Carol Cross, Diocesan CAFOD Manager talks about CAFOD’s 50th Anniversary

2012 is CAFOD’s 50th Anniversary year during which we would like to celebrate our past successes and build on them.

As CAFOD’s Diocesan Manager, I would like to personally acknowledge and express our thanks to all in the Middlesbrough Diocese who have contributed in any way to the achievements CAFOD has realised during its lifetime, for your faith and dedication, as well as the support and generosity given over the past 50 years, reaching out in love and concern to millions of people around the world. I also want to reach out to younger generations to ask for their help to build on the successes of the past throughout this year and into the future.

This year, you can help CAFOD make a greater impact in the fight against poverty and injustice. Our ‘Thirst for Change’ campaign highlights the difficulties faced by many people around the world in getting access to clean drinking water and sanitation facilities. One in eight of the world’s population lives without these luxuries – they still can’t access clean water and over a third don’t have safe sanitation – toilets and sewage systems that hygienically flush away waste. The effects ripple out leading to illnesses like cholera and dysentery. The burden of collecting and carrying water falls primarily on women who can spend up to eight hours every day carrying 40kg of water on their heads or back.

Thirst for Change – to help people like Esther

Three nights a week, Esther lies awake, listening for the splash of water on concrete. This is her cue to run from her bed and get in line. She won’t be alone. Esther will queue for hours – in the moonlight – to collect water before the village tap runs dry. “I can’t catch up on the sleep I miss” she says. “I’ll be so tired but I have no choice… whenever there is water I have to go and draw it as we don’t know when there will be another drop.” The Zambian Government cannot afford to continually pump water to Esther’s village. So when the tap stops flowing, she has to draw untreated water from the river – which Esther knows could make her family sick. Her children have had dysentery and Ricy, her husband, nearly died from cholera.

Esther getting water - Photograph courtesy of Simon Rawle

Esther getting water - Photograph courtesy of Simon Rawle

There’s so much to be done. One in eight people in the world still don’t have access to clean water. Every 20 seconds a child dies because of dirty water. With your support, we can provide clean water for thousands more people like 30 year old Ketai from Zimbabwe. “Water is always on my mind – fetching it, using it, worrying about where to get it. Its how I spend most hours of the day” she says. Today, thanks to you, we have drilled a well that provides clean water near Ketai’s home. We can provide water in places where women and girls are being held back. Places where girls struggle to go to school and women can’t find the time to run their own businesses. Providing clean water will free up time and help communities to thrive.

Esther getting water - Photograph courtesy of Simon Rawle

Esther getting water - Photograph courtesy of Simon Rawle

Between February and May, we have a unique opportunity to make a lasting difference in their lives. UK Aid will match fund our 2012 Give It Up! appeal, which means that every time you donate a pound, the government will double your donation. From 17th February to 17th May 2012, your fundraising activities and donations will have double the impact. A £10.00 donation could buy seeds, tools and watering cans for not one family in Mozambique, but two.

Our 2012 Lent appeal is the perfect time to make your donation go further. And by giving to CAFOD, you’re having a direct say in how some of the UK Government aid budget is spent.

Andrew Mitchell, Secretary of State for International Development, says “CAFOD is working to improve water access, sanitation and hygiene for some of the worlds most vulnerable and neglected people, including those affected by war, climate change and disease. It is potentially life-saving work, tackling cholera, helping girls attend school rather than having to fetch water and ensuring that children know about hygiene and waterborne diseases. By matching pound for pound all public donations, the UK Government will help CAFOD double its impact, ensuring tens of thousands more families have access to clean water and sanitation and are provided with everything from water purification kits and soap to training in how to fix a broken borehole.”

A message from our Director

“We believe that a better world is possible” says CAFOD’s Director, Chris Bain. “With your support – and the help of the UK Government – we are a step closer to creating a world where everyone can flourish. For the last 50 years, the Catholic community in England and Wales has generously supported CAFOD, even when times are tough. Your support allows us to meet the needs of some of the poorest, most disadvantaged people throughout the world, transforming their lives when a disaster strikes and for the long term. Thank you so much for your generous support and please continue to pray for those with whom we work.”

Hopefully during this anniversary year, we may see the words of the prophet Amos “Let justice flow like a river and righteousness like an ever flowing stream” become something of a reality.

Carol Cross
Diocesan CAFOD Manager