Zimbabwe CAFOD Officer visited Leeds Diocese

Livison Zimbabwe talk guests Entende NhlanHla Bronagh

Members of the Leeds Zimbabwe community come to meet Livison Chipatiso at CAFOD

On 21st February we hosted an inspirational talk and shared lunch with Zimbabwe Programme Officer, Livison Chipatiso. The Volunteer Centre was jam packed, we had the biggest gathering we have seen here in a long time. Several members of the Leeds Zimbabwe community came along to the event to welcome Livison to Leeds. We were also joined by schools volunteers, parish volunteers and area coordinators who all give their time up to support prayer, campaign and giving actions all across the Diocese of Leeds.

livison crowd at the Zimbabwe talk

Volunteers from Huddersfield, Skipton, Bradford, Halifax and Leeds all come to hear Livison speak about sustainable projects in Zimbabwe

Livison explained the need for more support for sustainable, affordable and renewable solutions to irrigate land and diversify crops in areas where climate variation causes extreme malnutrition. After a shared lunch, Livison then travelled to the School of Applied Global Ethics at Leeds Beckett University to address students and staff who are particularly interested to know more about sustainable development.

Livison Beckett Uni

Livison speaking to staff and students at Leeds Beckett University

Speaking at the event, CAFOD worker Bronagh Daly said “It is wonderful to have our colleague from Zimbabwe here amongst us. We feel very close to the families and communities from hearing Livison’s words. We are inspired by Livison’s talk and it really has brought us all together as a team, all keen to do as much as we can to support the projects that are making a huge impact on the lives of Svondo and his family and many others like him”


To find out more about our work in Zimbabwe, click here

Sophie is back from El Salvador

We are delighted to welcome our Step into the Gap volunteer Sophie Aulton, back to the Leeds Volunteer Centre. In her own words, Sophie gave us an update about her international trip, “I didn’t have any thoughts of El Salvador before I went. I couldn’t imagine what life would be like so far away. My first impression of El Salvador is when I got out of the airport. It was so hot, and noisy, like going into a tropical bird sanctuary.

Sophie in a bee suit Ciara Gapper GuayamangoI wasn’t prepared for how hilly it was! One of the best schemes I visited was CAFODs project in Guaymango, where the community were supported in bee keeping. The reason I really liked this was because you could really see the difference that CAFOD was making. By teaching people new bee keeping methds, they could produce more honey, that they could eat themselves and sell as well.

I met lots of inspirational people, with great passion and drive and that made me think about how I could do more with the resources I have at home. I would love to keep bees at the bottom of my garden. Of all the people I met, one person sticks out in my mind, Feliciano, he was Edelmera’s brother in law. He showed us all around his land and gave us coconuts that he and his brother Martir had just climbed up the tree to get. He showed us his bee hives. We spent the afternoon with Him, his wife carmen, Edelmera and Martir, which is the best afternoon I had in the whole trip. sophie in school with hearts el salvador

I spent some time with local school children and brought the hearts with messages from Holy Name Primary School and told them children in Year 3,4 and 5 were thinking about them and praying for them. The children in the class in El Salvador wrote messages back. It is important to let the children know that they are connected in this way. It has a really big impact.

Sophie hearts kids el salvador

We visited the site of the Romero Cross workshops, I even got to make my own. Romero crosses have been such a symbol of CAFOD, I don’t know anyone who doesn’t have one so it was an amazing opportunity to see how they were made and to get to make one myself! Poverty is caused in the rural area by harsh weather conditions and changing weather patterns. Everyone in El Salvador was so happy and grateful for the things they had, even when they were telling us about their hardships, they would still say ‘thanks be to god’ and be so thankful that they were still alive and surrounded by people they love.

My first impression of Nicaragua, was how open Managua was as a city. There were large open spaces which was the complete opposite of San Salvador. I don’t see it as learning about myself, I see it as more broadening my horizons of understanding. I didn’t see the trip as a journey of self discovery, more a journey of discovering others. Doing craft with the old people in San Salvador. I never thought that me making cards at home and learning how to cut out shapes would ever come in useful on the other side of the world, but the fact that it did really showed me how similar our countries are”

If you would like Sophie to visit your parish or school to hear more about the CAFOD supported projects and partners she visited, please get in touch leeds@cafod.org.uk or call (0113) 275 9302.

Sophie has taken a year out to volunteer for CAFOD as a ‘gapper’ along with several other young people on CAFOD’s gap year programme, which gives them an opportunity to volunteer in the UK, gain experience, develop leadership skills and visit CAFOD partners and the communities we work with.

If you would like to know more about CAFOD’s Step Into the Gap scheme click here


Sophie Set for CAFOD El Salvador and Nicaragua Trip!

Step into the Gap volunteer Sophie Aulton has jetted off to El Salvador and Nicaragua as part of her CAFOD gap year! Read her thoughts below…

Sophie Aulton

Gap year volunteer, Sophie Aulton

Throughout Christmas I have been getting bits of things for the upcoming trip to El Salvador and Nicaragua. Mosquito repellent, light clothing, shampoo, shower gel, torches and chargers have been going round and round in my head since the CAFOD weekend in November to prepare us for the upcoming adventure. However it has become almost second nature to talk about the destinations on the visit, security precautions and vaccinations with those who ask, having given many presentations to school children about El Salvador and Nicaragua, and what I will be doing there. This has allowed me to become familiar with CAFOD’s work in the areas as well as knowledgeable about their political history.

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