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

 

Don’t miss it! Tomorrow at St Teresa’s Princes Risborough, our country rep talks about Myanmar

Myanmar country rep visit

Julian Pinzon Godoy, our Programme Officer from Myanmar will give an update on the situation in Myanmar.  This will be a very interesting talk as we will get a follow up from the community we heard about in Lent 2015.  He will share information about our different partners who are working on peacebuilding and advocacy, humanitarian capacity building and our Match Fund  project which focuses on livelihoods and climate resilient agriculture

Myanmar

Tuesday 6 June,  St Teresa’s Parish Hall, New Road, Princes Risborough HP27 0JN.  7pm for 7:30 – 8:30pm.cording online. You will need to sign up here.

 

 

You can also listen to Julian’s re

 

 

St Teresa’s gets walking for CAFOD

Spring is finally here.  The warm, gentle sunshine is irresistibly enticing. Whether it is barbecues, outdoor sports or gardening, we just want to be out and about. And if it is for a good cause, even better. This is why at St Teresa’s (Princes Risborough) we got our walking boots out on Sunday 7 May for our annual CAFOD sponsored walk.

St Teresa’s (Princes Risborough) all ready for the annual CAFOD Sponsored walk sponsored walk

The 24 walkers included the young and young at heart.  The walk started at the parish and headed up our part of the Chilterns in glorious sunshine.  So animated was the chatter that very few noticed the up hill climb, but for those who did, a few rustic benches provided a welcome opportunity to rest, get their breath back, restore their joints to working order and admire the fantastic views.  When we arrived at the top of Brush Hill there was a wonderful surprise: the wild bluebells were there in sheets, all opening in the Spring sunshine.  We walked on, greeting families of walkers and other more serious hikers, before following our leader, Marie, down the side of the golf course and back along the lanes to Monks Risborough.

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People found it such a lovely experience.

What a wonderful spread to come back to!

After the walk, we came back to a lovely spread:  home baked cakes and scones were waiting for us in the parish meeting room, including Nick Jepson’s first ever carrot cake! It was all so yummy!

 

Marie – parish volunteer

 

 

Marie (our CAFOD parish contact) said, “It was a really wonderful day and I am delighted we raised over £1,374 to help those in need”

An outstanding amount!  Well done to all who took part and those who supported the day.

>> For more fundraising ideas see our website