Fishing for hope – the hope of our future

 Mick Shepherd is a CAFOD Volunteer from St Joseph in Greenwich. He lives near Norwood Lake. He is sharing with us his experience of how fishing is about hope and how hope is at the core of his volunteering. Mick has a more meaningful understanding of the joy of fishing and the hope of the catch. Here is what he says – 

Peter - a local fisherman at Norwood Lake

Peter our local fisherman is always hopeful of a great catch at Norwood Lake. We too should possess an abundance of hope.

‘Norwood Lake is quite near my house, a large lake teeming with fish and wildlife. I walk there most days but have never understood fishing – I see the same men sitting there every day, lines in the water, waiting for a catch. They always throw the fish back so I think, ‘What’s the point? Why spend every afternoon just sitting, waiting? Then yesterday I got it! – it’s about hope, they are sitting there and they are hoping! In fact, they are full of hope renewed with each day’s fishing!

Without hope, we ware all finished: in the morning we wake up hoping it will be fine; we go shopping, hoping to find the   things we need. We hope that the children have a good day at school (the first thing we ask when they get home): later on, we hope they will pass their exams; we arrange a holiday, hoping it will be sunny: we turn on the TV, hoping to see our favourite programme. When hospitalised and needing an operation, we hope it will be successful(we dread hearing ‘It’s hopeless, there’s no hope of recovery’). In prison, the only thing keeping prisoners alive is the hope that they will gain early release for good behaviour – without hope, imprisonment is a death sentence.

Peter - Bringing in the catch

The hope of the catch is symbolic of life’s hope

Once, I brought a pupil (Kriya, 10) to St. Joseph’s; Kriya was a Hindu, keen to learn about Christianity. He joined the children at Thursday mass while I led them in song. Afterwards I took him round the church, showing him the stations of the Cross and the statues. Afterwards he said ‘Mick, I think your religion is very sad’ (indicating Jesus on the Cross) ‘Hinduism is very joyful’.

I explained that the Cross was not the end of the story but its beginning, a symbol of hope, love and forgiveness , the empty Cross and empty tomb the ‘sure hope’ that Christians believed in.

 

Peter the Fisherman

Peter says that this lake is a peaceful sanctuary and so we are encouraged to always be peaceful and hopeful in life.

The work of CAFOD is based on giving people hope in some of the poorest and most deprived areas of the world: the old adage is true, ‘Give a man a fish and you will feed him for a day: teach a man how to fish, and you will feed him for a lifetime’. And this is precisely the approach adopted by CAFOD, one of giving people the wherewithal and the means to enable them to provide for themselves, their families and their communities. This enabling help gives people new hope, and this is why I continue to support CAFOD and its wonderful work.

The next time I walk round Norwood Lake, I shall have more understanding, not just of fishing but of the ‘sure hope’ we Christians all share’.

For hope – Proverbs 13:12 says ‘… is a desire fulfilled – is a tree of life’. We at CAFOD help our brothers and sisters to achieve their desires, which is like a tree ‘planted by the rivers of waters’. Refreshing waters that makes our desires bloom in the hope of the now and the hope of a better future –  what a catch is hope!

If you wish to volunteer for CAFOD, please take a look at the various roles on our website or call us at the Southwark Volunteer Center 020-8466-9901.

 

‘Fairtrade’ not ‘Fairly Traded’ – Andy Wansbury’s fight to keep Tea Farmers independent.

Andy Wansbury of St Thomas More in the Blexley Deanery is an ardent supporter of the Fairtrade ethos. He kindly shared with us his persistent challenge of the management of Sainsbury’s Crayford which is the largest branch in the country – over it’s use of the brand ‘Fairly Traded’ instead of the original ‘Fairtrade’. Read and see how Andy takes action and builds on the ongoing campaign “Don’t Ditch Fairtrade”.

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Andy Wansbury in front of Sainsbury’s Crayford

“When I first heard about Sainsbury’s replacing “Fairtrade” tea with “Fairly Traded” tea I was concerned because I normally shopped at Sainsbury’s.  I thought for a long time about how best to respond and then it occurred to me to use the Sainsbury’s feedback website “Tell Sainsbury’s”.  I spoke first to CAFOD, who advised me it would be better to write to the store manager, as this brings the issue to the attention to more of Sainsbury’s staff and not just those in the customer service department.

Before writing I checked out “Fairly Traded” tea in my local branch of Sainsbury’s, which is Crayford, the biggest branch in the country.  There was no Fairtrade tea on sale that day but there was plenty of Red Label “Fairly Traded” tea on sale.  Before leaving the store I asked for the store manager’s email address and explained why I wanted it.

To make sure I had all the relevant facts I researched “Fairly Traded” v Fairtrade on the internet; there were lots of useful information from the many supporters of the Fairtrade movement.  I found several suggested pro-forma letters (including CAFOD’s letter).  Inspired by them I composed my own letter in which I explained why I opposed Sainsbury’s dropping of the Fairtrade mark in favour “Fairly Traded”.  I detailed many of the concerns that are being raised about “Fairly Traded” v Fairtrade and asked Sainsbury’s to reverse their decision to drop Fairtrade.  I emailed the letter to the Crayford Store manager and placed a copy on the “Tell Sainsbury’s” feedback website.

Sainsbury_s _Waterloo_ Fairtrade protest-5

‘Fairtrade’ not ‘Fairly Traded’

I received a very bland initial reply from Sainsbury’s customer services department: it ignored almost all of the issues I raised.  I responded to Sainsbury’s asking them to clarify their answers and respond to items they had ignored.  I received a further reply expanding on a few points but still ignoring others.  I again challenge Sainsbury’s asking them to clarify some points and to answer the points that they had ignored.  Sainsbury’s replied saying they had given me an answer and would not give me a further answer.  I replied politely expressing my disappointment at their inability / refusal to answer all of the points I made.

The points which Sainsbury’s will not respond to include the fact that the use of the “Fairly Traded” term is confusing and is misleading customers in to thinking that “Fairly Traded” is the same as or is part of Fairtrade. They will not respond to the points made in the open letter from the Tea Farmers, this includes issues like farmers do not want Sainsbury’s to drop Fairtrade in favour of “Fairly Traded”, the farmers have a 50% share in the ownership of Fairtrade, and it is the farmers themselves who decide how to spend the premium that is paid on Fairtrade products.  In contrast, in Sainsbury’s “Fairly Traded” scheme the farmers have no ownership in any part of the scheme; they have to apply for money for projects to Sainsbury’s, who will then decide if the farmers can have money to spend on projects.

Sainsbury's Fairtrade protest

Campaigners outside the Sainsbury’s AGM have a clear message: Don’t ditch Fairtrade on its own-brand tea

When I wrote to Sainsbury’s I made the point that the Fairtrade system empowers the farmers because they are trusted to make their decisions on how best spend the Fairtrade premium where as the “Fairly Traded” scheme disempowered the farmers because they are required to submit their plans for projects for scrutiny before they can access the “Fairly Traded” premium.  Sainsbury’s reply shocked me “There are differing views on what empowerment means”.  Based on my understanding – if you take away a person’s ability to decide for themselves you disempower and disenfranchise them.

I am about to contact Trading Standards because term “Fairly Traded” is so close to Fairtrade that it confusing customers and misleading them into thinking that “Fairly Traded” tea is the same thing as or part of Fairtrade.  I wait to see how Trading Standards will respond.

In the Swahili language, ‘Kujichagulia’ means self-determination. Andy Wansbury is one of many who are fighting for the rights of Tea Farmers to remain self-determining. He strongly questions Sainsbury’s appropriation of the ‘Fairly Traded’ brand which is easily confused with the original ‘Fairtrade’ identifying mark of the indigenous Tea Farmers worldwide. Andy is spurred to action and he’ll interrogate the appropriateness of the use of the Fairly Traded label.

If you have been inspired and motivated by Andy’s determination to make right this injustice find out more now and take part in the day of action on 28 October.

Gratitude to and from Our CAFOD Volunteers

Several CAFOD volunteers have received awards honouring multiple years of dedicated service to CAFOD. Sidney Magdaong, a CAFOD intern, highlights some of the volunteers who have received these prestigious certificates.

A big thank you goes out to all of our CAFOD volunteers who have dedicated their time to serving CAFOD. As a sign of our appreciation for them, CAFOD has recently granted some milestone certificates honouring their dedicated volunteering efforts for multiple years of service.

Learn more about what it means to be a CAFOD volunteer

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Eileen with volunteers Roger Wright, Anne Unseld and Fred Mendonca

We as CAFOD are grateful for the post-awarding messages our volunteers have been sending us, and we would like to acknowledge some of them here. Grania Frazer, who has served CAFOD for 10 years, says “May I thank [CAFOD] for their THANK YOU for 10 years of volunteering. I had not realised that it was so long.” Another volunteer, John Foley, modestly, and yet powerfully states that “…the reward is just in helping CAFOD.”

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Anne Towner, a 10-year CAFOD volunteer

Some of our volunteers even have decades of volunteer experience under their belt. Long time volunteer Josephine Sands tells us “Thank you for my certificate received yesterday. It’s nice to have it… I started volunteering for CAFOD around 1995 when the office was in Dartford!”

Sign up here to get started as a volunteer

Eileen Hayes, a CAFOD administrator, says to one of our volunteers, “Whenever we meet or chat with volunteers, we are so inspired by the acts of kindness that you do. You give us a great hope that a fairer world is possible.” And a fairer world doesn’t just happen; it requires time, and it amazes us at how CAFOD volunteers are willing use their free time to build a better future. In fact, the summed total of all the years our volunteers have served is about 640 years! Clearly, a large part of CAFOD’s foundation hinges on the drive of our volunteers. We’ll have to make sure to celebrate once we hit 1000 years!

Even while receiving the certificates, many of our volunteers were still hard at work

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Eileen presenting a thank you cake to our office volunteers Gaynor and Liz

preparing and speaking at Mass for this past Fast Day–a sign of their continuous support. Though we have received several “Thank You” messages after delivering our certificates to them, the biggest gratitude goes to our volunteers. Thank you for your service and we hope for your continuing support and zeal for creating positive change in the world.