On Tuesday, 2nd June, Parishioners from St Peter’s Parish, Bartley Green gathered to hear stories of CAFOD’s projects in Zimbabwe. Lizzie Wignall, who is working as a Chaplaincy assistant and CAFOD volunteer, spent three weeks in Zimbabwe in January as part of her Step into the Gap Year, and shared experiences of CAFOD’s work around HIV and AIDS, water, sanitation and hygiene and income and livelihoods.
Moving accounts of CAFOD’s Putting Children First scheme were shared. This scheme provides access to education, health, social and legal services for impoverished and vulnerable children. Reports of the impact of climate change were also shared.
This is Mpofu’s story. Mpofu is 55 years old, has six children and lives in Zuka village, Binga, Zimbabwe. He is a maize farmer and tells us:
‘There have been changes in terms of times of rainfall and changes in amount of rain. Now there are few rains. The maize that we are producing needs more rain.’
CAFOD have helped trained Mpofu and other farmers in conservation farming techniques, such as using leaf litter as mulch, to conserve moisture and mitigate against climate change. This scheme has benefited 17, 000 households and 102, 000 people. Mpofu with his wife and son in their maize fields The Parishioners were keen to engage in CAFOD’s One Climate One World campaign. Climate change is the biggest threat to alleviating poverty that exists today. Parishioners added to hearts all the things they’d like to protect against climate change. Replies included tackling climate change for the love of… ‘…clean fresh air’ ‘…those at home and overseas- our neighbours’ ‘…less privileged children’ Parishioners also wrote green pledge cards of actions they’ll take in their daily lives to tackle climate change including… ‘…turning off taps whilst brushing teeth’ ‘…using my bike even more’ ‘…using public transport’ ‘…switching appliances off’
Parishioners with their climate change hearts and pledges which will be presented to local MP Gisela on 17th June at the Climate Coalition climate change lobby in London to show St Peter’s commitment to tackling climate change
The evening closed in prayer and reflection for all those who have suffered and who are continuing to suffer in Nepal following the recent earthquakes. Parishioners enjoyed tea and cake and raised an extremely generous £300 for the emergency Nepal earthquake appeal. However, it didn’t stop there. Tea and cake following Mass on the Sunday raised a further £50. I would like to thank all who attended for standing in solidarity with those in Zimbabwe and for giving them a voice and for their very generous support of CAFOD’s emergency appeal. By Lizzie Wignall