CAFOD director, Chris Bain ‘turned on the taps’ in Birmingham last week as he launched our Lent Appeal to a gathering of supporters.
Chris opened by sharing his personal experiences, he is currently in the middle of his twelfth Lent Day appeal and the charity as a whole has now held 56 Lent Fast Days. I was really interested to learn that the first Lent Day Appeal began in 1960 in a time of austerity. The first appeal exceeded all expectations and it became an annual event where support has continued to grow.
Chris told the story of 14-year-old Proscovia from Northern Uganda. As this is my first Lent Fast Day, I was inspired by Proscovia’s story and the work CAFOD has already done in the community. Proscovia had to leave school to collect water for the family, whilst her mum was out earning money to buy food. One in four people in Uganda do not have access to safe water.
CAFOD partners were able to repair the water pump in Proscovia’s village and the change in Proscovia’s life came overnight – the pump by her home, allowed the family to get the water when they needed it. She had time for school and could pursue her goal of becoming an engineer. CAFOD partners also taught Proscovia’s mother how to maintain the pump, so if it broke in the future she, or anyone else nearby could then fix it for themselves.
After his talk, Chris opened up the floor for questions.
Kris Pears asked about CAFOD’s work to allow communities to empower themselves:
Chris responded: “It is an issue of power versus poverty. CAFOD’s work to support the church and the community politically empowers them to require their own leaders to spend the budget differently and take action against poverty. Part of the Lent Fast Day Appeal goes towards training in order to maintain the [water] pumps so they can take power in their own communities.”
We are calling all our supporters to get involved this Lent Fast Day to help us to ‘turn on the taps’, in the most remote areas.
This work is critical – right now, 783 million people are living without access to clean water. 2.5 billion lack something as basic as a toilet and sewage system to flush away their waste. It is also estimated that women and girls spend 140 million hours a day collecting water, which means time away from work, school or playing with friends.
The money raised will enable the taps to be turned on in villages across the world by repairing or providing water pumps and training in order to maintain them. It will also fund hygiene programmes, education in sanitation and the building of latrines.
In an added boost, all donations to CAFOD’s Lent Fast Day Appeal will be doubled by the UK government’s Department for International Development up until May. Any matched funds from the UK Government will enable access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene programmes to over 300,000 people in Uganda, Zimbabwe and the Democratic Republic of Congo.