Our new Campaign coordinator – Ged Nolan

Ged Nolan is one of our amazing volunteers who has been a wonderful example of how to put one’s faith into action. Seeking a new purpose after retirement, Ged was inspired by CAFOD’s commitment to work with people who devote their lives to defending the rights of the poorest and most marginalised around the world.

Ged Nolan – a Volunteer with many hats!

Ged felt that his experienced in working with and providing aid to many people in Africa and Asia would come in handy.

Ged with other School volunteers at a training day

Ged came forward to volunteer for CAFOD as an Educational Volunteer in April 2015 when he saw it advertised in the parish newsletter.  He now visits local catholic schools, where he carries out assemblies and workshops. He has promoted CAFOD’s campaigns, such as ‘Power To Be‘, ‘Speak up for CAFOD‘ and the ‘Lampedusa Cross pilgrimage‘.

For Ged, the inclusion of young people into CAFOD’s work is vital to ensure that CAFOD’s mission and values carry on.

Ged in is office volunteer role

In late 2015, Ged offered to work in the volunteer centre as an office volunteer wanting to give more time to the cause he believed in so much.

Then in 2016, Ged agreed to be the Parish contact at his parish of St Joseph’s (Gerrads Cross).  Through this and his other roles, Ged was starting to get more familiar with CAFOD’s work and enjoyed liaising with other volunteers so stepping into the role of Area coordinator for the SE Bucks Pastoral area was an easy transition.

Ged having coordinator training from the campaigns team

In May 2017 he took on the role and hit the ground running.  He also signed up to be an MP correspondent! In July 2017 Ged allowed his arm to be twisted to take on the role of Campaign Coordinator for the Northampton Diocese as he was already doing that role to a small extent.

>> Find out about volunteering for CAFOD

 

Ged said he accepted this role because:

Ged supporting CAFOD campaign Power to Be

 

“ I am passionate about having the opportunity to stimulate, grow and help the existing and potential Campaign Volunteers.  Volunteers play a vital role in helping to change the root causes of injustice which keep our brothers and sisters living in poverty.  With their support we can help fight inequality and injustice”.

 

 

In his new role, Ged will be working closely with current campaign volunteers as well as those keen to support CAFOD campaigns in other ways. He will also network with parishes and other organisations to help maximise the impact of CAFOD campaigns.

Ged gives a talk about CAFOD’s work

Energising and training current volunteers, as well as enthusing people to join our campaigns will be another major aspect of Ged’s new role.

It is clear that Ged is motivated from the heart to help others. Once you have met Ged, it is impossible not to be moved by his compassion towards those around him, as well as his tremendous generosity in terms of time and effort.  He is always ready to lend a hand and has warmed himself to those whom he works with by his gentleness and good sense of humour.

Thank you Ged for all you do. You are a great example of the true spirit of CAFOD’s volunteers!

>> Fine out how you can volunteer for CAFOD

 

Pat Taylor – an inspirational Volunteer

CAFOD’s work brings hope and empowers communities living in poverty across the world. Volunteers play a big part in this.

Pat Taylor – Parish Volunteer

This month’s volunteer feature is Patricia Taylor from the Parish of John Henry Newman (High Wycombe). Pat has been a Parish volunteer with CAFOD since the early 1990s.  She has always been eager to raise awareness of those living in poverty and injustice and being a teacher for 24 years gave her the opportunity to do this in the schools she worked in. During Lent, she would encourage her pupils to participate in a 24-hour fast to raise money.

Pat explains about Connect2 Brazil project

When she retired, Pat was keen to continue to raise awareness in her parish and took on the role of parish volunteer. Being a good communicator and involved very much in the life of the parish, Pat took on the role with enthusiasm and has done so much over the years to promote CAFOD’s work in the parish.  With the support of the parish priest, Pat got the parish to sign up to Connect 2 Brazil. A lot of the donations come from the coffee mornings held after mass where Pat can be seen talking to people about CAFOD’s work over a cuppa. Over the years, the parish has raised nearly £9k for the project in Sao Paulo.  Fantastic!

Find out more about the Connect2 scheme >>

Pat has a wonderful ability of evangelising and encouraging others to be involved even now at the age of 83 years! To see opportunities and go for it!  She has been known to bring along over 8 people with her to supporters’ days and encouraging others to learning more about CAFOD’s work.  She has been the force behind Fast Days in her parish with the help of her parish priest Fr Joseph and others. Really amazing!

When asked about what encompasses the CAFOD ethos in her role of volunteering, she replied, “CAFOD helps anyone in need, regardless of beliefs. I love the way they work by empowering communities.  I want to do what I can to be part of that vision.”

We thank Pat for giving her time, skills and talents in promoting CAFOD over the years. You have been such an inspiration to the community.  We thank God for you!

To find out more about volunteering for CAFOD, please contact us at northampton@cafod.org.uk or 01844 274 723

An inspirational update from Myanmar

We were thrilled to have Julian Pinzon Godoy, CAFOD’s Programme Officer for Myanmar (formerly Burma), visit St Teresa’s parish in Princes Risborough on 6 June 2017 to give us an update of CAFOD’s work there while in the UK.

Julian with friend James having their first cuppa in the UK

Ged (office Volunteer) explains about the Northampton Diocese to Julian

Julian visited the CAFOD volunteer centre first and was delighted to meet up with Debbie Purfield (Coordinator – Northampton diocese) and the office volunteers.  Ged Nolan explained a little about the diocese which fascinated Julian.  We were also pleased to have Julian’s friend, James, who accompanied him for the visit.

Cake and tea – a lovely start to the evening

What better way to start the evening than to enjoy a chat over tea and cake! The CAFOD group at St Teresa’s were up to their usual standard of producing a marvelous selection of home baked cakes and our guests thoroughly enjoyed it.  Julian commented, “this is the first tea I have had since being in the UK and it is great!  The cakes are so delicious!  I know the people back in Myanmar would love to hear about this and I shall be sharing it with them.”

Betty Cresswell (member of the CAFOD group) writes :

Julian – programme officer Myanmar

“What an enlightening evening it was! CAFOD was asked to help in Myanmar in 1993 and such was the need that in 1994 the country was rated a priority for aid.  There are 130 different ethnic groups in the country and 25% of the population lives below the poverty line.  Education is very limited and of poor quality.  Unless the children speak Burmese there is almost no hope of them receiving any significant schooling.  Among the ethnic groups living around the perimeter of the country there is a variety of languages and dialects, no money and very few if any teachers.  Without outside help this situation will probably never change.

Julian explains about CAFOD’s work in Myanmar

Rural poverty is almost the greatest challenge. The communities that border India and Bangladesh have no schools, no medical facilities, no electricity and very little, if any, safe water.  The yearly monsoon destroys the lives of the poorest communities almost every year. We were shocked to hear that the people have to rebuild their homes, often from scratch, at the end of the season, and all without government help!

Disaster Risk Reduction – Myanmar

CAFOD saw the need to work to support the community and promote inclusivity and equality among the people. It was essential to teach the rural communities about climate resilient agriculture and how to be better farmers.  It was equally important to work for peaceful co-existence with the many other communities.  CAFOD set up discussion groups and peace conferences to stop fighting amongst the many ethnic and religious groups and put a great deal of effort into working with the youth of the country to promote these values.  This all still goes on and is a slow process.

Conflict transformation – training

Fortunately the Catholic priests are seen as important leaders of communities. The Church has a good structure within the country with one cardinal and sixteen bishops working together with over four hundred priests.

The money that we raise goes to help with planning of events necessary to get people together to promote the improvement of life for all and to enable the locals to build capacity and improve their lives.  This is making a great difference.  Whilst there is an improvement in the new government under Ang San Suu Kyi, change is slow and CAFOD expects to be in the country for a long time to come.

>> Find out more about our work in Myanmar

Julian’s work in Myanmar isn’t to sink wells or dig fish ponds, but to journey alongside our partners providing support and encouragement. Bringing together, training and empowering local groups and community leaders to speak out and work on issues that matter most to people on the ground.

It is the expertise that CAFOD staff can offer that is so essential and useful to them all and is already improving lives. The challenge is great and they really need out support and prayers.”

>> Visit our website to donate

An inspired group

Marie Pennell, parish contact, said, “It was great to hear about the situation in Myanmar first hand and it inspires us to want to do more to support our brothers and sisters there!”  The group is already planning to hold an event during the week of action.

Thank you to the CAFOD group at St Teresa and all those who attended the evening. A big thank you to Julian for giving such an inspiring and thought-provoking session.  We know he will pass on our thoughts and prayers to our brothers and sisters in Myanmar when he returns.

>>  Find out more about how you can put your faith into action