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.

 

A Future of Hope for Afghanistan? Will the Afghan people enjoy kiterunning again?

Jenny Seymour is a volunteer in the CAFOD Hallam office.  Yesterday, I went to the theatre to see Matthew Spangler’s adaptation of Khaled Hosseini’s acclaimed novel, the Kiterunner and it reminded me of the work that CAFOD do to help the role of Afghan women.

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The Kiterunner

I absolutely love the novel, the Kiterunner, and in fact, I love many of Khaled Hosseini’s works on life in Afghanistan.  I’ve now read the book, seen the film and watched the play adaptation and each one has moved me incredibly.  As I watched the play last night I found myself wondering, “What would I do?” – would I step up to the mark and help my fellow citizens of the world/my friends when they need me the most?  I like to think I would, but the harrowing events of this story actually take place when the lead character is 12 years old.  I think a 12 year old can be forgiven for running from their fears, after all he is still a child.  However, unfortunately, in the war-torn world we live in children have witnessed such atrocities and, like Amir, the lead character in the Kiterunner, their lives are changed forever.

kite flying 2Children are forced to grow up quickly and many have to drop the lives that they have known and loved to go on a difficult and dangerous journey across the globe – but they are still just children, with the same hopes and dreams that our own kids would have.  They have a right to be safe.  The play last night also tackled the issue of refugees.  Amir and his father make the difficult decision to leave Afghanistan for America when the Russian army move in.  They are cramped into a pitch-black truck with many other families and are treated very badly.  People who may have been wealthy, well educated and highly regarded in their own country are left to find mundane jobs to make a living.  I thought that this aspect of the play was really well produced and the audience are really able to empathise with this change in status of the family as their lives progress.

I left the theatre last night with a sense of guilt, but thankful that I have not had to witness first hand the atrocities of war and that, for now, my children are being brought up in a safe environment.

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Women crocus growers in Afghanistan

Afghanistan is one of the poorest countries in the world. 30 years of conflict mean that a third of the population lives on less than 60 pence a day, one in six children die before their fifth birthday, and the average life expectancy is just 48. The status of women in Afghanistan is especially low.  CAFOD has been supporting communities there since the 1980s.  Their work focuses on peace in the region, women’s rights and improving peoples’ lives so that they can grow out of poverty.

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Saffron is harvested from crocuses

The work CAFOD has done with its partners has enabled women to start their own businesses and save.  In particular, saffron is grown and traded.

Please support CAFOD’s partners in Afghanistan and donate to our work – click here to donate.

 

 

Fancy a walk in the middle of the night?

For those who enjoy taking part in the May Day Trek which raises an amazing amount of money for CAFOD and Christian Aid the Night Hike is a walk with a difference!

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Saturday 25 June 2016

The Sheffield Night Hike is a 17 mile dusk-till-dawn sponsored walk from Lodge Moor, Sheffield onto the Derbyshire moors. It starts and finishes at St. Luke’s Church, Lodge Moor, Sheffield. The walk goes via the Mayfield Valley, Fox House, Longshaw, Grindleford to Hathersage. From there it climbs up to Stanage Edge, passes Redmires Reservoir and back to St. Luke’s Lodge Moor.

 

 

Click here to register online.

Since it began more than 30 years ago it has raised many thousands of pounds to help some of the poorest communities in the world. The Sheffield Night Hike, and the associated Sheffield May Day Trek,  raises money to provide emergency relief and to support long-term development projects.

Starting from St. Luke’s Church, Lodge Moor, Sheffield, S10 4LQ, at 8:30pm.
(for directions see St Luke’s Church)

Click for Live Map or to Download maps and walk guides.

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