Sophie our Gapper gets some help in preparing for her El Salvador visit

Sophie looking at El Salvador Pic from 2005

Sophie looking through old photos from 2013 when Fidel and Julia from El Salvador visited Leeds Parishes

“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.

 

El Salvador Prep Sophie Joe and KathyKathy 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.

Roecliffe students green hearts

Students from Roecliffe Primary School, nr Boroughbridge, North Yorkshire.

“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”

Roecliff Primary SchoolIf 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 leeds@cafod.org.uk

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.

Leeds Primary School Pupils Inspired to Take Climate Change Action!

Leeds primary school pupils have pledged to take climate change action and ‘go outside more’ after an inspiring visit from a CAFOD gap year student. 

Sophie Aulton

Step into the Gap volunteer Sophie Aulton

Sophie Aulton is spending a year taking part in CAFOD’s ‘Step into the Gap’ programme and visited St Anthony’s Catholic Primary School in Beeston and St Mary’s Catholic Primary School in Rothwell.

The 22-year-old taught St Anthony’s pupils about CAFOD’s Power to Be campaign, which focuses on how supporting cleaner, renewable forms of energy can help people living in poverty around the world.

The Year 2,3,5 and 6 students were motivated by Sophie to take action after being shown the story of Veronica, a Kenyan girl who has benefited from solar panels being fitted at her school.

The pupils then wrote their own heartfelt messages to form a sun.
Sophie said: “The children learned that not everyone in the world is as fortunate as they are, and that the funny things on top of some of their houses, solar panels, can make a huge difference to people’s lives.

“My favourite part of that visit was when one child said that to save energy he would start to play outside more instead of playing on his computer all the time!”

047

Children wrote their own messages to form a sun

Sophie will spend the year campaigning, fundraising and raising awareness of CAFOD’s work at a UK placement. The volunteer will also make an international trip to El Salvador to meet vulnerable communities that the charity works alongside. 

When Sophie visited St Mary’s Primary School, she taught pupils about CAFOD’s values.

 
She continued: “My gap year is going well so far and one of my favourite parts of it is going into schools!

“I do love making students aware of social injustice issues that they don’t usually think about.”

CAFOD’s Power to Be campaign hopes to raise awareness that currently, one in six people live without electricity globally. Local, renewable energy is usually the cheapest and most efficient way to bring power to the poorest communities.

It means that families don’t have to rely on dangerous and unhealthy energy sources such as paraffin lamps and firewood. It enables children to study after dark, nurses to keep vaccines cold and farmers to irrigate crops.

For more information, visit our website.

 

 

 

Step Into the Gap

Are you aged 18 – 30 and thinking about taking a gap year? Passionate about global justice? Want to put your faith into action volunteering for a charity?

stig-poster-picStep into the Gap, CAFOD’s gap year programme, is an opportunity to volunteer in the UK, gain experience, develop leadership skills and visit an international CAFOD partner

The deadline for applications to CAFOD’s gap year programme is fast approaching. For anyone aged 18 – 30: an opportunity to volunteer in the UK, gain experience, develop leadership skills and visit CAFOD partners overseas.

The deadline is 13th March. For all information and how to apply visit www.cafod.org.uk/Education/CAFOD-Gap-year

For more information, please contact Catherine Jones or Lucy Jardine on 0207 095 5308