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.


Round the World a Second Time

Round the world a second time-We just had to try! So on July 1st, 18 people from three churches -St Joseph, Moorends, Our Lady of the Assumption, Stainforth and St Nicholas,Thorne set out to walk 3 miles from St Joseph’s to Thorne and back. The guidelines in the Cafod booklet made organising the walk very simple and we shared the stories of refugees as we walked. Talking and walking work well together as we all shared stories,prayers and ideas. The inter church cooperation meant we had refreshments at both ends of the walk – very welcome, given that it was a very hot day.One lady described our symbolic walk in support of refugees as a genuinely spiritual experience .55 miles were added to the new totaliser-but we hope to do more walks and add more miles before September.

Agnes celebrates 100th birthday…

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Agnes celebrating her 100th birthday with CAFOD

…and 50 years of fundraising with tea, cake and friends. Eloise Hobbs, CAFOD’s Regional News Officer, reports.

Rotherham resident, Agnes Hizzard, who was born 6 June 1918, celebrated her 100th birthday last week– after helping her parish raise thousands for charity.

Agnes Hizzard is locally famous for many things; she was the first pupil to attend St. Gerard’s Catholic Primary School which opened in 1928 and she was the first member of the parish of St. Gerard’s Church in Thrybergh.

Yet, what most people know her for is her kind heart. Over the past 50 years, she has been a member of local group the St Gerard’s Soup Slurpers.

Founded by the late Fr Peter Hurley, the group meet every week and donate the £2 cost of their lunch to the Catholic international development charity, CAFOD.  Just in the last 10 years the group has raised more than £8,000 towards CAFOD’s work to help some of the poorest communities around the world.

The Soup Slurpers is currently run by Peggy Ahmed, who is also CAFOD’s parish volunteer. She said:

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Peggy, standing up in the centre, with some of the other Soup Slurpers

“The Soup Slurpers started as after mass as every Wednesday, the elderly people in the Parish would come to mass and afterwards, we would enjoy soup and sandwiches together – that’s how it started.

“There is now raffle and bingo and about 20 people come each week. We always do a meal – and for special birthdays, when people are 60, 70, 80, we have a proper dinner with pudding and a cake. I always do the cooking.

“It is lovely for the elderly to know they are doing something once a week and I’m so glad it is a tradition that I know will be there for me.”

And the whole parish is looking forward to Agnes celebration. Peggy said:

“For Agnes’ celebration, we are having lunch and cake. We found out in January, she was going to be 100 so we decided to have a parish celebration.

“A lot of people know her, and they are coming for lots of other parishes in the area.

“Agnes is a great supporter of a lot of charities and she talks non-stop about CAFOD. She really likes it when CAFOD people come to visit and she loves talking to them.”

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CAFOD volunteers meet with our Zimbabwe Programme Officer in Dronfield.

Volunteers are at the heart of CAFOD’s work: thousands pray, speak up, and raise funds to support others overseas—all in their spare time.

CAFOD representative, Angela Powell, who has met Agnes many times over the last few years said:

“CAFOD would like to say thank you to all our volunteers and supporters, especially Agnes, who has supported us for many years.

“Our volunteers and supporters are at the heart of our work and without whom would not be able to so fully support those living in poverty around the world.

“Thank you, Agnes, our very best wishes go to you for good health and much happiness.”

Have a look at our web page to find out more about volunteering.