Menevia schools learn about Zimbabwe

St Joseph’s in Port Talbot

Our team of Education volunteers enjoyed a busy Lent and were all out and about visiting some of our Catholic schools in the diocese of Menevia and the Archdiocese of Cardiff.

We are so grateful for their experience, expertise and commitment to helping children to learn more about global issues of injustice and CAFOD’s work in over 44 countries around the world.

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Tenth Easter Concert for CAFOD at St Mary’s, Lugwardine

Students pictured with Share the Journey action cards

St Mary’s RC High school in Lugwardine is responsible for the education of around 750 pupils and is the only Catholic secondary school in the county of Herefordshire, serving the communities of Hereford, Ledbury, Leominster and Ross-on-Wye.

What is truly wonderful about St Mary’s is how the school has supported CAFOD so faithfully over many years. Continue reading

Romero Festival in South Wales (9-15 March)

Today brought wonderful news from the Vatican: Pope Francis has recognized a second miracle from Blessed Oscar Romero which puts him on the path to canonization.

He was beatified by Pope Francis in May 2015.

Romero was Archbishop of San Salvador, the capital of El Salvador. He was assassinated on 24 March 1980 as he was celebrating Mass.

At the time, El Salvador was in the grip of a cruel civil war between guerrilla forces on the left and a dictatorial government on the right.

When he was appointed, Oscar Romero was seen as a “safe” pair of hands but during his three short years as Archbishop, and seeing the oppression and violence at first hand, he became an outspoken critic of the injustice he was witnessing all around him. Continue reading

Swansea parishioners Lenten fundraiser helps fight hunger across the world

Gemma Salter (far left) with parishioners from Our Lady, Star of the Sea

Swansea parishioners have hosted a ‘family fast day’ and welcomed back a Swansea woman who spoke about her time visiting communities in Zimbabwe who will be helped by this year’s CAFOD Lent fundraising campaign.

Last Friday, parishioners from Our Lady Star of the Sea in Swansea hosted a Family Fast day – a day where communities enjoy a simple meal and donate the money saved to charity- and welcomed back Gemma Salter, a local woman who now works for the international aid agency, CAFOD.

During the event, they heard Gemma speak about her experiences visiting Zimbabwe and enjoyed a simple meal to fundraise for the charity.

Gemma said: “I never pass up the chance to visit my home town! So I was delighted to be invited to speak in Swansea. But more than that, it was a chance to share some of the incredible stories I heard on my trip to Zimbabwe.”

Sue Philippart, Gemma Salter, Fr Mansel Usher and Sarah O’Kane

The community’s efforts will help fund agricultural training, education and clean water projects for communities living in poverty. And, in an added boost, all donations to CAFOD’s Lent Appeal, up to £5 million, will be doubled by the UK government up until 12 May. Continue reading

It’s Fairtrade Fortnight! Meet Fr John Joseph at St Helen’s, Caerphilly on Sunday 11 March

We are in the middle of Fairtrade Fortnight!  (26 February – 11 March)
So what exactly is Fairtrade?
Well it’s about choosing products that change lives.
Their mission statement is:
We want a world in which justice & sustainable development are at the heart of trade structures and practices so that everyone, through their work, can maintain a decent and dignified livelihood and develop their full potential.
To achieve this vision, Fairtrade seeks to transform trading structures and practices in favour of the poor and disadvantaged.
It’s still a shocking fact that millions of farmers and workers who produce the food we love, still don’t earn enough money to feed their own families.
Fairtrade Fortnight shines a spotlight on trade.
When we reach for our favourite food and drink every day without ever thinking where it comes from, we become part of the problem.  We may be feeding exploitation.
When you choose Fairtrade you are helping to make sure that the person who grew the banana you are eating or the coffee beans used to make your favourite cuppa, was paid fairly for their work.
There are over 1.65 million farmers and workers across more than 74 countries participating in Fairtrade.  Find out more about them here.
Watch the short film about Pablo, the Super Banana… it’s designed for young primary school children – but I learned a lot about Fairtrade too!
Watch the film Make Bananas Fair to discover more about Foncho, a banana farmer from Colombia and see how Fairtrade makes a real difference to the lives of Foncho, his family and their community.
It’s only 3 minutes long!  “Make Bananas Fair”
So why does CAFOD support Fairtrade?
Because CAFOD founded the Fairtrade Foundation in 1992 with Christian Aid, Oxfam, Traidcraft, the World Development Movement and the National Federation of Women’s Institutes.

We believe we are all part of the global food system – which means we have the power to change it.

Changing the food we buy and choosing products from Fairtrade companies is one of the ways we can help tackle poverty.  Learn more about CAFOD and Fairtrade.

Why not consider asking your parish to become a Fairtrade parish? 

And let’s not forget that Cardiff is the first Fairtrade capital city in the world!

With over 1500 Fairtrade towns and cities across the world, Cardiffians should be proud of this title which demonstrates that you’re capable of green, ethical living with fair outcomes for all.

If you are holding a coffee morning, Fairtrade stall or event, we’d love to hear from you.  Please send us a couple of sentences about your event and a photo, if you can, and we can tweet or add our support on Facebook.

Fairtrade Wales has organised a visit of their partner, Fr John Joseph on Sunday, 11 March at St Helen’s, Caerphilly. He will be at the 10.30 am. Mass.

Fr John Joseph is Chairman of the WOFFA Co-operative in India and is touring wales between 4-11 March.

Fr John founded WOFFA in 2008 with 400 small-scale farmers in the rural Wayanad region of Kerala, India, known for its panoramic views and the diversity of indigenous tribal communities.

The association arose out of the need to organise, gain knowledge and tackle social, economic and environmental challenges facing farming families.

Under his leadership, WOFFA has grown to almost 8,000 registered members – all certified Fairtrade and organic farmers – who are organised under 450 village groups. It is now the biggest organic and Fairtrade producer organisation in India.

 

Ash Wednesday marked with soup lunch in Monmouth

Parishioners and friends from St Mary’s RC Church in Monmouth

Diana Turnbull, a member of the Monmouth and Ross LiveSimply group hosted a soup lunch on Ash Wednesday to mark the beginning of Lent and to raise funds to support CAFOD’s Lenten appeal for Zimbabwe.

In 1960, a group of Catholic women did something extraordinary. They organised the first Family Fast Day to support mothers and babies in Dominica who were suffering from malnutrition. They received overwhelming support. They aimed to raise £500 but in fact raised over £6,500.

The following year they raised £27,000.  And from this CAFOD was born.

Elspeth Orchard, one of CAFOD’s founders, explained:

“We weren’t doing anything special, we were just doing what we thought we ought to do, remembering that we are all God’s children.”

This year CAFOD is returned to the origins of Family Fast Day and invited supporters to express their love and compassion for our global family, through prayer, fasting and giving.

Fasting is an important spiritual practice, particularly during Lent. Our fast is a symbolic act of love for people who have to go without food – it unites us with them and shows them they are not alone.

Pope Francis tells us that Lent is a time for us to wake up – to have our eyes opened to who we are called to be as children of God. To see that God can give us strength to change not only our own lives, but also to reach out and help others.

Above all, I urge the members of the Church to take up the Lenten journey with enthusiasm, sustained by almsgiving, fasting and prayer. If, at times, the flame of charity seems to die in our own hearts, know that this is never the case in the heart of God! He constantly gives us a chance to begin loving anew.  Pope Francis Lenten message 2018

Fasting has the potential to change and transform our relationships not only with our neighbour, but with ourselves, with God and with creation.

In the Catholic Christian tradition fasting is not seen in isolation, but is very closely linked to prayer and almsgiving – giving money to worthy causes.

This year CAFOD’s Lenten appeal focuses on Zimbabwe.

Once known as the breadbasket of Africa, Zimbabwe now struggles to grow enough food for the population, with one in three people undernourished.

The collapse of the economy, combined with changes in the climate that see later and more erratic rainfall and long dry spells in the growing season, have led to the country struggling to feed itself in many of the last few years.

January to March is the most difficult time of year for food. The rains have started falling from November but the harvest won’t start until April and the stores from last year are depleted – this time of year is known as the ‘hunger gap’.

Children, pregnant and breastfeeding women, and people living with HIV and AIDS are particularly vulnerable to the effects of malnutrition. In Zimbabwe, one in four children under five have stunted growth from not getting enough good food.

CAFOD is working with the local Catholic church, through Caritas partners in Zimbabwe to tackle hunger and malnutrition.

We are also helping communities to plant community vegetable gardens where each family has their own plot to grow vegetables for their family to eat and to sell any surplus – providing seeds and tools and fencing off the garden to protect the produce from livestock

We are training families on farming techniques to grow drought-resistant crops and adapt their farming methods to a changing climate.

We are teaching families about good nutrition and providing seeds to grow protein-rich foods such as sesame and peanuts.

We’re training nurses and village health workers on nutrition – how to spot a malnourished child and how to prevent malnutrition.

We’re setting up support groups for new mums – where experienced mothers in a community run weekly sessions and undertake home visits with pregnant women and new mums to teach them about breastfeeding and weaning.

We’re running cooking demonstrations through support groups for mums – so mothers know what nutrients are in the new vegetables they are growing and how best to cook them.

Last but not least, we are teaching communities about good hygiene and providing safe water, so people don’t lose nutrients from diarrhoea.

In areas where we have been working, statistics show that people’s diets have improved and people are eating more food and a better variety of nutritious food.

So Diana responded to our invitation to organise her own soup lunch and eat a simple meal in solidarity with others who regularly go without enough to eat.

What your fundraising can do…

    • £1 buys seeds for a family to grow beans that are full of protein
    • £3 can train a local mum to set up a support group for new mums, to advise on breastfeeding and weaning
    • £6 can train a health worker to weigh and measure babies to check for malnutrition
    • £10 can buy nutritious sesame seeds for a family to sow
    • £12 can provide seeds for a family to grow peanuts and make nutritious peanut butter
    • £20 can buy a watering can so seedlings don’t dry out
    • £56 can buy all the seeds needed for a family to plant a garden full of nutritious vegetables
    • £194 can train two health workers and a network of local mums so a whole village of mothers have all the information they need to keep their babies healthy
    • £1,266 buys all the tools needed for a community to care for their own vegetable garden

Match funding

We are fortunate enough to have been awarded match funding for our Lent Fast Day Appeal from the government’s Department for International Development (DFID). This means all eligible donations our supporters make during our Lent Family Fast Day Appeal will be matched by the government, up to a total value of £5m. All donations made from 13 February until 12 May will be doubled.

International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt said:

“Malnutrition has devastating effects on families all around the world, with children at risk of long-term physical and mental damage.”

“Every donation made by the generous British public to the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development’s Family Fast Day Appeal will be matched pound for pound by the UK Government, helping families in Zimbabwe, Eritrea and Zambia gain access to the food they need to survive.”

So the money from the UK Government will fund a three-year project to improve nutrition in Zimbabwe, Eritrea and Zambia – reaching 245,00 people.

So thank you Diana! The event on Ash Wednesday was a great way for us to start Lent.  It was well attended by friends and parishioners alike and the soup was absolutely delicious.

£100 was raised and your donation will be doubled by the UK Government, making double the difference.

Donate to CAFOD’s Lent appeal here

It’s not too late for your parish to get involved. Find resources here.

 

World gifts are not just for Christmas! Jenny from Porthcawl tells us more…

Parishioners from Our Lady, Star of the Sea in Porthcawl, have been enormously generous in supporting our volunteer Jenny Worthington as she set out to walk the CAMINO Way for CAFOD.

Her mission was to find enough sponsors to reach her goal of funding a CAFOD World Gift – a Health Centre.  This amazing World Gift can pay for the running costs of a life-saving clinic in a remote community.  It keeps the clinic stocked with medicines, medical equipment and even provides petrol for the clinic ambulance, giving vulnerable people vital access to much needed healthcare.

Read Jenny’s moving account in her own words… Continue reading

St Mary’s High School lobbies the World Bank

Pupils at St Mary’s RC High School in Lugwardine, Hereford are making their voices heard to the UK’s representative at the World Bank, Melanie Robinson.  They are raising their concerns about the lack of access to renewable energy for some of the world’s poorest people.

CAFOD South Wales was invited into the school to talk to members of de Paul at their house assembly, specifically about this issue.   CAFOD’s Power to Be campaign is calling for more investment in local, renewable energy in developing countries.

Why?  Because 1 in 6 people in the world live without access to electricity.  Children have to rely on unpredictable, dangerous and unhealthy energy sources such as candles, paraffin lamps and firewood.

Nearly 90 % of people without access to electricity live in villages.  It can be difficult and very expensive to extend the electricity grid to homes, clinics and schools in rural areas.

Local, renewable energy can transform the lives of children. It can help families to lift themselves out of poverty, without harming the environment.  And the fastest, cheapest and most efficient solution is usually to provide “mini-grids” that are powered by renewable energy.

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Barry schoolchildren write messages of hope to refugees

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CAFOD South Wales were delighted to receive an invitation from Jenner Park Primary School in Barry to give an assembly focussing on the international development work of CAFOD.

A member of our Education volunteers team was given a very warm welcome before assembly and was able to start the morning  with an explanation of what the letters that make up CAFOD mean and that CAFOD works and helps people living in poverty, whatever their race, culture and religion. No-one is left out.

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Oscar Romero and campaigning

 

Oscar Romero retreat with Libby and Kieran Nov 17On Saturday 18 November, CAFOD supporters from across the Archdiocese of Cardiff travelled to the peaceful environs of the Croeso centre just outside Cwmbran in south-east Wales (for those of you who don’t know this beautiful part of the world) for a retreat on Blessed Oscar Romero, lead by Libby Abbott from our Campaigns team in Romero House, London.

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