CAFOD’s Annual Review Summary (April 2017-March 2018)

If you have a spare moment, we invite you – our loyal volunteers and supporters, and any other interested parties who are visiting our blog – to take a look at our Annual Review which has been recently published.

You can see how the volunteering you commit to for us, transforms lives around the world.  Sometimes we hear people say, I am just putting up a poster or handing out Fast Day envelopes – it’s not much to ask.  With the greatest respect, we disagree!

The cover photo of the report (not the one above) shows: Fatema who is 18 at the Balukhali refugee camp in  Bangladesh.  Fatema had to flee Myanmar after her home was burnt down and her husband killed by the military. More than 600,000 Rohingya have been forced from their country, often with no possessions and with nowhere safe to travel to, in order to save their lives and those of their families. Countless more who were unable or unwilling to leave have been killed.

But thanks to your support, CAFOD, with our local Church partner Caritas Bangladesh, were able to respond to this crisis by providing emergency food, shelter and sanitation supplies to those in desperate need.

This report details how your contributions enable CAFOD to help millions of people like Fatema each year, and celebrates the transformational change your prayers, actions and donations help bring about.

We want to share just how valuable your contribution is to our work.  Thank you.

 

First Share the Journey walk in Herefordshire

War, persecution, natural disasters and poverty force millions of people from their homes.

Most come from poor countries and seek safety in other poor countries nearby.

Dispelling myths about refugees and migrants is something we can all help with.

And this was how parishioners from St Frances of Rome church in the beautiful market town of Ross-on-Wye in Herefordshire responded to Pope Francis’ call to welcome refugees and migrants with open arms.

Altar servers, twin brothers, Tom & Gerry

The liveSimply group in the parish organised a Share the Journey walk around the buggy route in the town, to coincide with the end of Refugee Week.

Before setting off, parish priest, Father Nicholas James, blessed the entire congregation as well as the group of walkers.

At the end of their journey, the group had totted up 40 miles which has been added to CAFOD’s online totaliser for Share the Journey.

It is a shocking fact that at the end of last year, 68.5 million people were displaced around the world due to persecution, conflict or violence.

Few us can even imagine being at home and suddenly have to escape with our family and leave absolutely everything we own behind.

We can try to imagine setting off on a long journey to find a new home.  Not knowing how long we will be walking, when we will next eat or where we can rest.

Alone and afraid, there is now doubt that we would welcome someone to reach and talk to us, to share the journey with us.

But this was just like Dilda’s journey.  She fled from Myanmar to escape violence in her village.

She says: “We didn’t bring a thing.  We just grabbed the children and ran.”

Dilda left everything behind.  Her home, her possessions, everything – for a temporary shelter on the side of the road.

Her children are scarred by what they have seen.

We cannot cross by on the other side while our neighbours are struggling.

The church has been at the forefront of reaching out to refugees and migrants but so far our world leaders are not meeting the challenge.

Alongside Catholics around the world, we are asking them to step up.

Parishes, schools around the country can help to send a powerful message to world leader who are drawing up new global agreements at the UN in September and December this year.

How?  By sharing the journey.  By joining us on a walk.  Not just any walk, but a walk around the world.

The target was 24,900 miles – the distance around the whole world.

But we’ve achieved that already!!

We are walking around the world a second time…

CAFOD will  use the #sharethejourney walks and card signings in parishes and schools to demonstrate our solidarity with people on the move to our Prime Minister, Theresa May, to our local MPs and the government.

We hope to influence the UN so that the new agreements will respect human dignity; protect the vulnerable; support host countries; keep families together and tacked the reasons why people migrate.

Please consider signing the online petition today to ask the UN to agree compassionate agreements which respect human dignity of all people.

If you would like to know more about organising a walk in your parish or school, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us and we’d be delighted to support you.  You can order action cards here.

Loving God, You walk with those searching for a better life.  May we work together to share the journey and offer everyone a loving welcome. Amen.

 

Rohingya Crisis Appeal

More than 500,000 people are now estimated to have fled to Bangladesh, escaping violence in Rakhine State in neighbouring Myanmar. Needs are so great that the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), of which CAFOD is a member, has launched an emergency appeal for the refugees. Here you can watch a impassioned appeal by Wales’ First Minister, Carwyn Jones. Continue reading

Lunchtime talk with Cardinal Bo from Myanmar

 

Cardinal Charles Maung Bo Archbishop of Yangon

Cardinal Charles Bo is the first Cardinal from a south-east Asian country.

Born on 29 Oct 1948 near Mandalay, Burma, he was ordained a priest of the Salesians of Don Bosco order on 9th April, 1976.

He is an outspoken voice on human rights, religious freedom and inter-religious harmony, justice and peace building in his country.

Continue reading