International staff visit to Hallam Diocese

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Myo Zaw with Fr Martin & Angela Powell

Myo Zaw is CAFOD’s humanitarian capacity and development officer working in Myanmar and Cambodia.

Myo visited the diocese over the weekend and met with local volunteers, supporters and clergy, and spent some time with Bishop Ralph.  His visit gave us all much food for thought and insight into the detail and impact of the work for some of the most disadvantaged people in our world today.

Myo explained that Myanmar ranks 19th in listings of poorest countries. It has a population of 52 million people many of whom are at high risk of natural and man-made disaster. People are exposed to cyclone, tropical storms, tsunamis, flooding, forest fires and drought, and more than 10% of the population are internally displaced refugees.

Because we can work within and through the Catholic Caritas network, we have a unique opportunity to be alongside some of the most vulnerable people which other agencies are not always able to reach. Myo is working in Myanmar with local Bishops in 3 Archdiocese and with 16 diocesan offices to provide training and technical expertise that improves the capacity of local communities, enabling them to become more resilient to cope when natural disasters and emergencies occur in the area.

Throughout the weekend Myo visited the Volunteer Centre in Sheffield and spoke at Sunday Masses at Our Lady of Sorrows, Bamford and St Michaels, Hathersage. Myo is pictured with local rep, Angela Powell, receiving a cheque for £500 from Fr Martin, for CAFODs Rohingya Crisis Appeal.

Myo was fascinated to learn how funds have been raised by supporters over the years. The ‘CAFOD Hope Valley’ group have raised more than £30k and representatives of the group shared stories of concerts, book sales, garden teas, and ‘copper’ collections. All great examples of how communities living in rural communities can come together and reach out to help others in need.

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Myo met with members of The CAFOD Hope Valley Group

As well as strengthening local capacity, CAFOD provides emergency food, tents, water and sanitation for the Rohingya response which is focussed on people who have been forced to flee to Bangladesh since 25 August, to escape violence in Rakhine State in neighbouring Myanmar. As members of Caritas Catholic network, we are funding Caritas Bangladesh to provide emergency aid such as food, clean water and emergency shelter.

Finally, because many around the diocese of Hallam have been responding to Pope Francis calling for all to “Share the Journey” before he left, Myo met with supporters at the start of the Padley pilgrimage, at the sight of the Padley Martyrs. Some had walked from Nottingham diocese, over several days to be in solidarity for refugees and asylum seekers.

People are dying due to a lack of basic needs, and we believe that no-one should be beyond reach, therefore, we continue to raise funds in order to reach more vulnerable people and provide them with the help they desperately need. Please sign up to volunteer with CAFOD in Hallam and enable us to do more.

 

CAFOD’s emergency response to Irma, earthquakes and floods

Jenny Seymour is a volunteer for CAFOD Hallam

I’m sure there isn’t one of us who hasn’t been affected by the devastating scenes on the news recently as a result of Hurricane Irma and her deathly blow across the Carribean and Florida.  I am also sure that many of you, like me, will have friends or family over in those places affected by this destruction and have been glued to the TV or social media for news of your loved ones.

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My cousin, her husband and 3 sons have lived in Florida now for many many years and finally last week she posted “what with black bears, snakes, mosquitoes, hot sun and hurricanes….it’s time to move back!” (although I think I may prefer the hot sun!).  Whilst the strength of the hurricane had subsided slightly by the time it reached Orlando, they still had to hunker down, stay inside in a room with no windows,  move all their furniture and belongings to a safe place and get ready with their hurricane lights and candles.  They have now been without power for almost a week and they’re all suffering from “power envy” – when they hear that one of their fellow neighbours has had their power returned.  It’s actually good to see that in Florida (obviously one of the more developed nations to have been hit by Irma) they are all getting together to have “community cook outs” where those with power are inviting others to come and enjoy a warm  meal and drink and of course, food banks are serving an even greater need over there and people drop off their supplies at local churches.

Irma

Again, I find myself considering how lucky me and my family are to live where we do – we lost a few branches to “Aileen” earlier this week and this pales into comparison to the devastation elsewhere in the world.  The poor people of Barbuda and Anguilla have lost everything and have to build their lives again, as have the people in Oaxaca, Mexico after the earthquake that struck last week as well.  CAFOD has offered prayers and support to CARITAS Mexico, but they already have a strong emergency response capacity and CAFOD will be working through CARITAS Antilles which will cover the islands under their jurisdiction within the Carribean.

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If you would like to donate to help the people who have suffered as a result of these horrific natural disasters, please click here to donate to CAFOD’s emergency response funds.  You can give a one off donation or set up a direct debit today!

Fun-Filled Barnsley Race Night

A fun-filled race night was held in Barnsley in support of aid agency CAFOD’s East Africa Crisis Appeal.

Barnsley Race Night

The race night was a big success

There were eight virtually simulated horse races at Holy Rood parish hall, raising over £2,000 for the emergency appeal.
 
Each race had a randomly selected outcome and there was an opportunity to back a jockey or a horse in the build up to the event.
 
Those in attendance were also able to guess the outcome of each sponsored contest, which brought in more donations.

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