Last Sunday marked Mother’s day; today marks International Women’s Day. Both are time for celebration and reflection. I talked to Julia Hood and Elizabeth Wignall, CAFOD representatives in the Birmingham Diocese, to ask them about how the Lent appeal is going to change women’s lives all over the world.
Since 1911, International Women’s Day has become a worldwide celebration where we are called to reflect on progress made, celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women but also, call for further change.
Find out more about International Women’s Day
It is estimated that women and girls around the world spend 125 million hours a day collecting water, which means time away from work, school or playing with friends. This year, CAFOD’s Lent Appeal is focused on giving over 300,000 people access to clean and safe water.
Julia Hood, who has worked for CAFOD for 18 years said:
“I’ve visited communities overseas and seen the impact of lack of safe water has on the lives of women and girls who often travel huge distances to collect and carry water and miss out on an education. Being able to access clean water locally makes a huge difference to their lives and gives them the opportunity to go to school and have options in the future.”
Last year, Elizabeth Wignall undertook Step into the Gap with CAFOD and has been working as a CPC since September added:
“Clean water transforms communities, unlocking the potential of women, girls and children. Last Year, I visited a rural community in Zimbabwe with CAFOD Step into the Gap and experienced this transformation.
“As one villager told us: “the children now have time to be children instead of going with their Mums to collect water.”
Find out more about volunteering with CAFOD.
This was the case for 15 year-old Guti, from Uganda. She nearly dropped out of school because there was no clean, safe water and had to walk to the river for water to drink or to wash.
CAFOD partners were able to repair the water pump near Guti’s school, provided a portable sink and soap for handwashing, and trained teachers to help pupils learn good hygiene routines. This has meant fewer pupils miss school due to illness and some girls are taking high-school exams that only boys took before.
Furthermore, every pound raised for the Lent appeal, up to the value of £3.5 million, will be matched by the UK Government’s Department for International Development up until May.
Donate to the Lent Appeal at: cafod.org.uk/lent