CAFOD is putting smiles on people’s faces

Livison Chipatiso

Livison Chipatiso, CAFOD’s Zimbabwe Programme Officer

Jeremy Cain, Community Participation Coordinator for Hallam, learns why people work and volunteer for CAFOD.

Livison Chipatiso, our Zimbabwe Programme Officer, could get a hundred easier jobs than the one he does for CAFOD. So what stops him? “It’s the smiles,” he told us last Friday at Holy Spirit church in Dronfield. “It’s the smiles that make it all worthwhile!”

He was talking about the reaction he gets whenever he visits people who have been helped by CAFOD’s support and the work of our partner, Caritas Zimbabawe. People like Marian, who can now feed her family nutritious food after we gave her the seeds, tools and support she needed to set up her own vegetable garden. She says, “I’m very grateful to CAFOD supporters for what they’ve done. You have been a bridge from a place of suffering to a better world. If I were to meet you, it would be such a blessing. I’d like to ask you, what drives you to give to others? Is it your kindness?”

Svondo Magumise

Svondo Magumise, Marian’s son

It’s a question we put to the people who’d come to hear Livison speak. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it was a question they found difficult. With a bit of encouragement, though, we got some interesting answers: “CAFOD offers hope to us all, to our partners and recipients and to us here in England & Wales”; “CAFOD gives us a way to respond to the need of others and put our faith in action”; and “we trust CAFOD and where the money will end up.”

The responses certainly reflect the way we see ourselves: we’re about bringing people together, across continents, to share in the riches that God has given each of us, whether these are financial or otherwise. As Geoff O’Donoghue, our Director of Operations, said, on his recent visit to the diocese, “places of physical drought are rarely places of spiritual drought”.

Holy Spirit FD18 event

CAFOD supporters speaking to Livison at Holy Spirit

During Lent, we’re called to work on our spirituality and sharing faith with people overseas can be inspiring. Take a look at our Lent calendar, which will allow you to do just that. Right now, though, we’d love you to join in our Family Fast Day. Coming up this Friday, it’s a chance give up a meal and give generously to help some of the poorest people in the world.

You can donate here knowing that whatever you can give will make a big impact: this Lent, your donation will make double the difference! For every pound you donate to
CAFOD, the UK Government will also donate a pound, up to a limit of £5 million. At no extra cost to you, twice the number of lives can be transformed; twice the number of children can have the opportunity to grow up healthy and strong. It’s enough to put a smile on your face!



All Saints School Raise Thousands For CAFOD!

A Sheffield school worked together to raise a staggering amount for charity and provide gifts to people in need across the world.

All Saints Sheffield

All Saints Catholic High School raised more than £2,000

All form groups at All Saints Catholic High School fundraised during Advent to reach a combined total of more than £2,000.

The money was used to buy World Gifts from CAFOD.

World Gifts are a range of alternative charity gifts that  help transform the lives of poor communities and families in developing countries.

All Saint Chaplaincy Co-Ordinator, Bernie Healy, said: “There was all sorts of fundraising ideas from the form groups, including sponsored silences, Christmas card making, and much more.

“One form group raised £100 by selling hot chocolate! All the pupils did really well and I am very proud of them.”

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An encounter with Jesus Christ

Jeremy Cain, Community Participation Coordinator for CAFOD in Hallam, wants you to act like a rock star.


U2: rock stars with a conscience

At last night’s Grammy Awards, pop stars were almost queuing up to call for a society tolerant of immigrants and immigration. In particular, rock royalty U2 adapted the beatitudes to make the point that the American Dream is rooted in people bringing their skills and industry to a new country.

It’s a sentiment that chimes well with CAFOD’s Share the Journey campaign, though our take on it is a spiritual rather than a political one. Speaking back in August last year, at the 104th World Day of Migrants and Refugees, Pope Francis said: “Every stranger who knocks at our door is an opportunity for an encounter with Jesus Christ, who identifies with the welcomed and rejected strangers of every age.”

Pope Francis 2

Pope Francis invites to encounter Jesus Christ

Now think about this as you read the following statistics:

• More people are on the move now than ever before. Every minute, 20 people around the world are newly displaced.
• Half of the world’s refugees are children, and thousands take flight without the protection of parents or other family members.
• Three out of four of of the world’s refugees are hosted by developing countries.

That’s a lot of refugees and every one of them is an opportunity to meet Jesus. As Christians, to turn away would be to turn away from the Lord.

Advent Rohingya

Refugees from Myanmar

Note, the Pope sees strangers as an opportunity not a threat, though it can be all too easy to view them in this way; and whilst it would be naive not to recognize the challenges of opening our doors a little wider, it would be a mistake not to face those challenges. We need to promote a generosity of spirit inspired by the Spirit.

To this end, Pope Francis is calling for us, as individuals and as societies, to do five things:

  1. Respect human dignity
  2. Protect the vulnerable
  3. Support host countries
  4. Keep families together
  5. Tackle the reasons for migration

Syrian refugees

This is a response inspired by faith and solidly practical. What’s more, it will make an enormous difference to people who are fleeing persecution and poverty; and it will make an enormous difference to us too: encountering Jesus cannot leave us unaffected.

Sometimes Christians worry what we would do if Jesus walked the earth today, would we follow him or would we run away from the demands we suspect he would make? Perhaps our response to refugees sheds light on this question. Either way, it’s an issue that’s not going away and we have to address it or risk being seen as irrelevant. Join us and make a difference.