“You will be amazed at the generosity of the local communities you meet. The poverty and inequality you will encounter might be hard to experience, but that is the reality you will face. It can be challenging and humbling all at the same time. Most of all you will be inspired by the families and the communities you will meet” That was the advice a parishioner and CAFOD supporter, Joe Burns gave to our Gap Year volunteer Sophie as she embarks on her overseas trip to El Salvador. Joe welcomed visitors Fidel and Julia from El Salvador to parishes in Leeds in March 2013 along with Kathy Webb from the Parish of Our Lady of Kirkstall, and later that year Joe then travelled with the Romero Trust and visited El Salvador in November 2013.
Kathy said, ” We look forward to hearing how Sophie’s trip goes. It was wonderful to meet our visitors from El Salvador when they came to our parish a few years back. It is lovely looking back through the old photographs as Sophie is preparing for her trip. We raise funds in our local church through the Connect2 El Salvador Scheme. We will make sure Sophie brings letters from our Children’s liturgy group to share with families when she arrives. It is important to let these families know they are in our prayers every week and we stand in solidarity with them as they strive to grow their own crops and lift themselves out of poverty.”
Sophie has also been encouraged by local school children who have also been learning about El Salvador and how climate change is effecting the livelihoods of farmers and communities. On a recent school visit, Sophie helped students at Roecliff Primary School to make Green Hearts and learn about Climate Change, and what they can do to challenge others to care for our common home.
“I was really impressed how much the children knew about CAFOD already and the good work our charity partners are doing in sustainable development in the Global South. It is always a pleasure to visit a school and share with children all about my gap year with CAFOD. The teachers and students are keen to know how my trip goes, so I will be thinking about them when I meet with children and their families when I am in El Salvador” Sophie added “I cant wait to tell the partners and families that I meet in El Salvador, that so many school children from the Diocese of Leeds include them in their prayers”
If you would like Sophie to come to your school or church community to share her experiences of her trip to El Salvador, please get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org
Sophie will be speaking at Mass and in schools in March and April.
Sophie is based at Leeds Trinity University Chaplaincy 4 days per week and 1 day in the CAFOD volunteer Centre. Sophie actively encourages students at the university to pray, campaign and give as they put their faith into practice by answering the cry of the poor.
Keep an eye out for Sophie’s updates on our CAFODLeeds Facebook Page and Twitter feed.