On Saturday 24 September, volunteers and supporters from parishes in Lichfield Deanery met with Julia from the CAFOD Birmingham Volunteer Centre to find out more about Harvest Fast Day and CAFOD’s work in Bolivia.
45% of Bolivia’s population live below the poverty line, rising as high as 60% in rural areas, where people depend on farming to make a living.
Despite a reduction in child malnutrition, 18% of children under the age of three currently suffer from it and sadly, the rate of malnutrition for children in the poorest households is a staggering 40%.
Funds raised for Harvest Fast Day through CAFOD’s regular giving scheme ‘Hands On’ will be used to help farmers and their families who live on the Altiplano, a vast, inhospitable plain almost 4,000 metres above sea level. The soil is poor because the area is incredibly arid. The climate is changing and so are the rains – they are very unpredictable and sometimes there can be too much rain, sometimes not enough. These conditions make growing enough food incredibly tough.
CAFOD will be working with their partners in Bolivia to help the farmers improve their methods of production. Through these partners, communities will be trained in traditional and modern farming methods, such as organic fertilisers, compost, seeds, vegetable gardens and terracing. They will also be shown how to construct their own greenhouses and wormeries and make their own organic fertilisers and pesticides.
Families who have had continued support from CAFOD’s partners are now able to grow enough food to feed their families, and some additional food to sell and earn an income.
A big thank you to everyone who came along to our meeting for getting ‘Hands On’ with the families of the Altiplano in Bolivia this Harvest Fast Day.