Carlisle thirsts for change!

“Thirst for Change” Day at New Waterton Hall, Carlisle


See the film clip the young people from St Augustine’s Parish, Carlisle,put together on this Thirst for Change Day at

Over 30 parishioners from the Carlisle area, gathered on Saturday 4th Febraury at the New Waterton Hall to hear why CAFOD is concentrating on water poverty during Lent and for its latest campaign.

It was great to see so many young people there  – thanks especially to the Youth Group and their leaders from St Augustine’s Parish.  The young and not so young gathered for a truly inspirational few hours.

The day started in prayer and reflection, followed by a talk from our key note speaker, Katy Harris, CAFOD’s Campaign Communication Manager. Katy related her experiences of Zambia and Zimbabwe where she witnessed first hand how the lack of water has a devastating effect on peoples’ lives.

Katy Harris of CAFOD tackles the issue of Water Poverty

Water is something we all take for granted. But for the 884 million people who don’t have access to clean water and safe sanitation, getting the next bucket of water is a constant worry.

When we go home, some of us will probably walk through the front door, put the kettle on and make a cup of tea. After dinner, we might wash up and then have a steaming hot bath. Yet for one in eight people around the world, finding clean water is a daily struggle. It might take up most of their day just to walk to the water source. And for some of the world’s poorest people, that water might then prove deadly – to themselves, and their families.

The young people from St Augustine's at their workshop

We heard Esther’s story. Katy shared, “When the tap in her village stops flowing, for weeks at a time, she has to draw untreated water from the river – which she knows might make her family sick. Her children have had dysentery and Ricy, her husband, nearly died from cholera.”

Esther isn’t alone. Millions of the world’s poorest men and women are forced to live in areas that are prone to drought, while others might live in villages where the water supply doesn’t meet the demand, or where there is a lack of infrastructure – like water pipes – to bring the water to the people.

 The reality of the situation:

  • Every 20 seconds a child dies because of dirty water
  • 884 million people don’t have access to clean drinking water.
  • 2.6 billion lack something as basic as a toilet and a sewage system to flush away their waste.

It was hard to grasp the full scale of the problem, but Katy encouraged us by quoting Mother Teresa who says, “We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.”

Bernadette highlights ways that the parish community can make a difference

After Katy’s talk, and either side of a quick lunch, Bernadette McIntosh led a parish workshop on  ‘Lent 2012 Give it up for water!’ and Vicky Ahmed, ran a youth workshop, using CAFOD resources to inspire the young people.  Both workshops galvanised us as a community to be able to continue to give act and pray, especially this Lent , with CAFOD, in support of projects that provide clean water.

The young people discuss the challenges

......and take action

Many appreciated the knowledge, enthusiasm and expertise offered by our visiting CAFOD staff.  The feedback comments left behind reflected the quality of the day:

Good opportunity for audience participation, as well as such good speakers

Excellent speakers

Inspiring and very well presented

The day concluded with a closing reflection, based around the words of St Francis of Assisi. We went away truly energised to pray this Lent, in solidarity with those who do not have access to clean water,  that waters may flow and injustice may be washed away.

Thank you to all for your support.

For additional Thirst for Change Campaign resources which you can readily download, click here

And for more support with Lent Fast Day, have a look here

Alternatively, if you’d like hard copies of any of these resources, contact Patrick or Rosa at the CAFOD Lancaster office on tel no 01772 733310 or email

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