Why is everyone talking about the Department for International Development (DfID)?

In 2017, CAFOD supporters spoke to MPs

Last week, the government announced that it was planning to merge the Department for International development and the Foreign Office.

Faith charities and international development aid agencies alike were saddened by the decision, calling it ‘seriously misguided’.

CAFOD’s Director, Christine Allen, said:

“Our support for our brothers and sisters living in poverty shouldn’t be contingent on what we as Britain can get out of it – we must have a clear distinction between our aid budget and money spent on British interests.

“Increasingly issues such as climate change, the destruction of nature, and the spread of Covid-19 demonstrate unequivocally that global issues can only be tackled through increased global cooperation, and that progress can be reversed through retreating into approaches based on national interest.”

CAFOD joined forced with other leading faith charities across the country to put out a statement, which you can read here.

Christine wrote to The Daily Telegraph letter’s section, writing:

“As UK Aid is spent by more and more departments, the UK government must commit to the highest levels of transparency across the whole portfolio.

“We need to see a levelling up, not a levelling down, in the accountability of UK aid.”

The full letter is published here.

We also heard from our international partners, concerned by the decision, including the Reverend George Cosmos Zumaire Lungu of the Diocese of Chipata, in Zambia, wrote to the Prime Minister about the decision.

Dennis, 17, on his grandmother’s farmland in Mbala, Zambia

We will make sure to keep you updated as the situation develops, and you can keep up to date on the latest developments by following our social media channels : Facebook and Twitter 

Reasons why Jane is doing a sponsored walk for CAFOD’s Coronavirus Appeal

I remember reading about Albert Schweitzer, a Missionary Doctor, when I was about 12 and I knew I wanted to help out in poorer countries when I was older.  I grew up a faithful Catholic, learning to serve others with God’s help.

My husband and I went out to St Francis Mission Hospital in Katete, Zambia, when we had been married a couple of years.  I was a trained Laboratory Technician and he was a Nurse. What an eye opener, I reckon I came back with more questions than answers!

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Laudato Si’ week – take a look at the events planned

TOMORROW – Laudato Si’ – volunteer prayer & chat, Tuesday 19 May @ 11 am
Five years after the publication of Pope Francis’ groundbreaking encyclical Laudato Si’, let’s come together online in prayer and reflection on caring for our common home. This online meeting will include a Bible reading, chance to reflect and share and a time of prayer together. Don’t forget to have a candle to light if you can.

NB ticket orders will close 1 hour before the start of the session in order to allow time for us to send you the link.

Vigil Mass for Ascension Thursday with Bishop John Arnold, Wed 20 May @ 6pm

All are welcome to join together in solidarity and prayer to celebrate a special Vigil Mass for Ascension Thursday during Laudato Si’ week. It will be streamed live from Salford Cathedral. We look forward to having you join us on 20 May at 6pm.

Motivating talk: Neil Thorns (CAFOD’s Head of Advocacy)  Thursday 21 May @ 11am

Join us online for an inspirational talk from CAFOD’s Head of Advocacy and find about the amazing people he meets in his work and how Laudato Si’ has affected him.

DATES FOR YOUR DIARY

Coronavirus in Latin America with Clare Dixon, Tue 26 May @ 11 am

Local volunteers in Zimbabwe & Nigeria responding quickly in emergencies:Thu 28 May @ 11am

Bookings for all of these via the website: 

A tribute to a highly-valued volunteer – RIP Sue Philippart

Susan Philippart

I am finding it difficult to find the right words to describe Sue Philippart – a parish volunteer, education volunteer, campaigner, school teacher and friend in the diocese of Menevia in Wales.

Some of you may know already, that Sue died in the early hours of Wednesday 25 March, following a serious fall – the very same day as her Mum’s (Gerry) funeral at Our Lady, Star of the Sea church in Mumbles, Swansea.

The very last message I had from Sue was on 4 March to let me know that her  “lovely Mum passed away suddenly but peacefully in her sleep on Sunday 23 February, so life has been in turmoil ever since. I know you totally understand as you’ve been through the same yourself.”

Sue at a CAFOD briefing in Swansea with her granddaughter

She went on to say that she was at Mass the week before Lent Fast Day with her father and sisters and a fellow parishioner, Sarah O’Kane

“did my Lent appeal beautifully. Sarah is a beautiful soul.”

Fundraising at Our Lady, Star of the Sea in Mumbles

Sue gave me details of her Mum’s funeral in her parish, Our Lady, Star of the Sea in Mumbles on Tuesday 9 March and that two priests Fr Michael and Fr Mansel Usher (her former parish priest) were con-celebrating the Requiem Mass.

And her last message to me was: “Donations in lieu of flowers are to go to CAFOD.  Would you mind putting my beautiful Mum, Gerardine Mary McNeff, in the Book of Remembrance please.  Lots of love and hugs, Sue xxx”

Tragically, Sue had suffered a fractured skull in the fall and was put into an induced coma in hospital in Cardiff. She had emergency surgery and a request for prayers went out to family, friends, colleagues, pupils, parishioners to pray for Sue to make a full recovery.  Sue was also remembered at our Mass in Romero House.

Sadly it was a few weeks later that  Fr Mansel broke the awful news that Sue had died peacefully in the early hours of the morning. He had been with her and her family.

“May she rest in peace. Amen.”

 

We can only do the work we do at CAFOD because of wonderful volunteers like you.  And Sue really was a volunteer in a million.

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

She was beautiful, intelligent, fun-loving, prayerful, reflective, caring, compassionate, supportive – a do-er who put her faith into practical action.

She oozed infectious enthusiasm with her winning smile and can-do attitude.

Mrs Philippart with some pupils after a CAFOD assembly

She was a gifted primary school teacher who will be sorely missed by her colleagues and pupils at St Joseph’s Cathedral School in Swansea where she raised awareness and inspired prayer and action for a more just world.

Share the journey walk from St Joseph’s school to St Joseph’s Cathedral – with Canon Benedict Koledoye (Dean)

She championed CAFOD’s core values: compassion, hope, dignity, solidarity, partnership, sustainability and stewardship with daily acts of kindness and expressions of solidarity and hope.

Sarah O’Kane, Fr Mansel Usher and Sue Philippart

Not only in fundraising activities, but Share the Journey walks in solidarity with refugees and migrants in the Year of Mercy and campaigning with her parish and school children to write powerful messages to the World Bank; her class drew their own sun power pictures to highlight the need for renewable energy for the world’s poorest people so that they can access vital services such as schools and health clinics.

Fairtrade campaign outside Sainsbury’s in Swansea

A talented teacher, Sue was part of the Swansea-Siavonga partnership and visited Zambia with the British Council’s Connecting Classrooms.

Sue with Sr Mary

It was a life-changing trip which also included a visit to a CAFOD project: the St Francis Intergrated Care programme in Zambia where she met Sr Mary Courtney – a religious sister of the Franciscan Missionary Sisters for Africa who was the programme co-ordinator. 

Sue was over the moon, and if it was possible to be more supportive of CAFOD, then she was.

Parishioners from OLSS with Geoff O’Donoghue and Fr Michael Apoghiran

CAFOD’s Operations Director, Geoff O’Donoghue, visited Our Lady, Star of the Sea parish and met with Sue and the wonderful group of committed and generous parishioners who support CAFOD’s work with prayer and fundraising. And he wrote to her after his trip to Mumbles to say:

“It was a great pleasure to meet Fr Michael, yourself and all the other supporters at Our Lady’s – it is very energizing to meet the levels of commitment and motivation that were so evident in your parish community and in the concern you have for others.”

Her fellow Education volunteer and good friend from OLSS, Sarah O’Kane sent us this:

“Sue was the CAFOD Parish Rep for Our Lady Star of the Sea in Mumbles and when I joined the Parish in October 2016 I asked if I could do anything to help her…well, as she used to say, the rest is history!

We became a good team, I was constantly inspired by her contagious enthusiasm for CAFOD  (due to which I also became, like Sue, a CAFOD School Volunteer.)

Sue cared deeply about justice, especially where children and education were concerned. She was always ready to go the extra mile, literally in fact, when Sue went to Zambia twice, on British Council exchange visits, she carved out time from an incredibly busy schedule to visit Sister Mary in a project supported by CAFOD. On her return home, Sue persuaded the Parish to earmark funds to continue to support Sister Mary’s Project.

We will all miss Sue’s huge smile, her warmth, her strong faith, her love of life and her wonderful enthusiasm.”

And a fellow Education volunteer in Menevia, Jane Stubbs, added:

I only knew Sue for a short time, but what an impression she made on me. I first met her on the train from Swansea to Cardiff for our CAFOD training. Sarah introduced me, and straight away it was like speaking to a long lost friend, her smile, warmth and enthusiasm for everything we talked about will always stay with me.  

It was a privilege to have known her.

And from Fr Mansel Usher:

During my time as parish priest of Our Lady Star of the Sea, Mumbles, Ms Sue Philippart, who has been a member of the parish all her life, became an invaluable supporter of a number of projects that were either already in existence or were new to the parish.

One of the projects already underway was the parish`s support for CAFOD. When I appealed for volunteers to help raise the profile of CAFOD`s activities both within the parish and within schools, Sue, along with Mrs Sarah O`Kane responded with tremendous enthusiasm.

The parish were already generous supporters of CAFOD but with the help of Sue and Sarah the level of support rose significantly. It was always a delight to work with Sue and Sarah. Any requests for help to promote events such as the Lenten Family Fast Appeals or the Harvest Appeals were always responded to with unconditional generosity.

Her “unconditional generosity” is something that I will sorely miss in our dear departed sister Sue. She is someone I knew I could totally depend upon, someone who would go out of her way to give everything to help support such a worthy cause which she totally believed in.

It is hard to believe Sue is no longer among us. In losing Sue I, like so many people, have lost a very dear friend, a beautiful person of deep, unwavering faith.”

Sue’s family have sent up a fundraising page in her memory with proceeds to CAFOD; she will live on in our work.  We are incredibly grateful to Sue’s father, Chris McNeff and to all her family for thinking of CAFOD at this awfully difficult time. She would be so proud of you all.

St Joseph’s Cathedral School, where Sue taught for many years, has produced a wonderful montage which we share here.

We will forever miss your radiant smile, your unfailing enthusiasm and your warm and loving friendship. Thank you Sue, from us all at CAFOD.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love.

But the greatest of these is love. (1 Cor 13)

Sue gave all of these in abundance. May she rest in eternal peace.

 

 

 

 

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

 

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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Campaign volunteers in Wales donated shoes for refugee art installation

Back in the middle of August hundreds of shoes were displayed on the square in front of and up the steps to Westminster Cathedral.  Why?  To demonstrate how many Catholics around the country were speaking out in support of Pope Francis’ refugee campaign: Share the Journey.

Two of our long-standing CAFOD Campaign volunteers: John Fellows (Cardiff) and Stella Westmacott (Menevia) each donated a pair of their own shoes to be part of the art installation which saw their shoes alongside 300 shoes sourced from refugees.

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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.