On Thursday 9 May, CAFOD invited supporters to an evening to share stories of change. This was an opportunity to acknowledge the work supporters have been doing for CAFOD in Westminster, locally as well as overseas.
CAFOD is not the people who work for it full time, said Tom O’Connor, director of communities & supporters. “CAFOD is the Catholic community and others beyond that community that have expressed their faith by showing compassion and concern”.
During the evening, about 150 people heard inspirational stories on lives being saved and changed every day. Kelechi Emeh, CAFOD Programme officer in Nigeria, spoke in details about the work CAFOD has been doing in his country since the late1960’s.
Kelechi said that “CAFOD has implemented programmes on water, health care, justice, peace building, and other campaigns supporting women to earn a living.” He relayed to the attendees a message from Mrs Naomi Eno who has been a CAFOD partner overseas: “Please send my greetings and all my appreciation to our supporters. I will continue to pray for them”.
In addition to development and humanitarian work, CAFOD also does advocacy and campaigning work to try and tackle the root causes of poverty. Anne Lindsay from the CAFOD policy team shared some highlights of previous campaigns and spoke of the current Hungry for Change campaign. She explained that CAFOD’s advocacy work is “to challenge unjust policies and systems that trap people in poverty”. She added that this concept of advocacy for change fits very closely with Catholic social teaching” especially when we know that development work and advocacy go hand in hand. CAFOD diocesan managers Eileen Hayes and Tony Sheen, respectively from Southwark and Westminster, thanked volunteers for spreading the overseas work of the organisation within their parish communities through activities such as liturgies, parish gardens, concerts, or summer fairs. One of the many events Eileen and Tony invited everyone is the chance to become a powerful voice of change, make a difference and build a fairer food system by taking part in the G8 Rally planned for 8 June. www.cafod.org.uk/g8rally
Clare Dixon, one of CAFOD’s most experienced members of staff, shared a series of photographs and spoke about the diocese of Quiché in the North-western highlands of Guatemala, the land of indigenous Mayan Indians. She gave examples of how CAFOD’s work reaches disadvantaged communities in Latin America, a place with “the biggest gap between the extremely wealthy and the extremely poor of any continent in the world”. According to Clare, “the option that the Church in Latin America has made and the option that CAFOD makes is that option for the poor and the most disadvantaged”.
In the spirit of partnership, the attendees closed the evening with a prayer to celebrate all the energy given to CAFOD and the time taken to understand and support the organisation’s work. Communities around the world through this evening are saying thank you to wonderful and inspired and invigorated supporters for all they have done over the years as an expression of their faith.
Please join CAFOD in making a difference by helping people overcome poverty and injustice:
1) Add your voice to thousands of fellow campaigners as we demand that the G8 leaders unite to end global hunger. Join us for the G8 Rally on 8 June. This is a chance to speak up for a fairer food system and an opportunity to stop 1 in 8 people going hungry.You can sign up at www.cafod.org.uk/g8rally.
2) Please join the Connect2 Programme, in which your parish or school could foster links and live in solidarity with another community in the developing world. It’s an avenue to establish a connection with CAFOD partner communities overseas. More information at www.cafod.org.uk/connect2
Slideshow from the evening