Back to school: Our work with children and young people

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.

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Youth leaders: My year with CAFOD and Youth Ministry Team

Charlie, CAFOD youth work ambassador.
Charlie, CAFOD youth leader ambassador.

Charlie is a youth worker at the Youth Ministry Trust (YMT) in the diocese of Hexham and Newcastle. He works with young people to inspire and encourage them in their faith. This year he has volunteered as the ‘CAFOD ambassador’ at YMT, championing global justice work on the team.

My year as a volunteer

My year at YMT has been absolutely incredible, heightened by joining forces with CAFOD to promote social justice and CAFOD’s key projects and campaigns.

My year here at YMT as CAFOD ambassador has been one of great growth and progress, having the opportunity to grow in my skills, confidence, and joy for the Gospel! My work with CAFOD has also very much challenged me, in researching and learning about major social and political issues that impact the world around us, and us personally.

The general election 2017 comes at a crucial time. Choose from seven ways to build a better world.   Continue reading “Youth leaders: My year with CAFOD and Youth Ministry Team”

Great Generation: Carrying the flame of hope with refugees

Eleanor Margetts was part of the CAFOD team of young volunteers at Flame. Here she describes how young people learnt about the plight of refugees and were inspired to take action. 

Eleanor volunteering at Flame
Eleanor volunteering at Flame.

Last weekend, I had the pleasure of being a part of CAFOD’s volunteer team at Flame, the Catholic youth gathering by CYMFed at Wembley Arena. I had never been to Flame before, so it was very exciting to attend such an inspiring event. I was amazed, not only at the enthusiasm of all the young people in attendance, but at the wonderful messages of hope and solidarity shared by all of the speakers. The striking presence of the boat, a small vessel used to transport refugees from Turkey to the Italian island of Lampedusa in 2013, on the stage of Wembley Arena set the tone for the event as one both of a celebration of Christian faith and one that really aimed to challenge people to put that faith into action by striving for justice.

Take the Flame challenge today – write a message of hope to refugees

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Youth leaders: Georgia’s year ahead

CAFOD Youth leader ambassadors 2016-7
CAFOD Youth leader ambassadors 2016-7 (Georgia centre, seated.)

Georgia is a youth leader at The Briars Catholic youth retreat centre. This year she will work with hundreds of young people, enabling them to explore their faith. She has just started a year volunteering with CAFOD as a youth ambassador, championing global justice work in her centre. Here she reflects on her year ahead.

Last week I was fortunate enough to be a part of CAFOD’s ambassador first training programme, in which myself and eight other youth ministers joined forces to work together on how we could further raise awareness on the current refugee crisis.

Write a message of hope to refugees in your parish or your youth group or class. Continue reading “Youth leaders: Georgia’s year ahead”

Learning from refugees in Lebanon

“I have learnt so much about the refugee situation as well as about myself and I will be using my strength in faith to guide me when sharing about my experience in Lebanon.”

Ryan in Lebanon
Ryan in Lebanon

Ryan Wilkinson is a 19 year old CAFOD volunteer from Sheffield who recently travelled with CAFOD to meet refugees in Lebanon.

My recent visit to Lebanon has had such a large, positive impact on my life and has made me want to encourage others to learn more about the refugee crisis.

It was such incredible experience to meet refugees who Association Najdeh and Caritas Lebanon, the two CAFOD partners that I visited, reach and help in different camps and shelters. Having the opportunity to talk to people who are refugees, and the staff at the organisations was so inspiring for me as it made me think more about my life and how I can do more to encourage change.

There were times during my visit where it left me emotionally drained as I was hearing many emotional stories about what people are going through, and how their lives have changed since moving to Lebanon.

Donate to the Refugee Crisis Apeal

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Meeting refugees in Lebanon

CAFOD volunteer Leah Fox
CAFOD volunteer Leah in Lebanon

Leah Fox is a CAFOD volunteer from Newcastle who has spent the past year working with young people to help them better understand the plight of refugees. She recently travelled with CAFOD to meet refugees in Lebanon who have been forced to leave their homes because of conflict in Syria, Iraq and Palestine.

My overall experience in Lebanon was amazing; I feel extremely privileged to have had an opportunity to go and experience first-hand what life is like in the refugee camps. There was so much to learn and it was great to meet so many different people from many different walks of life.

In the camps we met Syrian and Palestinian refugees who had been in Lebanon for a long time. We also met Palestinian refugees from Syria, who initially moved there because of conflict but are now in Lebanon.

Donate to CAFOD’s Refugee Crisis Appeal

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Great Generation: What being part of the Great Generation means to me

Sam at the CAFOD Young leaders celebration day at Romero House.
Sam at the CAFOD Young leaders celebration day at Romero House.

Today is Nelson Mandela Day. In 2005 at the ‘Make Poverty History’ march, Nelson Mandela called young people to be part of a ‘great generation’ to work to eliminate world poverty. Here, Sam reflects on what being part of the ‘great generation’ means to her.

Sam has been a CAFOD Young climate blogger and has just graduated from the CAFOD young leadership training programme.

 

 

 “Sometimes it falls upon a generation to be great. You can be that great generation. Let your greatness blossom.” Nelson Mandela

What excites me the most about this quote is the message of hope behind it.  It encourages young people, like you and me, to actually be the ones who bring about change and transformation in today’s modern world!

Be part of the great generation. Continue reading “Great Generation: What being part of the Great Generation means to me”

Great Generation: Nelson Mandela Day

Francis (right) at the climate march in London.
Francis (right) at the climate march in London.

Today is Nelson Mandela Day. In 2005 at the ‘Make Poverty History’ march, Nelson Mandela called young people to be part of a ‘great generation’ to work to eliminate world poverty. Francis Hillen reflects on what being part of the ‘great generation’ means to him.

Francis is a youth worker at the Kenelm Youth Trust in Birmingham Archdiocese where he supports young people on their faith journey through retreats and outreach work.  He’s the CAFOD ambassador on the team there, championing the inclusion of global justice in the programmes.

“Sometimes it falls upon a generation to be great. You can be that great generation. Let your greatness blossom.” Nelson Mandela

When I think of this quote I think of the power we all have to make a difference or a change. Nelson Mandela is a great example of a man who during his lifetime made a remarkable positive change.

During Mandela’s lifetime we see how the people of Britain were able come together and campaign against the injustice of apartheid and Mandela’s imprisonment throughout the 80s. This most definitely will have gone some way towards his freedom and subsequent election as President of South Africa.  For example the song ‘Free Nelson Mandela’ was written by a group of lads from Coventry, it later became an anthem used by the movement.

In today’s world there are many people who lack freedom and through my work with Kenelm Youth Trust as a gap year volunteer, and as a CAFOD Ambassador, I’ve seen the yearning of young people to make a difference. Children I’ve worked with have written truly sincere messages of hope for refugees and teenagers have offered words of solidarity.

Send a message of hope to refugees. Continue reading “Great Generation: Nelson Mandela Day”

Great generation: My year as a CAFOD young leader

Flavia at the CAFOD young leaders celebration day.
Flavia at the CAFOD young leaders celebration day.

Flavia has been volunteering for CAFOD this year as part of the Young Leadership Programme. She’s had a busy year of fundraising, campaigning and raising awareness in her school of CAFOD’s work and social justice issues that are important to her.

Earlier this year Flavia was nominated for the Dorothy Day award, a Million Minutes award for fostering community participation. Here is an extract from her sixth form leavers’ speech, where she reflected on the journey she’s had in college and with CAFOD over the past twelve months.

My journey began last year when I went on a climate change rally to lobby MPs. At first I wasn’t very interested in the topic, however after going on the rally and understanding the impact that our voice has in the world we live in, it really surprised me that I can make a change. It may not be a massive change, but I learnt very quickly throughout this year that it’s the little things that make the biggest difference.

Download our Olympic resources to explore global justice issues with your youth group, class or group of friends.

Continue reading “Great generation: My year as a CAFOD young leader”

Youth leaders: Get your group ready for the Rio Olympics!

Ahead of Rio 2016, Julia from CAFOD’s Youth Team muses on sport, silly and serious, and suggests easy ways to get your group of friends, youth group and secondary students Rio ready with CAFOD!

Julia from CAFOD's Youth Team finishing the Great South Run.
Julia from CAFOD’s Youth Team finishing the Great South Run.

As a youth leader and teacher I’ve run (and played!) my fair share of silly games. From parachute games with HCPT on the meadow in Lourdes, to 500 rounds of North, South, East, West with Guides. From ten pin bowling with plastic bottles in a Loreto school in India to mini-Olympics with tutor groups. I had to get serious when supporting students with physical disabilities to play Paralympic sport boccia at a regional competition,  as moving the ramp accurately according to the player’s precise instructions meant the difference between victory and defeat.

Download CAFOD Olympic resources for young people

Although not an absolute natural, I love taking part in sport too. Aside from a few (very unexpected) shot-put wins at school sports day (my training one year was to throw bean cans as far as I could in the garden), coastal rowing is the sport I’ve been most involved in. The feeling of a win after a two kilometre sprint was elation, but it was the week in, week out training with friends and sunny days on the South coast at regattas that made it fun.

Continue reading “Youth leaders: Get your group ready for the Rio Olympics!”