A very special pilgrimage – IX

The last day in El Salvador before the trip back to the UK the following day.  What a wonderful way to spend the day at a CAFOD project.  Debbie went with 11 other pilgrims to the community at Puentecitos, a small village near the border of Guatemala, who are improving community life by opening small businesses and using organic farming methods. This is the community th

at is featured in Connect 2 El Salvador scheme.

Debbie with Erasmus

They were met by Erasmus, one of the project leaders.  Sadly his father-in-law had just died in an accident and Debbie says, “despite that, he wanted to remain with us till his replacement came.  He said that our presence and support was a great help to him! I was so moved.”

 

We met Julia and her lovely family.  They were the featured family in CAFOD’s geography pack for primary school and it was wonderful to see how they had grown with a new addition to the family!

New addition to the family

Some of Julia and Fedel’s family

The group were told about all the projects that the community were involved in with CAFOD’s support working through the local partner Solidarity CVX.

>>  See here for more information about the Connect 2 project

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Tortilla made my Julia’s eldest daughter

The group were given a tour of Julia’s home and saw the chickens, pigs, sacks of corn from the previous harvest, hand-made baskets and shampoo.  Such a joy to see the community so empowered!  They were then made even more welcome with a wonderful lunch cooked by Julia’s eldest daughter on a stove using wood.  Debbie noted

“I was breathing in the smoke from the wood  even from where I was sitting and it struck me how the family have to breath in these unhealthy fumes everyday!  It made me realise  how important our Power to Be campaign was to get the World bank to invest in renewable and safe energy”

>>  Sign the petiton to the World Bank

Before the lovely lunch the community sang to their visitors

Then came the lunch which was so lovingly prepared for us.

“I was surrounded by the community and could hardly speak more than 5 Spanish words but we got on great.  Our driver was invited for lunch too and he had a Google translator on his mobile phone.  With that, we had a fun and interesting conversation.  Just goes  to show how technology can help!”

 

Partaking in the lunch provided by the Puentecitos community

 

After lunch, the community were so keen for us to see how their efforts literally bore fruit.

Showing the produce of the land

“We were taken to the neighbour’s land to show us their numerous fruit trees.

It was fantastic to see first hand what I have been sharing with volunteers and supporters in the UK.

I can see how empowered  and dignified people are.  They don’t want hand outs.  They are determine to improve their lives by putting in effort and time to get there.  It has certainly paid off!”

 

Little ones enjoying the air condition van

 

The little ones were thrilled to sit in the air conditioned van and watch a cartoon!

 

 

 

 

Community at prayer

The community pray together every Thursday and they always pray for CAFOD.  How wonderful we are thought about and prayed for too.

It was a shame that Edelmira (who was the featured person for Harvest 2017) couldn’t be with us as the local transport left before she could get to the stop but she sent her warm wishes to all of us.

Everyone came away full of hope and Joy.

Great to meet Julia in person

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

>> Find out more about El Salvador

 

More than academic performance at St Paul School – Milton Keynes

The new Year 12 Sixth Formers at Saint Paul’s School in Milton Keynes are exploring ideas for extending their personal development through curricular enrichment. This could mean many things,  for example volunteering for community service.

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Cathy talks to Year 12 students – St Paul School Milton Keynes

Cathy Stormonth, our CAFOD Education volunteer was very happy to talk to the Year 12 group and give them some useful ideas.  Some students are already working with the local primary Catholic schools helping with reading and supporting other areas of learning. The schools are also keen to see their  past students return to take part in CAFOD activities too. This could be leading an assembly, a pilgrimage, a class workshop or supporting the school’s CAFOD campaigning or fundraising activities.

The students were particularly interested in the ‘Power to be’ campaign and were concerned about the World Bank’s limited investment in sustainable energy (only 3% of its total budget). The Sixth Form Chaplain Sharon Robinson was enthusiastic about helping with more publicity and posters about the ‘Power to be’ campaign. She felt that students would be very keen to campaign and raise awareness of this massive global challenge, as one in five children globally lacks access to electricity.

‘Sustainable solar energy is such an obvious solution to improving the lives of the poorest in African countries.’

>> Sign the Power to Be petition here

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Cathy also told students about other CAFOD fundraising activities and advised them on how to get involved not just at the school but also in their wider parish communities. Cathy challenged students to be entrepreneurs and lobbyists, to raise funds for great global causes and to protest about injustices which keep people in poverty.  The reaction to these ideas was very positive and Cathy will continue to work with staff at St Paul’s to support students who want to get involved.

>> Add your voice to the thousands by signing the Power to Be petition

 

Children at Bishop Parker School learn about “Power to be”

Bishop Parker School took part in CAFOD’s ‘Power to be’ campaign and added their voices to thousands across the country.

Cathy explaining the impact of climate change to year six pupils

Cathy Stormonth, CAFOD Education volunteer, delivered a series of workshops to Years 3 to 6.  Through these, the children were able to appreciate the impact that solar energy can make to rural villages in Kenya. With CAFOD’s help these villages had solar panels installed which transformed the lives of many families. Energy supply has had a positive impact on children’s education, as they can now study after dark.

>> Find out how solar energy can help people out of poverty

The children made some very attractive ‘Power to be’ sun ray displays where they expressed their views about sustainable solar energy and wanted the World Bank to invest more in this area. The sun rays are now prominently displayed on the school’s walls.

Assistant Headteacher Jane Shone was very pleased with the displays which showed how strongly the pupils felt about ensuring every child across the world had access to electricity.  They are now aware that reliable and safe access to electricity helps lift people out of poverty, and opens children’s opportunities to education and a better life. Solar power has helped some Kenyan pupils who live in remote areas have the power to achieve their dreams and aspirations.

You can help make a change by signing the Power to Be petition here