Our volunteers are excited to be part of the Gap Year 2018

CAFOD’s gap year programme

Step into the Gap, CAFOD’s gap year programme 2018

We have a talented group of volunteers who are happy to depart for their overseas trips to either Sierra Leona or Nicaragua and El Salvador. They shared some words about the Gap trip and they told us about their feelings.

Applications are now open for Step into the Gap 2018. Apply now

Kayleigh, Christopher, Siobhan and Hannah are travelling to Sierra Leone

Kayleigh. She is on placement at The Briars youth residential centre in Nottingham diocese.

“I cannot contain my gratitude and excitement and I truly acknowledge that this programme is a once in a lifetime.”

Christopher. He is on placement at Walsingham House in Brentwood

“With merely days to go, I am filled with anticipation, excitement, wonder while also filled with slight apprehension. How will people react to my presence there? Will it live up to expectations? Most of all though, how will I communicate the stories of those I meet with people upon my arrival back home?  I ask you to pray for not only for me but also all of the other gappers. May we be safe and gain inspiration from all those we encounter.

Siobhan. She is on placement at Newman University in Birmingham

Siobhan wrote in her blog : “Although we may see some things or hear some stories that are difficult, I am looking forward to seeing the progress that has been made and the resilience of the communities.”

Hannah. She is on placement with the Youth Ministry Team in Hexham and Newcastle. “In order to prepare the trip, we have been learning more about social justice, sustainable development and the culture especially linked to Sierra Leona”.

Ciara, Aleks, Isabel and Sophie are travelling to Nicaragua and El Salvador

Ciara from The Briars youth residential centre in Nottingham diocese told us: “I am particularly excited to be working with partners who work on issues of gender equality”. She also said: “We are embarking on a trip that is going to have its challenges, but that overall will fill us with a renewed hope and dedication to the work we are carrying out this year.”

Aleks is on placement at St Mary’s Academy in Blackpool, she said: “I can’t wait to experience it all” and “meeting people we pray for” […].

Isabel volunteer at St Cassian’s youth retreat centre in Portsmouth diocese told to our team: “I cannot wait to meet so many different people and listen to their thoughts and stories around their lives and experiences.”

Sophie from Leeds Trinity University shared: “I am certain will be one of the most memorable things I will do.”

Applications are open for a September 2018 start – the deadline is 19th February 2018.



Harleston parishioners are committed to ending poverty in the developing world

Fressingfield Cafod Stall

Harleston parishioners have raised over £750 for CAFOD’s Connect2 Peru

An amazing team of Harleston parishioners have raised over £750 for CAFOD’s Connect2 Peru by holding several stalls at Fressingfield Produce Market during 2017. Mary Kirk has sold produce to raise money for charity for the last two years along with a couple of ardent CAFOD supporters, Mark and Shirley Kalinauckas. The collected money is going to use to support small-scale farming families in Peru.

Mary described their reasons for helping CAFOD campaign: “We are committed to ending poverty in the developing world, and to combating the effects of climate change, supporting refugees and migrants, and living more simply. We want to stand in solidarity with those who have less.”

The team of volunteers decided to increase their reach and move the stall to the Fressingfield Produce Market. The stall is held six times a year and offers an opportunity for local people to sell produce to the community.

East Anglia CAFOD Coordinator Jane Crone, said: “A big thank you to Mary, Shirley and all the others who are involved with the CAFOD stall in Fressingfield.  It’s fantastic that they are so committed to raising money for those in need overseas and that they’re doing so in a way that brings the community together.  The money raised in 2017 will make an enormous difference to rural communities in Peru and we look forward to seeing what 2018 has to bring.”

The money raised by the stall goes to CAFOD’s Connect2 Peru scheme. The parish of Bungay St Edmunds and Harleston, is a Connect2 Peru parish, meaning they hear about and support the work that CAFOD’s partner organisations in Peru do, supporting small-scale farming communities as well as human rights work. CAFOD has been working in Peru for 50 years, meaning that the money raised will be building on half a decade of unwavering support.

Each month the CAFOD stall sells freshly-baked cakes, sausage rolls, eggs, honey, as well as plants and vegetables.  All are supplied by Shirley, Mary and a core group of loyal supporters who never fail to provide every time the stall is held.

Find out more about CAFOD’s Connect2 scheme here.


Christmas Gifts. Grace and Elizabeth have helped to transform lives and communities

11-year-old twins shun birthday presents to help less fortunate children at Christmas

11-year-old twins shun birthday presents to help less fortunate children at Christmas

We interviewed Grace and Elizabeth to find out more about these lovely twins, who decided to forego presents for their eleventh birthday and instead asked for donations to buy charity gifts. Their gift will help build a community toilet, provide care for a mum and baby, as well as give one meal to someone living in poverty for every person who attended their party.

The two Peterborough twins had a simple and wonderful idea. We asked them how they were both feeling after helping people living in poverty?

Elizabeth: It makes us happy to know we can improve someone’s life. Learning about the gifts and other communities has inspired me to be a teacher when I am older so that I can help others and teach them about the things I have learned.

Grace: My favourite gift was the mother and baby gift which helps pay for pre-and postnatal care and vaccinations as my oldest brother and his wife are expecting a baby next year. I know that she is going to be safe and now, another mother is going to be safe as well”.

We asked whether members of their class were amazed with this great idea.  

Grace: At first, our friends were really surprised that we didn’t want presents but then they thought we were doing the right thing. It has even inspired them to do the same and fundraise.

Their mother, Angela, said this about her generous daughters. “The girls had a lovely party, and were delighted with the response from their friends, meaning they could make a difference to so many people’s lives”. She also explained, “it was a simple idea really. People spend an awful lot of money on gifts for birthdays and this is a great opportunity to help others who are less fortunate”.

The World Gifts that were purchased by the girls are supplied by CAFOD. In the decade since we began selling the alternative range of Christmas gifts, we have helped to transform lives and communities by providing 104,000 school starter kits, 57,000 goats and 40,000 chickens. Gifts range from £5 for emergency water to £27 for the gift of play and £54 to build a greenhouse.

If you are inspired by this story, it’s not too late to order World Gifts in time for Christmas!  Call 0808 14 000 14 by noon on Thursday for next day delivery, or order a gorgeous ecard at cafod.org.uk/worldgifts right up until Christmas morning!