice-breaker we had to go round the tables and meet everyone. When we went around the tables with just a 30-second gap. It was so fast. I only had a short time to make a conversation and crack a joke. Even though it was only a short amount of time, it actually allowed me to get to know people really well. It was so much fun travelling up to London and getting to meet all the different people.”
Applications for the CAFOD Gap Year, Step into the Gap, are now open. Julia Corcoran took part in the programme in 2013 /14, and in this blog describes her experience.
Two years ago I wrote a reflection on why I was really excited to be travelling to Sierra Leone. In those two years my life has taken a completely different turn and that’s mainly down to my experiences on Step into the Gap.Find out more about Step into the Gap
During my time on the programme my placement was at YMT, (the Youth service for Hexham and Newcastle) running retreats in the Emmaus Youth Village where groups of young people come to take time out, reflect on their lives, realise the impact they have on the world and hopefully the impact God has in their lives. During my time there I had a variety of opportunities to work with young people from leading Morning Prayer, helping to run youth festivals and running workshops, as well as going into schools for assemblies and speaking during Mass in the local parishes and at the Cathedral.
Tobi is a CAFOD young leader and is passionate about getting others involved in campaigning against climate change.
One of the issues CAFOD campaigns about is climate change. Climate change is the biggest threat to reducing poverty, whether it’s floods destroying livelihoods, or unpredictable rains leaving millions hungry.