Campaigning on behalf of the world’s poor: CAFOD’s MP reception at Parliament

Two parishioners from Southwark, David Murray and Thomas Kimaru, have spoken with MPs in Parliament to ensure the interests of the world’s poorest people will be kept in mind during the upcoming general election.

On Monday 24 April, sixty supporters of  CAFOD travelled from across the country to meet with MPs from different political parties at Speaker’s House in Parliament. David and Thomas met with MPs to speak to the politicians about maintaining commitments to supporting people living in poverty through UK aid and action to tackle climate change.

David said: “We have to make sure that when we make trade deals, there is not a trade off with climate change. We have to make sure that the aid budget is not watered down and make sure that we are the ones holding the government in power to account.

“I have written and also spoken to my MP, Liberal Democrat Tom Brake, many times about the climate and the importance of the aid budget, both of which I believe he is in favour of protecting.”

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Thomas Kimaru supporting CAFOD’s campaign ‘Power to Be’

Thomas added: “I have been giving money to charity for over ten years, but I think campaigning for charities is worth so much more. Time is so precious and it is the little things you do that can make a massive difference.

“It was so great to meet with MPs tonight and speak about the effects and impacts of international aid around the world.”

Commons Speaker the Rt Hon John Bercow MP told the reception:”For my part, I always think the greatest moral challenge of our times is to try to do something about the gross crisis and disfiguring scar of global poverty.

“The fact that 1,000 million people around the world exist on less than a dollar a day and very, very, very large numbers of people besides exist on only moderately more than that is, frankly, a source not only of anxiety but of real shame to us all.”

The campaigners at the Parliamentary reception are CAFOD ‘MP Correspondents’, supporters who write to MPs on international development issues such as the impact of climate change and trade practices.

CAFOD is encouraging Catholics to ask election candidates to support UK commitments on tackling poverty overseas and climate change, as well as working to ensure that Britain remains an outward-looking and welcoming nation.

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Speaker of the House, John Bercow

Neil Thorns, CAFOD’s Director of Advocacy, said: “It is so great to see local constituents raising their voices before the general election and making their local political representatives aware of issues that are important to them.

“Pope Francis himself warns that people living in poverty can often be an ‘afterthought’ in political discussions and that’s why it’s so important that we remind candidates of the need to remain an outward-looking nation – one that cares for the interests of people in the world’s poorest communities.

“This is why the commitment to maintaining UK support for overseas aid is crucial for saving lives and pulling people out of poverty.”

Why East Africa needs you : a lunch-talk with Dc Tesfa Mahari.

Thank you to Streatham and Clapham United Nations Association who organised a simple lunch on Saturday, 29th April 1.00pm to find out why East Africa needs your help.

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A woman from South Sudan collecting wild leaves to eat. Photo by David Mutua

The event was held at the English Martyrs Church lower hall (2 Mitcham Lane, Streatham, SW16 6NN) to understand why East Africa needs us . Guests were invited to share a simple bread and cheese lunch, with a lecture that talks about the East African Famine.

The talk’s principal lecturer was Dr. Tesfa Mehari, from the International Business and Economics Department of the University of Greenwich. She discussed the causes, immediate needs and longer term solutions for the East African crisis.

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Food distributions in South Sudan; Photos taken by David Mutua

This event aimed to raise funds and awareness for these communities suffering severely of hunger caused by long periods of drought. The proceeds from this event will be split between UNICEF and CAFOD. More information available here.

Our thanks goes out to Sarah and her United Nations Association group who organised this.

A huge story about a tiny fish in Tooting

Jed Murphy, a CAFOD volunteer in the Southwark Diocese spent this weekend at Our Lady of the Assumption in Tooting, South London as part of the Lent Fast Day appeal.

I have lived in this part of South London for most of my life – but had never known that this lovely, vibrant and very welcoming Parish existed on the borders of Tooting, Streatham & Mitcham.

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The Church of Our Lady of the Assumption, Tooting (Phot0: CAFOD Southwark)

This year’s Lent Fast Day talk focussed on an amazing CAFOD project that provides families in the poorest parts of Zambia with tiny  tilapia fish together with the tools & training to build ponds in order to farm them.

Through this initiative, families are able to stand on their own two feet, selling their fish at the market and sharing what they have with the most vulnerable in their community.

It is a truly inspiring story.

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A CAFOD Lent Fast Day poster, showing the incredible story of Florence & the talapia fish

As approach Fast Day this Friday (10th March), we are encouraged to eat a simple lunch or supper and give the money we save to support other families.  In doing so we demonstrate our faith and tangibly help change the lives of others.

A donation of just £4 will buy 100 of those tiny talapia fish.  £20 will provide the materials to build a pond.  Please give what you can today.

The appeal went down very well in the Parish, and we also had requests from two parishioners who wanted to get involved as CAFOD Volunteers.  It’s a really great way for us to put our faith into action.  If you’d like to help & support CAFOD’s work in the community more information can be found here.

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The sanctuary at Our Lady of the Assumption (Photo: CAFOD Southwark)

A huge thank you to Fr Patrick and  all the parishioners who made so welcome.