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

Continue reading

Planning for Lent

With Lent starting next week, Ash Wednesday is 6 March, we’d like to invite volunteers in and around Cardiff to pop into our volunteer centre (North Chambers, Castle Arcade, Cardiff CF10 1BX) on Thursday 7 March between 11 am-12.30pm to hear more about this year’s Family Fast Day appeal.

Throughout Lent we will be sharing the experience of Mahinur who is struggling with the changing weather.  Mahinur lives in Bangladesh.  She makes a living from fishing but a drought last year killed all the fish in the river that she lives next to and now she’s struggling to support her disabled husband, Khalek and her twelve year old son, Rabiul.

The changing weather is devastating lives.  Drought, floods and storms are having a catastrophic impact effect on some of the poorest members of our global family.

Hardest hit are vulnerable groups such as women and people with disabilities.  Both groups often live in extreme poverty and are excluded from job opportunities.  People with disabilities also face stigma.  The lack of support and income makes it harder for vulnerable people to prepare for disasters and to recover after disaster strikes.

The most vulnerable and disaster-prone regions within Bangladesh are the south and south-west coastal areas.  Mahinur is from the Patuakhali District on the wouthern coast.

Last year, your donations were match funded by the UK government and the projects started in October 2018.

“New nutrition projects in Zimbabwe, Eritrea and Zambia have  begun.  We’re on track to reach 239,000 people by the end of 2021!”   Thank you!

This Lent your donations will help ensure that no-one is beyond the reach of the love and care they need to flourish.

Jamal, our local expert, grew up in the same region as Mahinur and is an expert in farming and fishing.  He has already helped a few families her village, teaching them new farming techniques and distributing seeds, ducks and chickens.  But sadly there hasn’t been enough money available yet to help Mahinur.  And it’s a very sad fact that  we are currently forced to turn away one in three requests for help, simply because there isn’t enough money to go around.

On Friday 15 March, can you eat a simple meal in solidarity and give what you save to help us reach out to more families in desperate need of help?

Your generosity is a lifeline for women, men and children all over the world.  Thank you so much!

5 ways you can get involved:

  1. In your parish. Pin up our eye-catching poster and use our short talk to introduce the parish to Mahimur. If you would like to have someone speak at Mass, please contact us.  Get the children involved too by using our children’s liturgy and illustration for the first Sunday of Lent.
  2. Have a pancake party! Flip poverty on its head this Shrove Tuesday by challenging friends and family to pancake flipping competition. How many can you flip in 2 minutes? If everyone donates £2 to take part, your pancakes will make a big difference to families with nothing to eat.
  3. Pledge to eat soup this Family Fast Day! Have a simple soup meal and give what you save. Even better, gather a crowd and organise a soup-er fundraiser. We’ll send you a poster, guide and recipes… yummy.   Here’s a recipe for a simple lentil soup.
  4. Prayer can move mountains. Our prayers of intercession can be used at church, with your prayer group, your family or on your own in quiet reflection. You can also order our prayer card from the CAFOD shop.
  5. Share our video of Mahinur on Facebook and social media. Together we can spread the message of love our global neighbours to thousands of people across England and Wales.

If you can’t make this meeting, but you want to pop into the office to know more, please  get in touch with us on 02920 344882 or email us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ymprydio, gweddio a rhoi / Fast, pray and give

 “Ni ddylai neb yfed dwr mor fudr a hyn” “No-one should drink water this dirty”

… was the message for our Harvest Fast Day appeal this year.

We’d like to say a huge thank you to our parishes, supporters and wonderful volunteers who attended our Fast Day briefings, helped to get our message into parish newsletters, put up posters, held a simple Soup Lunch, fasted, gave the short talk at Mass, distributed and collected the Fast Day envelopes – prayed and supported us in any way this Harvest Fast Day.

Diolch! Bydd eich rhodd yn achub bywydau

Thank you!  Your gift will save lives.

Continue reading

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

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

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.