In support of refugees at home & overseas

On Monday 8 May Brentwood Cathedral Justice & Peace group organised a talk and discussion on how we can support refugees in our own communities and overseas. To provide an international development perspective, CAFOD’s World News Officer, Laura Ouseley, spoke about our work with refugees in Greece, Lebanon and Jordan.

Over 50 people from across the Brentwood Diocese attended to explore ways in which our parish and local communities can help make a difference to the lives of refugees.

Among the items discussed were suggestions for ways in which we can befriend refugees, offering temporary accommodation, how to support CAFOD’s refugee work and that of other charities in the UK, and the idea of sponsoring a family to live in the UK as part of the UK Government Community Sponsorship Scheme. More details on these ideas can be found here

It is hoped that the meeting is a catalyst for action. If you are interested in being part of a working group to take this initiative forward, or if you have any other ideas on how we can help refugees please contact Brenda Underwood from the Brentwood Cathedral Justice & Peace group at brendaund@gmail.com

Local Wickford student travels to parliament to ask MPs important questions before the general election

 

CAFOD supporter Kiera Harman, 17, travelled from Wickford to Westminster to speak with MPs in Parliament to ensure the interests of the world’s poorest people will be kept in mind during the upcoming general election.

On Monday 24 April, sixty supporters of CAFOD travelled from across the country to meet with MPs from different political parties at Speaker’s House in Parliament. Kiera Harman met with the politicians to speak about maintaining commitments to supporting people living in poverty through UK aid and action to tackle climate change.

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Young Leaders at Parliament showing their support for CAFOD’s new campaign

Speaking at the event, Kiera said: “It’s important to be here to talk to MPs so we can get them to understand the things that matter to us. I study government and politics at A-level and I’m really interested in politics, so this is a good opportunity to get more connected. I also want to ask my MP what he is doing about climate change. CAFOD is doing a lot of work in this area but I want to know what my MP’s party is doing.”

Commons Speaker the Rt Hon John Bercow MP told the reception:

“For my part, I always think the greatest moral challenge of our times is to try to do something about the gross crisis and disfiguring scar of global poverty. The fact that 1,000 million people around the world exist on less than a dollar a day and very large numbers of people besides exist on only moderately more than that is, frankly, a source not only of anxiety but of real shame to us all.”

Kiera is part of CAFOD’s Young Leadership programme, which offers training to help young campaigners become leaders in their local and global communities. Also at the Parliamentary reception were CAFOD ‘MP Correspondents’, supporters who write to MPs on international development issues such as the impact of climate change and trade practices.

CAFOD is encouraging Catholics to ask election candidates to support UK commitments on tackling poverty overseas and climate change, as well as working to ensure that Britain remains an outward-looking and welcoming nation.

Neil Thorns, CAFOD’s Director of Advocacy, said:

“It is so great to see local constituents raising their voices before the general election and making their local political representatives aware of issues that are important to them.

“Pope Francis himself warns that people living in poverty can often be an ‘afterthought’ in political discussions and that’s why it’s so important that we remind candidates of the need to remain an outward-looking nation – one that cares for the interests of people in the world’s poorest communities.

“This is why the commitment to maintaining UK support for overseas aid is crucial for saving lives and pulling people out of poverty.”

Kiera added she feels it’s important people get to grips with the details of what their parliamentary candidates are proposing. “I would encourage other people to make sure they read party manifestos, so they’re aware of the issues that will affect them,” she said.

St Peter’s school creates a shimmering sea of blues and greens

St. Peter’s Primary School, Romford, has raised over £400 for CAFOD’s Lent fundraising campaign by encouraging pupils to dress up in sea themed colours and holding a coffee morning.

Inspired by the story of Florence, a Zambian widow who CAFOD supported by training her in fish farming, the whole school took part in the aquatic themed day.  Each child paid £1 and wore colours of the sea, whilst adults raised money through attending a spring coffee morning.

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St Peter’s pupils glistening in their blues and greens

Headteacher at St. Peter’s, Mrs Jenny Waterfield, said:

“The whole school looked like a ‘sea’ of fish, glistening and shimmering in their blues and greens.  I was very proud that the children recognised that giving money to CAFOD was part of our observance of almsgiving during this season of Lent.”

This Lent, CAFOD is working with communities in Zambia in Southern Africa. It is estimated that over half of Zambians live below the poverty line. This means that many families do not have enough money to meet basic needs such as food, housing and clothing.

CAFOD’s partners in Zambia provide training in fish farming, beekeeping and crop farming as well as helping individuals within communities develop business skills so those most in need understand how to get a better price for their goods, market them and even set up business partnerships.

By training individuals in the community, they will be able to share their new knowledge and empower the whole community. The money raised by St. Peter’s Primary School will mean that CAFOD’s partners will be able to continue to support projects around the world.