International Day of Families

15th of May is International Day of Families. We hear on the news about war, persecution, natural disaster and poverty which force millions of people from their homes. We hear statistics and data. However, these people are not numbers – they also have a story. One of the first lessons when you write a story in journalism is to try to bring the human element. To tell the story, people usually do not relate to others by seeing statistics, but by listening their stories.

Everyone has their own story with their family, we have funny, sad, happy stories. So, today we want to share with you one of million stories about a particular family. This is Khawle’s family – they traveled from their home in Syria, but not all of the family went with her. In fact, they had problems during their trip because her 11-year-old daughter was beaten so badly by armed men that she could not walk by herself for days.


Dario Mitidieri – ‘Lost Family Protraits’

When asked about this portrait of her family, Khawle says, “A photograph speaks of family happiness, everyone smiling together. This photograph is full of tears.”

‘Lost Family Portraits’ is a collaboration between CAFOD, the creative agency M&C Saatchi, and photographer Dario Mitidieri. Studio-style portraits were made of families whose lives were shattered as they fled the conflict, with empty chairs symbolising the loved ones they had to leave behind. Each photograph reveals the desperate choices families were forced to make to reach safety.

“A photograph speaks of family happiness, everyone smiling together. This photograph is full of tears.”

Small actions start the change. That is why with the campaign ‘Share the journey‘ is a way to relate to those who are traveling from one place to another due war, persecution, natural disaster and poverty. So, remember that you can take action and be part of the campaign by walking and put it in the totaliser.

Together, we can make the change and stand in solidarity with refugees, migrants and people on the move.

Written by Estefanía González



OLSE parish recognised for commitment to living simply


Members of a Catholic parish in Fulwood have recently been rewarded for their efforts to ‘care for their common home’ as they received the livesimply award from  CAFOD.

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Parishioners from Our Lady and St Edward’s parish, Fulwood, have spent the last two years making tangible changes within their parish to live simply, sustainably and in solidarity with people in poverty.

In January, their hard work paid off and they received their award at a ceremony attended by the parish priest, Canon Bob Horn, members of the parish CAFOD group and two external assessors.

The church community came together to get involved in many ways: hosting an environmental family quiz night to illustrate how easy it is to go green, working imaginatively to ‘upcycle’ rubbish into art, and working to sell Fairtrade goods within the parish.  The group also organised meetings with their local MP and Minister of Security, Ben Wallace, to highlight their concerns at Government level.

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Two members of the parish at a soup lunch for CAFOD

The parish are long-time supporters of CAFOD, and have had an additional partnership with Kalomo, a town in Southern Zambia, who they have supported for more than twenty years.  Hearing about the impact of climate change on the lives of the overseas community during a visit from a Zambian nun only inspired the parishioners further.

Stephen Garsed, a member of the CAFOD group at Our Lady and St Edward’s, said: “The award is a recognition of the progress made, and we see it as a milestone, not an end. This has been a true community effort which has seen the whole parish focus on environmental stewardship and social justice, and we aim to promote the importance of caring for our common home.  This has been a grassroots project and we believe that it is so important to be a voice of people living in poverty by campaigning and showing solidarity.

“We hope that this award will be an inspiration to other parishes to embark on their own livesimply journey.”

CAFOD’s local representative in Fulwood, Patrick Gardner, added: “It’s brilliant to see Our Lady and St Edward’s parish being recognised with the livesimply award.

“By living simply, sustainably, and in solidarity with people living in poverty, parishioners are demonstrating their compassion for our global neighbours. It’s a fantastic achievement and just the start of a wonderful journey.”

Find out more about CAFOD’s livesimply award


Parishioners in Lancaster share Brazilian families’ joy after campaign success

Thanks to the support of parishioners from across the Diocese of Lancaster who were amongst the 4,000 people to support a CAFOD petition, over 1,000 people in São Paulo will spend this Christmas safe in the knowledge that they no longer face eviction from their home.

#FicaMauá – Let them stay

In September 2017, CAFOD launched a campaign to halt the eviction of around 1,000 people living in the abandoned hotel in the centre of São Paulo, Brazil.

The Mauá Building in the centre of São Paulo stood empty for 17 years until 2007, when 237 working families moved in.  They lovingly renovated the building and for the last ten years have called it home.  The building has been home to a thriving community, providing a social use and revitalising an otherwise derelict area in the city centre.

Ever since they moved in, the families have been trying to win the legal rights to their home, which Brazilian law allows, asking that the authorities acquire the building and convert it into social housing for low-income families.

In a landmark case, after ongoing campaigning by the families, public authorities have agreed to purchase the building for around £4.6 million (20 million reais), allowing for it to be converted into social housing.

Your actions helped to bring about change

It is thanks to your support that the fear and uncertainty of losing their homes is no longer a reality for the families living in the Mauá community.

Neti de Araújo’s, a leader in the Mauá community, said:  “I want to thank each and every one of you for your support. I am very happy knowing there are people like you, our friends and companions.

“After so much struggle and sacrifice, ten years of ups and downs, it is finally feasible; we have persuaded the owners of the need for families to live here. The struggle will continue! Thank you!”

CAFOD representative in Lancaster, Patrick Gardner, added: “The way that parishioners from Lancaster have rallied together to prevent this injustice, where over 1,000 people were threatened with being left on the streets this Christmas, has been astounding.

“We are so thankful that so many people in the diocese have acted: spreading the word, signing the petition and even standing in solidarity with the community by photographing themselves with a #ficamaua sign.

“Your prayers and messages of solidarity have given the families strength and hope at this difficult time.”

The fight continues

CAFOD will continue to support stand in solidarity and pray for the families in their struggle for a safe and permanent home.

Find out more about how you can directly support families in Brazil