By Nathan Nye, Office and Campaigns Volunteer
On 1st May we were fortunate enough to meet Lemlem Berhe Tsegay , our partner from Ethiopia when she visited our base in Oakwood. The Benedictine Centre for Spirituality was full of parish, school and office volunteers enjoying a most frugal lunch of fresh bread, tuna, chicken, humus and fruit.
After lunch the 45 guests sat down to hear Lemlem, whose name fittingly means ‘green place’, talk about the water projects she has managed across northern Ethiopia with the support of CAFOD. Lemlem works for ADCS (The Adgirat Diocesan Catholic Secretariat) to bring water to the almost lunar landscapes of the most arid parts of Ethiopia. Their resources are limited and their task is great but with the participation of local communities, Lemlem and ADCS have installed proper toilet facilities at schools, water tanks in villages and irrigation for local farms.
Lemlem spoke about how local communities provided the labour to build their own toilet facilities and water channels by hand. Materials like sand were also provided by local communities for free. It was only the industrial products like cement and wooden beams that needed to be paid for. Lemlem thanked CAFOD for providing the funds for these other resources. Simple things like toilets at school raise the level of hygiene, which means children won’t miss school through illness or because of the embarrassment and discomfort of having to go to the toilet in the open.
Lemlem will be on the road giving talks in Manchester, Liverpool, Northampton and Nottingham. The final leg of her tour will be as part of a small delegation to hand in the Thirst for Change action cards at 10 Downing Street on 15th May. Over 36,000 actions cards have been collected so far, but you can still take part in the Thirst for Change campaign online until 14th May at http://www.cafod.org.uk/thirst
We would like to take this opportunity to thank all the supporters of CAFOD who have joined in the Thirst for Change campaign and who have fundraised this Lent. Thanks to your support CAFOD can continue to help partners like Lemlem to change the lives of so many for the better.