Speak up young people of Norwich!

This week, CAFOD volunteers visited the Catholic schools of the Norwich area. There they engaged Year 6 and Year 10 students in a series of activities in relation to the Speak up Week of Action as part of the Power to be Campaign.

The year 6, Saint Francis of Assisi students were introduced to the campaign with a couple of questions where they were asked to share with everyone what electricity they had already used up to that moment.

That question sure got them going! Charging phones, microwaving their porridge, toasting their bread and using cars to get to schools where a few among the shouted examples. Students quickly began to realise how much electricity they had already used during the past few hours of the day. This made it easy for them to understand, the importance of having electricity as a basic need all around the world and not just for the few.

One in six people worldwide do not have access to electricity. Students were surprised with this figure and CAFOD volunteers explained how 84% of people live in rural areas, where access to the traditional mode of electricity is much harder. As the saying goes; where there is a will there is a way, and CAFOD is supporting that way.

CAFOD helps to bring a different way of life with many new possibilities for the locals, by simply installing solar panels on the rooftops of rural homes. So how can we be the change? By speaking up!

That’s exactly what the Saint Francis of Assisi students did. CAFOD volunteers held a training for public speaking workshop with the students which involved a fun game of Lingo Bingo and a challenge to speak without ‘umming’ or ‘ahhing’, deviation or repetition (perhaps you’ve heard this on the radio). That sure got them practicing for whenever they would like to use their words to bring change in the world!

The year 10, Notre Dame High School students were given the chance to actually use their words to bring about change. The students wrote messages, pleas and suggestions to their influential person of authority, spanning from local members of parliament to leaders from the four corners of the world.

The teens used the statistical figures that had been discussed during an earlier activity to build their arguments. Donald Trump, Theresa May and even the local Norwich MP Chloë Smith were being challenged by the students to bring about a change. Here is an example of how the next generation has managed to use their words to action change:

“Dear MP of Norwich,
The percentages of poverty in 3rd world countries are astonishing and it has to change! Please attempt to take the 84% of people that do not have electricity in rural areas and find a way to fund charities to install renewable energy supplies that will be beneficial for the people of the country! They deserve to live like us!
Thank you, xoxo NDHS :)”

Work with us!

CAFOD East Anglia is currently looking for a Community Participation Coordinator East Anglia.

You would be responsible for recruiting and supporting a team of committed, inspired and motivated volunteers working in parish and school communities. You would contribute to the development and delivery of a regional parishioner, children and young people participation plans; be responsible for the delivery of the regional plan with a primary focus on one diocese; share accountability for regional fundraising, education, campaigns targets in line with the overall participation plans. The candidate is expected to be mobile and flexible to meet volunteers as required.

If you are motivated, possess strong interpersonal skills, enjoy working with others and want to join us, apply before 9 July.

> More information can be found on our website.

Meet a Parish Volunteer: Ann Bates

Ann became CAFOD’s Parish Volunteer for St John Payne’s parish in Colchester after Lent Fast Day and has been a wonderful member of CAFOD East Anglia ever since.

After she had decided to become a Parish Volunteer, I visited Ann, a former teacher, introducing several members of the congregation who she had encouraged to come to Mass with us. Hearing our preference for having two parish volunteers, she persuaded Sr. Gabriel to join her, and invited Father Jon to share lunch with us. The parish immediately donated £400 to the Ethiopian Food Crisis Appeal.

It seems that CAFOD has been in the parish newsletter ever since.Ann Bates

Ann visited many groups in the parish, speaking to them about the work that CAFOD does.  She has encouraged many willing people to host breakfasts, prayers for creation, Laudato Si’ liturgies and deanery harvest briefings, also helping to recruit volunteer in a parish down the road. On top of fundraising around the parish, they have doubled their donations from last harvest.  Most recently, St. John Payne raised £140 for the Lenten appeal with a soup lunch organised by Ann.

Looking back, the amount of work that Ann has done seems intimidating, but this comes of doing a little bit at a time with an infectious enthusiasm. She says “it is wonderful to raise money for this cause”.