W4W challenge – have you signed up yet?

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Over 900 people across England & Wales have signed up to the Walk for Water Challenge this Lent. Are you ready to join them?

Provide fresh and clean water, shelter and food for vulnerable families overseas by walking, dancing, hopping, or skipping 10,000 steps for 40 days!

Walk for Water is the only Lent challenge you need: 10,000 steps a day – done your way. Every day. For 40 days. Could you use your exercise or outdoor time to join Abdella in solidarity and make a profound difference across the world? Go the distance this Lent and help to end water poverty.

You don’t have to get tied in a knot about how to do it: whether you hop it, skip it, slide it, run it, jump it, dance it, stamp it, stomp it. It doesn’t matter how you do it, just as long as you put your heart and soul into it!

Pauline (front) and parishioners from English Martyrs parish in Danbury

Lots of individuals and parish volunteers from around the Brentwood Diocese have signed up. Pauline, from English Martyrs in Danbury, is taking part along with her fellow members of the Justice and Peace group. Pauline is no stranger to long walks, last year she walked the St Peter’s Way pilgrimage route for CAFOD’s Summer of Hope campaign. But you don’t need to be a particularly strong walker, you can make up the steps in other ways. Just do what you can. If you are unable to get out at the moment, then join us is in solidarity and please pray for CAFOD’s work. .

Sign up now, raise money and do something different to fight water poverty this Lent

Or join us for our Big Walk for Water on Saturday 20 February at 2 pm, walking alongside Abdella as part of our nationwide virtual event. Could you encourage others to walk too? Your friends, parishioners or family? Click the above link or get in touch with us for more details.

Walk for Water: My experience in Tanzania opened my eyes to a great social injustice

Ronnie Bartlett is a member of the Justice and Peace Group at the Blessed Sacrament parish in Chelmsford. Here she recalls how living in Tanzania taught her about the local community’s struggle to access clean water and how this experience has inspired her to take up the Walk for Water challenge.

Between 1997 and 1999, I lived and worked in a remote part of Tanzania doing
voluntary work for VSO. I lived in a concrete house which had neither running water
or electricity even though I had light fittings and a tap in my kitchen.

Local girls would ask Ronnie if they could use the water from her tap

I occasionally had a couple of hours of electric light in the evening, when the college turned on the generator to grind the corn; this often coincided on an evening I had decided to go out! Electricity, I realised then, was a luxury.

Water on the other hand, is essential. Once a day for about an hour, reddish brown water would sluggishly come out of my tap. With help from my housegirl (a necessity), we would fill 2 large buckets with this ‘water’. The water would then be left for the sediment to settle and then it would need to be boiled.

Once it had been boiled and cooled, it would then have to be poured into a water filter where it would filter out the finer particles and could be left there for my use. Only then, it would be safe to drink.

A shower involved me chucking jugs of either hot or cold water down my back in the bathroom where again, a shower head had been installed almost seemingly to taunt me as water never came out of that. To this day, I love a shower and I’m thankful I don’t have to make a decision whether to risk cold water or to wait for at least half an hour to heat enough water to bathe with.

Ronnie (right) with Elizabeth, her favourite market trader who always offered her fair prices

I was lucky because I didn’t have to walk any distance with a heavy bucket on my head
to get water.

To understand what this means, fill a bucket up with water and carry it for 50 metres or so – then mentally multiply that distance by any number up tp 10 and you will have an understanding of what fetching water means. Remember 1 litre of water equals 1KG.

Too many people in the world, still do not have access to clean drinking water and have to walk miles to fetch it. To me, this is the biggest of social injustices in the world – water is a universal human right! Please support this cause, either by donating to CAFOD directly or going to my JustGiving page through the link below.

Read about CAFOD’s Lent appeal and Abdella’s walk for water in Ethiopia

Read more about CAFOD’s Walk for Water challenge

Ronnie (right) and her daughter Katherine have been walking for water throughout Lent this year

If you’d like to sponsor Ronnie and her family on the Walk for Water challenge, go to https://walk.cafod.org.uk/fundraising/walk-for-water2756

Sports for social change: how one Essex teenager is using his love of sports to change the world this Lent

A young student from Rainham is doing the Walk for Water challenge through a number of sporting activities over Lent to fundraise for our sisters and brothers overseas who ​ do not have readily available clean water.

Alex Ugoh (18) from Rainham

Inspirational student, Alex Ugoh, 18, has committed to doing 10,000 steps-worth of ​energy-inducing activities – from basketball, football, rugby, tennis, dancing and even mowing the lawn – every day during Lent, to fundraise for the estimated 2.2 billion people globally who do not have safe drinking water facilities.

“As someone who possesses huge aspirations to create meaningful change, the opportunity to highlight the importance of ending water poverty is a mission I am truly blessed to champion,” explained Alex, who has recently started studying Political Economy at King’s College London.

“So for Lent, I will be combining my love for sports with my passion for making sure that water access for all is something that will be achieved soon.”

Alex hopes his efforts will help the charity achieve its ambition of logging enough steps to collectively walk a distance equivalent to the moon and back by Easter Sunday, (4th April).

“My favourite moment so far has definitely been walking and taking in the incredible nature that my hometown has to offer,” Alex explained.

From tennis to basketball to rugby to football. Alex does them all.

“As someone who possesses huge aspirations to create meaningful change, the opportunity to highlight the importance of ending water poverty is a mission I am truly blessed to champion,”

“Sharing pictures of myself on my walks to my Instagram page has really proved that young people love supporting each other and has also led to some amazing conversations surrounding sustainable development.”

The money raised from the ‘Walk for Water’ challenge will support local experts and communities to find the best solutions in each place where the charity works.

“Whether it’s a well, piped system or rain harvesting, we will be setting up local water committees, allowing communities to take ownership and keep the water flowing,” added Chris Driscoll, CAFOD’s local representative in Essex.

“We would like to say a massive thank you to Alex for his efforts. We know that every step taken over Lent’s 40 days has the power to truly transform lives.”

You can donate to Alex’s challenge here: https://walk.cafod.org.uk/fundraising/alexs-walk-for-water

How do we protect our common home and live fuller lives? Live simply.

Can livesimply help Catholic communities to protect our Common Home, all while living more fully? Join us for a webinar on Tuesday 9 March at 11am to discuss how.

85 communities have received livesimply awards and there are a similar number of livesimply communities actively working on the award in spite of the pandemic.

St Joseph’s parish in Upminster recently received the Live Simply Award and has been finding new ways to live out the message of living simply in spite of the pandemic. They join Brentwood Cathedral, Our Lady & St Patrick in Walthamstow and the Knights of St Columba in Southend in having achieved the award. Christ the Eternal High Priest in Gidea Park are actively working towards it as are some schools in the diocese.

The Live Simply Award can help to build parish and school communities

If you are a parish, school or group and are interested in finding out about the Live Simply Award join our webinar on Tuesday 09 March at 11am. Coordinator Maria Elena Arana, Fr Rob Esdaile from livesimply parish Our Lady of Lourdes Thames Ditton, and livesimply Award assessor Ellen Teague, talk about how your parish or school could join us.  Register your place here