Siobhan prepares for Sierra Leone

On the 20th January I will be travelling to Sierra Leone with three fellow CAFOD gappers.
We have just come back from our international and security training and it has hit me that it is not long until we set off for Sierra Leone. I feel so privileged to have this opportunity and to see first-hand the work CAFOD and the partners do on the ground. I am really looking forward to getting to know the partners and the people in the communities, it will be a privilege to hear their stories and be able to share these back in the UK.  I hope to become fully immersed in the culture and way of life in Sierra Leone and to walk in solidarity with the people I meet. I am sure this will be an inspiring and eye opening experience.

Find out more about the Step into the Gap programme here

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Step into the Gap Volunteers

One of the reasons I am so excited is that I studied International Development at University and I’ve had a passion for international development and social justice since I began to learn more about global issues in secondary school. After learning about so much about development and having the opportunity to visit the UN in my final year it will be incredible to see this first hand. It will be particularly interesting to see the effects of the civil war which ended in 2010, the impact of the Ebola outbreak and the aftermath of the landslide in August this year. Although we may see some things or hear some stories that are difficult, I am looking forward to seeing the progress that has been made and the resilience of the communities.

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Team Sierra Leone

The partners we will be visiting will include CARITAS in the capital Freetown; KADDRO in Kambia which focuses on resilience to food insecurity and emergency preparedness; Missionary Sisters of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary who work with water, agriculture, sanitation and hygiene in Bo.

Find out more about CAFOD’s work in Sierra Leone 

CAFOD volunteers and supporters gather in Rugby deanery to hear Bishop William share his experience of CAFOD’s work in Sudan and South Sudan

Bishop Kenney talk

A very big thank-you to all our brilliant Volunteers and Supporters who joined us in Rugby to hear Bishop William share his experience of CAFOD’s work in Sudan and South Sudan . Thank-you for all your energy, enthusiasm and thoughtful questions. Thank-you very much also to Bishop William for such a thought-provoking, moving and insightful talk.

CAFOD volunteer, Brian Davies, shares his experience of the evening:

CAFOD’s evening on 28th September with Bishop Kenney at Sacred Heart, Bilton, produced a turnout of about 40 people including many from neighbouring parishes and even a few from other deaneries. Bishop William presented a frank report on the long-lasting conflict in South Sudan since its separation from Sudan in 2011.

What was most striking about the report was that there was little hope for a way forward. At least he is still able to visit and report on the needs of the country and see the work of  CAFOD there, providing vital humanitarian relief, and supporting the Catholic Bishops and leaders from other churches who are pushing the political leaders for peace. At the moment these leaders are giving the only hope to the people and for finding a way to rebuild one of the poorest countries in the world.’

Severe drought and conflict in South Sudan have left millions of vulnerable people in need of humanitarian aid.

Find out about CAFOD’s work in South Sudan here

We also heard briefly from Lizzie Wignall about CAFOD’s  Power to be campaign, which is calling on the World Bank to ensure renewable energy access for the world’s poorest people. 

One in six people worldwide don’t have access to electricity. Local, renewable energy is usually the cheapest, fastest and most efficient solution to bring power to the poorest communities. It can help families to lift themselves out of poverty. Could you hold a ‘Power to be’ action card signing in your parish?

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Lizzie also shared the importance of making our MP aware of our concerns. 

Could you ensure that the voices of many of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people are heard in the corridors of power, through CAFOD’s MP Correspondent scheme?

We were also shown a video on the Harvest Family Fast Day.’ (Brian Davies, CAFOD Volunteer)

Thank-you very much to everyone who has supported our Harvest Fast Day. Here you can watch a three minute film featuring farmers Edelmira and Martir from El Salvador, which really brings our Harvest Fast Day story alive.