We say THANK YOU to all our amazing volunteers – Celebrate together this Volunteers’ Week with Mass at 6 pm today (Thursday 4 June)

This is National Volunteers’ Week (1-7 June)  – an annual celebration of the millions of people who give up their time to help their communities and country. And this year, there are more people to thank than ever before.

CAFOD’s Director, Christine Allen, said: “During the Coronavirus pandemic, we have seen some amazing feats of volunteering to support the Coronavirus response both here and overseas.

“Over the past few months, here at CAFOD we have seen our numbers of volunteers and the time they are willing to give increase – equating to over 100,000 extra hours volunteered to help some of the world’s most vulnerable communities.”

Jane Davies (from St Miichael & All Angels parish, Belmont Abbey is doing a sponsored walk to raise funds for the Coronavirus appeal – Thank you Jane!

Volunteering in numbers

  • Across the UK, 11.9 million people formally volunteered at least once a month in 2017/18.
  • An amazing 6,305 CAFOD volunteers in England and Wales across 15 volunteering roles gave an average of 27,862 hours each month.
  • That’s the equivalent of 334,344 hours over the course of a year – a record-breaking 100,000 more hours than last year!

Join us

Every year, we hold volunteer events around the country to thank our amazing volunteers – and although our events may look a bit different this year, we’d still love for you to join us to celebrate what an amazing difference your volunteering has made.

Please join us on this evening (Thursday 4 June) at 6 pm for our Volunteers’ Week celebration online Mass.

Register to join us

 

Our colleague, Sylvester, in the Birmingham diocese shares his personal experience of a recent trip to Zimbabwe

Map of ZimbabweMuch has been spoken and written about the country of my birth – the country I grew up in.

Childhood memories of Zimbabwe and its beauty remain some of my fondest. I remember the beautiful and majestic Victoria Falls; the incredible architecture and stonework of Great Zimbabwe; and the gorgeous golden sunsets along the Zambezi river.

I think of Jacaranda trees lining either side of the streets. In spring, their bloom created a beautiful purple carpet along the roads. It seemed to me that everyone had a friendly smile – there was a real sense of hope everywhere I went.

These are unforgettable memories.

Sadly, the Zimbabwe I witnessed during a recent three-week visit paints a different picture – a stark, if not bleak, contrast to my memories.

Zimbabwe once boasted an enviable subtropical climate, excellent rainfall seasons and fertile soil, but climate change and spiralling hyperinflation over the last three decades have altered the social and physical landscape of the country.  The once reliable and abundant rains – the backbone of the agricultural sector – have been replaced by long dry spells and extensive droughts. Seventy per cent of Zimbabwe’s population live in the rural areas. They are farmers that rely on agriculture to feed and support their families. Persistent droughts have resulted in little-to-no crop yields and the loss of livestock – the measure of a family’s wealth.

Family collecting water from a small hole in a dry river bed

Zimbabwe’s urban population were mostly unaffected by previous droughts. This too has changed, as daily average temperatures soar. In Harare, the main dam supplying water to all households is below capacity. As a result, running water is limited to just one day each week.

 

Moreover, because of the dire economic situation, Local Councils cannot afford to treat water sufficiently; therefore, the water that does manage to come through the household taps is unsafe to drink. In order to get safe drinking water, most urban families are forced to walk or drive for miles on end, with large containers, to form queues at busy boreholes.

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Zimbabwe and Zambia Food Crisis – our emergency response

For several months, we have been monitoring a situation of drought and food shortage in Zimbabwe and Zambia.

Climate change in that region means temperatures are rising, water has become increasingly scarce, and harvests have failed.

The situation has escalated and we are now responding to this food crisis with emergency aid.  Our local aid experts are supporting the worst-affected communities.

We have so far committed over £160,000 to the emergency response.

This currently includes delivering emergency food aid to the people in greatest need, through our Church network, and creating access to safe, clean water through new pipelines, boreholes and water points.

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DEPUTY HEAD OF AFRICA TO SPEAK AT ALL SAINTS NEWPORT

You are warmly invited to St Mary’s Stow Hill (All Saints Pastoral Area) – St Mary’s Institute (parish hall), Stow Hill, Newport (NP20 1TP) on Saturday 21 September at 3.30 pm to meet Damian Marchant – deputy Head of Region for Africa at CAFOD – who will give an update on CAFOD’s work around the world.

James joined CAFOD in 2007 and served overseas for seven years in Latin America and three years in Africa. He will give us a snapshot of the complexity of operating in some extremely insecure environments.

CAFOD has worked in sub-Saharan Africa since the 1970s and James currently holds operation responsibility for CAFOD’s overseas programmes in Kenya, Uganda, Niger, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Zambia, Zimbabwe and eSwatini (Swaziland).

James will also cover how CAFOD works hand in hand with the church and how knowledge of the local context allows CAFOD to work with communities in a way that is so inspiring.

Come and hear how your support for CAFOD contributes to positive change in the lives of so many communities.

Free event with tea & coffee available.  Feel free to bring a friend or fellow parishioner.  You will all be welcome.

Mass follows at 4.30 p.m.

Further information from CAFOD South Wales on 02920 344 822 or email: southwales@cafod.org.uk

 

Harvest Fast Day meetings

With just six weeks to go until Harvest Fast day  (Friday 4 October) – we are holding planning meetings around the diocese.   These informal “briefings” are for all parish volunteers and interested supporters who want to find about more about what we can all do to change lives, working in partnership with CAFOD.  There will be information on the appeal, research on how your commitment to Speaking at Mass for CAFOD really makes a difference and feedback on how and where your generous donations at Lent have been used and the impact they are having.

Family Fast Day happens twice a year.  When Fast Day first took place, many families saw it as an opportunity to practice giving something up for the sake of others.

“Millions of people in the world are hungry and they are largely hungry because the good fruits of the earth are enjoyed by too few – and we are among the few. There is enough food for all – if only it could be fairly shared.”

(this is quoted from the very first leaflet in 1961)

Many people in England and Wales had known hardship and poverty themselves and had sympathy for those who were struggling to survive.  This recognition that we are all one global family is truly humbling and in those early days the message was quite clear.

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Lent 2018 feedback – how your donations are saving lives in Zimbabwe…

When we donate to an appeal – Lent, Harvest or an emergency – or make a regular gift – we all want to know and trust that our money will reach the people who need it most.

Here’s how your compassion and generous support for our Lent appeal in 2018 when you donated a fantastic £4.3 million, which was doubled by the UK government through matched funding, is working to save lives in Zimbabwe.

Fiona and her two children in Zimbabwe (above) will receive a vegetable garden.

Since last year’s Lenten appeal, our local nutrition experts have been working hard to reach the most vulnerable people – children, pregnant women, breastfeeding Mums and older members of the community – and ensure they’re getting a good meal.

So far we’ve reached a total of 4,293 people. And we’re on track to reach 239,000 people across Zimbabwe, Eritrea and Zambia by the end of 2021.

One year on from our 2018 appeal, we revisit some of the people you met last year in Zimbabwe.

A vegetable garden for the Mudzemeti family

When we met Fiona, she was worried about her youngest son Pardon, who was showing signs of malnutrition. But Fiona and her husband Peter have just received the good news that their village will be receiving a vegetable garden.

Read more about Fiona

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Musical concert for CAFOD at Belmont Abbey

A charity concert held at Belmont Abbey and performed by pupils from St Mary’s RC  High School in Lugwardine, Hereford has raised more than £500 for CAFOD.

The event on Thursday 11 April brought the total raised for CAFOD since 2013 to an impressive £20,000.

The spring concert  took place in a new venue this year – the beautiful Pugin designed monastery at Belmont Abbey.

Pupils from across the school performed a mixture of orchestral pieces, instrumental ensembles and solo pieces.

Parents, friends and teachers were joined by monks from the Benedictine community, sharing in the experience of the wonderful acoustics that Belmont Abbey provides.

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Schools giving it up to transform lives

Yr 4 from St Joseph’s Cathedral Primary School in Swansea presenting the Give It Up assembly to the whole school!

Pupils from across the Archdiocese of Cardiff (including Menevia & Herefordshire) have given up some of their favourite things this Lent to help communities around the world who have been affected by climate change, as part of this year’s Give It Up Lent fundraising campaign.

In assemblies presented by our wonderful school volunteer team, children heard about the challenges that Mahinur and her family in Bangladesh are facing.

Mahinur lives by a river with her husband Khalek and 12-year-old son Rabiul, who both have disabilities. She relies on fishing in the river to support her family, but last year it dried up and all the fish died.

The fish have not returned. Some days the family just drink water for dinner. This is not right. God has given enough resources on this planet for everyone.

No one should go hungry.  So how how to inspire children to recognise need and to be motivated to help?

The idea is a simple one:  choose something, give it up and donate the money saved to CAFOD. Continue reading

Thank you for supporting us in your parishes at Lent

Parishioners at St Frances of Rome, Ross-on-Wye

Lent soup lunches have been organised by St Frances of Rome parish in Ross-on-Wye on the Friday lunchtimes through Lent with proceeds all going to support CAFOD.

A big thank you too to Jane Davies and fellow parishioners at at Belmont Abbey parish for organising a wonderful, tasty Soup Supper which also provided an opportunity to learn more about CAFOD’s work around the world, in schools here in England and Wales, advocacy and campaigning.

The evening was came to an end with a Deacon Eddie leading us all in the Stations of the Cross 

Abbot Paul with parishioners from Belmont Abbey

We are always so grateful for your prayers and commitment to organising events like these to raise awareness of the plight of people like Mahinur – who is the part of the Lent Fast Day narrative this year.  Mahinur lives in Bangladesh.

You may have heard the short talk at Mass a few weeks ago, but please do read the fuller story about Mahinur’s situation.

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CAFOD in a rapidly changing world

Geoff O’Donoghue, CAFOD’s Director of Operations, visited Our Lady, Star of the Sea in Mumbles to speak to supporters and parishioners about CAFOD’s work and new ambition “No One Beyond Reach.”

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