We were delighted to hold our Supporters’ day at Our Lady help of Christians in Oxford on 7 February. Over 16 people from 9 parishes attended the day which was wonderful. It was great to see familiar faces again and we were delighted to welcome some new people too.
Deborah Purfield (CAFOD coordinator for Oxford N & S deaneries) welcomed everyone and shared her experience of El Salvador and CAFOD’s work there. This really went down well as people were pleased to hear how donations were used to help build the community and empower them. Suporters and volunteers said they felt motivated, inspired and encouraged to do more in their parishes to raise awareness.
Peter Van Cauwelaert (Parish Volunteer – St Peter – Eynsham) led the group in a workshop which enabled people to see some of the decisions CAFOD faces, in collaboration with our overseas partners, in spending our money. The group to decide how to spend £10,000 given six different projects. This provoked a lot of discussion and each group fed back with what projects they would support.
This Lent, the focus is on CAFOD’s work in Zimbabwe and John Barker (schools volunteer) presented some shocking statistics – 70% of Zimbabweans live in poverty, unemployment rate has been estimated at 95% and 1 in 3 Zimbabweans are undernourished. CAFOD is working with the local Catholic Church, through Caritas partners in Zimbabwe to tackle hunger and malnutrition.
John shared Svondo’s story and most people were inspired by the video and could see what difference our support had made. The UK government will double all donations this Lent Fast day up to £5m was also mentioned which spurred people on.
Suzanne summed it up when she said, “The whole day was most helpful, I wanted to learn more and understand the issues that CAFOD is involved in and this is exactly what I received”.
Supporters were keen to stay and chat after the session and look at some of the resources. Great atmosphere!
Thanks so much to Our Lady Help of Christians for hosting the event, to Bridie and David for helping during the session with refreshments and for setting and clearing up and to all who attended. It was really wonderful to see you all.