Connect with CAFOD’s work online this Harvest Fast Day

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Nicanora and her family in Bolivia

Over the last few weeks, parishioners from the Diocese of Lancaster have gathered together to hear about Harvest Fast Day. Parishioners across the diocese had the opportunity to attend three different Harvest Fast Day events. In Carlisle the CAFOD group were delighted to receive Andres Gomez de la Torre, from CAFOD’s International Development Group, as he shared his experiences.

Volunteers in the Diocese of Lancaster live thousands of miles from Bolivia. This Harvest Fast Day you have the chance to hear about our Harvest appeal, all from your own home!

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Nikki Evans in Bolivia 

On 7th October you are invited to join CAFOD online for your chance to hear from Nikki Evans, Programme Officer for Bolivia. You can find out about CAFOD’s work in Bolivia and the opportunity to ask any questions you might have about our projects and the communities we work with.

Joining an online talk is easy. Simply choose from the lunchtime and evening talks and register using your email address.

If you have any questions please contact Eleanor at eheans-glogowska@cafod.org.uk or call 0207 095 5332.

Lent Fast Day Webinar

Join us online and learn more about CAFOD’s work in Uganda!

This  Lent Fast Day, Friday 19 February, from 1:30 – 2:30pm, you are invited to join a webinar  to hear how your support has made a difference in the lives of real people.

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Photo: CAFOD/David Mutua

This Lent you will hear all about how you can ‘turn on the taps’ for communities in Uganda. In this webinar Catherine Ogolla, our country representative for Kenya and Uganda, and her team will share stories of communities in North East Uganda.

This Lent your donations with be matched by the UK government up to the value of £3 million so we can make double the difference.

Why join?

Webinars with CAFOD are an amazing way to visit the countries we work in. You can hear from the people working on the ground who bring the projects you support to life. It’s not just about listening, you will also have the opportunity to ask our Uganda team questions and hear what other CAFOD supporters think too.

How does it work?

Taking part in a webinar is easy. All you need to do to is click on the link below and register with your name and email. You will then receive a confirmation email with a link you can use to join the webinar. In order to listen you will need either speakers or headphones.

Register now>>

Questions?

If you’d like to join, but you aren’t sure how, email Elly on eheans-glogowska@cafod.org.uk or call 0207 095 5332.

We rise by lifting others

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The travellers prepare to leave the UK fro Zimbabwe

As life continues to slip by and the moments I thought would last forever become just mere photographs on the wall, it’s important for me to look in the mirror and ask myself how I became the person I am. Earlier this year I embarked on a journey – one which will always be more than a moment and a photograph on the wall, a journey which changed my life.

In January 2015 I took to the skies and flew across the ocean to the landlocked country of Zimbabwe located in Southern Africa. Whilst over there I visited many communities and met some awe inspiring women and men, but above all there is one community that stood out for me. It is a community that I look back on whenever I find myself in situations when I want to quit, to give up, to wave my little white flag and surrender to that voice inside your head telling you to do so.

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Kieron and Lizize with two boys involved with Mashambanzou

The community I am referring to is Mashambanzou Care Trust – a CAFOD partner located just outside the capital Harare. At Mashambanzou Care Trust, they provide care and support for people living with HIV, they empower communities to deal with HIV and AIDs, and they seek to eliminate the stigma and discrimination which surrounds HIV. For me personally this was a challenge. We have seen the adverts and watched TV shows such as Comic Relief that tell us all about the global issue of HIV and AIDS. Having spent some time with them, I can’t even think of a word that covers the insanely incredible work they do, day in day out, to try to improve the quality of life for their brothers and sisters of this world who are affected and living with HIV and AIDS. They support them and their families and extend an arm to the orphaned and vulnerable.

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Resting in between playtimes

The word ‘Mashambanzou’ in fact comes from one of the languages spoken in Zimbabwe, which is Shona. It is a word symbolising the early hours of dawn when elephants take their morning bath. The Care Trust has chosen this name as it speaks poignantly of new beginnings which is exactly what they offer, no matter what the background of those they support. There is no stigma here. It’s a breath of fresh air.

IMG_2648I saw their ‘Putting Children First’ programme, which has been active since April 2011. From this Mashambanzou has set up numerous Child Protection Clubs across highly densely populated areas around Harare. These clubs are supported by local volunteers and are child-led, with the aim of empowering children. The clubs meet weekly to discuss children’s rights. They learn about their rights through songs and poems and they make up dramas about issues related to HIV and AIDS, highlighting the difficulties children and adults face. When producing the dramas, they are able to open up, explore and act out issues. It was truly inspiring to witness the next generation in Zimbabwe wanting to make a difference. Their drive and focus was inspiring.

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Glenda, responsible for the ‘Putting Children First’ programme at Mashambanzou

One particular woman who had that passion to make a difference was Glenda Mudzikitiri. Responsible for the ‘Putting Children First’ programme at Mashambanzou, Glenda was a true inspiration for me. When asked about the programme Glenda said: “This project empowers the children. It empowers them not just to get hand outs but to know what they can give out. Whether it’s through the clubs, the camps, the schools, we try to bring out what they have so they can empower themselves and others.”

Those at Mashambanzou have set a standard of dedication to try and make Zimbabwe the country it once was. It may only seem like a stone being thrown into a lake, but the ripples it is producing will, I believe, in time, change the way the world perceives Zimbabwe. My hope is that theirs will be a story that inspires many. The next generation are the key and with CAFOD’s support they have the means and resources to make a real difference. But it doesn’t end here.

I saw that your donations are making the world a better place – one which we can all enjoy and share. I long for a time when those moments of hope and happiness are an everyday reality for all. I know CAFOD will always strive to make the world a better place, and I invite you to join me and CAFOD in creating this reality of hope for all.

By Kieron Ainsworth