Our Catholic family in the Diocese of Middlesbrough has always been generous in our compassion for people living in poverty around the world.
We know that every life created by God is precious and we can show our compassion through CAFOD, the official overseas development agency of the Church.
Many of us have given or received presents from a wide range of virtual World Gifts (a gift that represents and supports an area of CAFOD’s work), including Water for the Family, the Goat that Gives and Chirpy Chickens.
This Christmas, these gifts are more important than ever.
A special word of thanks to staff and children of the Sacred Heart Primary School in Middlesbrough who recently bought World Gifts including a Greenhouse, Trees for Life, Help for a Llama Farmer, Emergency Water, a Keep Clean Kit, a Vegetable Garden and a Happy Queen Bee!
One gift that is close to the heart of CAFOD director Christine Allen is the gift of listening.
A World Gift is not just a gift – you are giving the gift of hope.”CAFOD director Christine Allen
The Listening Centre (£50) supports training and education sessions for vulnerable women who have been victims of violence and is also a great place for women to learn new trade skills so they can earn an independent income.
“I visited the Listening Centre in Bakavu, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, run by local organisation, Centre Olame,” said Christine.
“I met women, traumatised by the brutality of war – survivors of sexual violence and abuse.”
“The listening rooms give women a safe and comfortable space for them to talk and share with other women about their experiences, which helps them to restore their confidence, dignity, and their daily lives. A World Gift is not just a gift – you are giving the gift of hope.”
You will still find popular gifts like a Happy Queen Bee (£4) or a sheet of stickers for your Christmas cards, each of which represents a meal for a family.
But this year there are six brand new gifts to support communities in developing countries who are struggling to deal with the effects of the spread of the coronavirus.
You can buy your loved ones a Keep Clean kit for £6 or protective equipment for a Healthcare Worker for £12.
The Messages of Hope loudspeaker for £67 keeps a community up to date with important information about the pandemic, in rural or remote villages, which in turn can save many lives.
“The coronavirus pandemic has shown us that we are much more connected and reliant on each other than ever before,” added Christine.
“World Gifts are a wonderful opportunity to discover great gift ideas to help you shop compassionately this Christmas. From the Listening Centre, to PPE For Health Workers, every gift is an ongoing commitment to supporting vulnerable people overseas and an act of us standing together, in these challenging COVID-19 times.”
Visit worldgifts.cafod.org.uk to learn more and to change someone’s life.