Inspired by our Gapper’s trip to El Salvador

Bronagh Daly, Community Participation Coordinator at Leeds CAFOD reflects on an inspirational talk from Gap year volunteer Sophie Aulton.

“We gathered together for a talk and shared lunch today to hear all about Sophie’s trip to El Salvador with CAFOD earlier in the year as part of the ‘Step into the Gap’ programme.

el sal lunch sophie“I introduced Sophie to the audience, reflecting on how my faith has grown through Sophie being around. Her curiosity, enthusiasm, hard work and humility has impressed and inspired not only me, but everyone who has the pleasure of meeting Sophie.

“Our new office volunteer (who Sophie helped to recruit) led us in a prayer and Sophie began her talk.

“We were joined by parish and school volunteers, a volunteer area coordinator , a CAFOD Programme Manager and campaigns volunteers. It was another full house at the CAFOD volunteer centre, all interested to hear how CAFOD money, resources and skills are utilised in El Salvador. Sophie shared an informative, inspiring and fast paced overview of 6 projects she visited, how the work is developed with local community groups and tackling issues including gang violence, gender equality, finance, farming, livelihoods and nutrition.

sophie talk el salv“Sophie shared a humorous overview of her struggles with the language barrier and how playing with young children broke down an awkward moment whilst the interpreter was elsewhere. Sophie shared with us precious moments she encountered with families who CAFOD projects have helped over the last decade.

“We heard about Sophie’s time with bee keepers, micro entrepreneurs, cheese-makers and community loans custodians, all thankful for the support CAFOD has given their communities to grow and prosper. If ever you wanted to be inspired to campaign, pray and act for equality this was the presentation to be at.

“After questions and answers about the impact of the STIG programme and comments from our Bolivia Programme Manager, Nikki Evans about shared learning we carried on our conversations over a shared lunch.

shared lunch“We love having shared lunches here at CAFOD, I am always excited to see what people bring. A parish volunteer who had travelled to EL Salvador several years ago share food and insight from his trip. Our new office volunteers got a change to meet with a wide range of volunteers and all in all I finished my week at the volunteer centre feeling renewed. I feel so blessed to work for CAFOD and to help parishes and schools respond to the cry of the poor. I am always reminded of the generosity of CAFOD volunteers and supporters and on behalf of Sophie, I would like to thank you all for the donations you have made today to help her with her fundraising target of £500 for CAFODs work with the worlds poorest children and their families.

If you would like to know more about becoming a volunteer in your local parish or school, click here or contact us (0113) 275 9302 or leeds@cafod.org.uk

Perhaps Sophie has inspired you to think about volunteering for a year on the ‘Step into the Gap’ programme, if so please read further to find out how you could get involved.

Connect2 Scheme Inspires CAFOD Volunteers

As part of volunteers’ week, we spoke to two Leeds volunteers who have dedicated their time towards aid agency CAFOD’s exciting Connect2 campaign. Connect2 world image and logo

Connect2 links communities in England & Wales with people in Brazil, Ethiopia, El Salvador, Cambodia and Peru. 

The scheme is built on CAFOD’s values of solidarity and partnership, where parishes in the UK are able to stand alongside communities overseas to fight against poverty and injustice.

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Could your Parish support Connect 2 communities?

The Connect2 scheme is your chance to take a journey with ordinary people leading extraordinary lives, by fundraising as a Parish community.

The money you raise will support our work in your partner community and in other communities like theirs throughout their country. You really can help transform lives.

Connect 2 is a chance to link the faiths of two parishes from across the world. Joining Connect 2 gives an insight into the different Catholic cultures of churches in countries that CAFOD and its partners work within. It allows for real life examples of how CAFOD positively affects communities across the globe, and enables a community to be a real part of CAFODs work.Connect2 world image and logo

Joining one parish to another allows a strong bond to be formed between the two, living in solidarity with each other.

Joe Burns, member of the Assumption Church in Leeds said “people in our church community feel as though they have got to know the Puentecitos community through the updates provided by CAFOD”. Joe went on to say “Our congregation of the Assumption Church has been visited in recent years by two members of our connecting parish from El Salvador and we were able to engage face to face with them learning more about their community and life style.”

The Church has put on a South American evening, in which they celebrated, ate and danced South American style. To raise money the congregation held an Auction of Promises and managed to raise £2,000 for their connecting church and surrounding community. Events like this are a way of bringing the work that CAFOD does to life, as well as helping continue helping those in need in other areas of the world.

This is just one example of a Connect 2 community and the contribution that they have made to a Parish 5,341 miles away. Connect 2 is a way of joining with CAFODs overseas partners on a personal level, and seeing first-hand the difference that money raised has on the communities.

Would you like your church to become a Connect 2 parish? Follow the link below for more information and the sign up page!
http://cafod.org.uk/Fundraise/Parish-fundraising/Connect2