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


Power to Be round-up from across our Diocese

We are delighted to see such a great response to our ‘Power to Be’ campaign, there have been a lot of campaign actions taken in churches and schools. Thank you for sending us pictures and updates of how you have got your local community involved in the campaigning action, supporting our global brothers and sisters to have increased access to clean, sustainable renewable energy.

Every child has the power in them to achieve great things. But with one in six people still living without electricity, the hopes of millions of the world’s children are too often a distant dream. Local, renewable energy is usually the cheapest, fastest and most efficient solution to bring power to the poorest communities. It can help families to lift themselves out of poverty, without harming the world we share

power to be outside the office nikki and vols

CAFOD volunteers; Ciara, Sophie, Patrick are joined by CAFOD’s Bolivia Programme Officer Nikki Evans to promote the Power to Be campaign during the week of action.

We have received ‘Power to Be’ sun actions from many schools across the diocese including:

St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School, Wetherby
St Wilfred’s Catholic Primary School, Ripon
St Robert’s Catholic Primary School, Harrogate
St Mary’s Catholic Primary School, Knaresborough
St Joseph’s Catholic Primary, Harrogate

Power to be with kids hand

Schools across the diocese have received visits from trained CAFOD Schools Volunteers learning more about how The World Bank could do so much more to invest in long term sustainable renewable energy projects to help the poorest communities.



Parishioners at Our Lady of Kirkstal held two signings at churches in their parish; both at Holy Name of Jesus Church in Cookridge and also at the Assumption of Our Lady church, Spen Lane.

assumption card signing power to be

Parishioners getting involved in the card signing action at the Assumption of our Lady church, Spen Lane Leeds.


Michael Emly, CAFOD volunteer at Our Lady of Kirkstal said ” Parishioners were very supportive of the card-signing event.  Because our parish CAFOD group is well-established and regularly organises events like this, we have a good relationship and the majority of those attending Mass are very willing to help in whatever way we ask.  We got 45 cards signed on Sunday which represents well over half of all the adults who attended Mass.  And we encouraged them to take home the other half of the card and read more about the campaign.”

holy name signing 1

Cathy Mc Partlan encouraging parishioners at Holy Name or Jesus, Cookridge to take action in the ‘Power to Be’ campaign.


Cathy Mc Partlan spoke about her experience of the ‘Power to Be’ card signing which was held at her church last Sunday, “It is a really simple ask of our parishioners as all they have to do is sing the card and send it off, we have had several people com up to us and offer support, saying they will take the cards home and send them off. It is important to put pressure on the World Bank to invest in renewable energy, it is so cost effective and I am happy to do my bit to spread the message”

If you would like some cards to organise a signing session after mass, please get in touch with Bronagh or Joanne (0113) 275 9302 or leeds@cafod.org.uk

For more information about Power to Be resources and guides click here

If you would like to book a school visit using the Power to Be resources email us at leeds@cafod.org.uk with your details and a named person we can arrange the visit with. All our Schools volunteers are specially trained to deliver the ‘Power to Be’ resources.