Roswitha Davies has been volunteering in Cardiff and Hereford since 1985 and she has written a special report on her favourite memories of volunteering.
Friends and I started a CAFOD group in our parish, first to raise funds for CAFOD, but soon we started meeting on Friday lunchtimes with our small children, for prayer, soup and bread, and we worked through CAFOD’s study guides which were published alongside the campaigns.
The one I remember best was called: ‘Renewing the Earth’ which already then (30 years ago!) pointed out the links between our human activities and global warming, droughts, hunger and water poverty in parts of the world where CAFOD was working.
CAFOD was at the forefront of reminding Catholics of the obligation of being good stewards of our world, caring for the Earth, linking the points between human behaviour and climate change and poverty. My understanding of the problems of our modern time was formed by studying CAFOD materials with my CAFOD group.
We also took part in many demonstrations for environmental and justice issues, mainly in London, but we also did sponsored walks for CAFOD with our young children here in Cardiff. Years later I was delighted when my daughter got a job with Cafod, managing some of their projects in South America which helps me feeling connected with some communities there.
I am a parish contact and a schools’ volunteer.
Until my retirement I was a languages teacher and after that I felt that teaching children about the work of CAFOD would suit me most when I was looking to find out what I wanted to do as a volunteer.
I love teaching young children because they understand the message that people and children in poorer parts of the world are our brothers and sisters and we need to share with them, much more directly and more genuinely than many adults do, and they are keen to respond. I hope that after a CAFOD assembly – which usually includes very moving images – they might go home and tell their families about what they have heard and seen, and are inspired to act.
‘Whatsoever you do for the least of my brothers, that you do unto me’. CAFOD is my ‘means’ of reaching out to people across the world and support them in their struggle for a life in dignity and justice, and in a very small way to contribute to the building of God’s Kingdom here and now.
I have been on many demonstrations with CAFOD supporters, mainly in London, to make the voice of suffering peoples heard, but the one which is standing out is when CAFOD supporters and many others from other regional agencies got together in the summer of 2013 as our local action for the’IF Campaign’ and marched with banners and flags through Cardiff, calling for greater care for the earth and better stewardship, to reduce the damaging effects of climate change.
We stopped off for prayer at churches of different denominations, and it was a very public and united witness. It was very moving to feel that there were so many other like-minded people in our area, and that we were working together for the growth of the Kingdom of God here on Earth, here in Wales!
If Roswitha’s story has inspired you to volunteer, you can contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org