Sister Clara inspires CAFOD volunteers this Harvest
Sister Clara, from the Sacred Heart order, raised the spirits of nearly sixty people when she addressed an information meeting at the Cockfosters Regional Office. Speaking with great warmth and clarity, she explained the difference that CAFOD had made to the lives of thousands of poor people in her home country, Zambia.
At a time time of great need, when challenged by the calamities of the AIDS epidemic and rapid climate change, her sisters had tended the sick and dying. In the early 1990s, and with CAFOD”s help, they built a community school for orphans and other vulnerable children which had enabled them to master practical skills to support themselves, and their families, and continue their education. With the introduction of life-saving retroviral drugs, CAFOD was continuing to support projects which restored to people with the disease, self esteem and confidence through training in skills and know how. They had won a livelihood and were being empowered, thanks to the generosity of Catholics in England and Wales, through CAFOD.
The Church in Zambia, rooted in the lives of the poor, had been the first major voice to raise alarm about climate change. For decades before 2003 the vital rains came to Zambian farmers precisely on October 24 every year. Since then there has been no pattern in the timing or the quantity of the rain, and last year the late arrival of floods had ruined the harvest. With CAFOD’s help Zambian farmers were switching from growing maize to growing pumpkins, which were better suited to the new conditions.
Sister Clara said that her order had a record of tackling problems that others would not. They had been first to provide schools for girls in Zambia in the 1950s. Then they had gone against the mindset of the times by opening schools for children with special needs. With the help of CAFOD they were giving these people, too, livelihoods and confidence in the future.
The inspirational account given by Sister Clara, and the great warmth of her gratitude to the CAFOD volunteers, who made up nearly all of her audience, was the perfect rallying call as the Harvest Family Fast Day, on October 5th, becomes the focus. If any further encouragement was needed Tony Sheen, our Community Participation Co-ordinator, told the volunteers that the magnificent sum of £4.274,million was being used at that very time to bring relief to people whose lives were in jeopardy because of the typhoon in the Philippines and the floods in Kerala. CAFOD was extending not hand outs, but a helping hand to people who had shown, and would show, that they could overcome devastating problems and assert their strengths and dignity. Sr Clara’s words reminded all present what a privilege it was to help in their victory over adversities.
Find out how you can support CAFOD this Harvest here