CAFOD Essentials Day at a glance: Preparation with smiles

CAFOD Essentials Day, which occurred on Saturday 9th September, 2017, is a day dedicated to preparing CAFOD volunteers for the upcoming Harvest Fast Day and updating the volunteer community about campaigns and other activities. Sidney Magdaong, a CAFOD intern from the US, recounts his experience throughout the day:

Having volunteered for CAFOD for only a few weeks, there is a lot to learn about this vast organization brimming with opportunity for fellow volunteers. From campaigns and social media, to speaking training for Mass, Essentials equipped me with an extended amount of information about what CAFOD is currently working on and how I, and many other volunteers, can get involved.

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Opening speech about CAFOD’s work in Latin America at the commencement of Essentials Day

I spent Essentials Day working as the booth-runner for the Refugee Campaign and as the photographer. The refugee booth caught the attention of many volunteers, most of which had already heard about the campaign and have been at work to spread the message about supporting refugees in their own parishes and even schools. It surprised me at how passionate the volunteers were to advocate for the safety of refugees, which has become a serious crisis in recent years.

Take action to support refugees in your own community

As a photographer, I was able to hover around the various workshops and catch a glimpse of CAFOD’s key focuses. The workshop that most interested me was the training for speaking at Mass led by a professional coach. With Harvest Day approaching, confidence is important in spreading the message, and this workshop bolstered the skills needed to advocate. While in London, I plan on being a speaker for Mass, and the training provided everything from speaking speed to powerful presentation, something that is central to advocating the importance of Fast Day.

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Speaking coach training volunteers on how to effectively deliver the Fast Day message at Mass

Mass training was well in conjunction with the workshop on El Salvador, the focus for CAFOD. This workshop easily received the most amount of attendees, all intent on listening to the struggles of El Salvadorian farmers and youth. 

Get involved with this year’s Harvest Day and support El Salvador

With all the exciting activities happening, Essentials Day was also the perfect opportunity to meet fellow CAFOD volunteers. I ran a photo booth, taking pictures of several volunteers sporting CAFOD gear and props to show their appreciation and commitment for CAFOD’s mission and values.

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One of our volunteers posing for the CAFOD photo booth

The smiles they gave were more than enough to tell me how happy they were to work towards building a better community through CAFOD, a common theme I’ve seen throughout my few weeks as an intern. At the end of the day, that smile was present on my face as I watched several volunteers receive certificates for volunteering for 1, 5, 10, 15, and even 20+ years at CAFOD. This dedication and happiness to serve is something I want to work towards while interning at CAFOD, and Essentials Day was, essentially, exactly what I needed to reach that goal.

 

 

Acclaimed Electronic Duo Inspire Greenwich Students to Act on Climate Change

By CAFOD – Southwark Office

Thanks to Hal St. John and Cherrie Anderson, founders of the electronic band ‘Ooberfuse’ from Woolwich, students from St. Ursula’s Convent School in Greenwich had a musical workshop on renewable energy.

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Students showcasing their lyrics

The critically acclaimed duo visited the school on Monday 10th July, giving students the opportunity to learn about CAFOD’s latest Power To be campaign and the significance of renewable energy for the world’s poorest communities. The students wrote their own lyrics, inspired by the campaign, and even had the chance to sing and showcase their work with Ooberfuse. The school hall may have been a contrast to the band’s latest venues, the Ministry of Sound and the O2, but everyone had a fantastic time.

Both Hal and Cherrie were really pleased with how successful the day was. Hal was especially impressed by the lyrics written by the students. “It is always a tall order to make scientific problems attractive to a young audience, as usually their minds are anywhere else. But it helped that we focused it around things that they already knew about.  The real test was when they were writing their own lyrics but when they read them back and they were such powerful lyrics, it was great to see.”

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Learning about ‘Power To Be’

Ooberfuse was formed in 2010, and within just a few years their quirky and upbeat songs have been praised by many, including Boy George, The Guardian and BBC 6’s Tom Robinson. Their music has since taken them all over the world from Madrid, where they played for two million young Catholics on World Youth Day, to Iraq, where they played at a refugee camp in Erbil. Both social justice and inequality are strong themes within their music. They are also soon to release a song about the plight of refugees. Whilst promoting social justice and their Catholic faith through music, the Ooberfuse was motivated to get involved with CAFOD’s work, and run a workshop for the students at St. Ursula’s Convent School.

Cherrie was originally from the Philippines where Typhoon Haiyan struck in 2013. “Climate change was just an idea but when Typhoon Haiyan hit my hometown it became so real. That is when we decided to devote our music to social justice and raising awareness about important issues.  After the typhoon CAFOD  were one of the first aid agencies on the ground responding to the need, so it’s great to be involved with them now.”

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‘Power To Be’ display, created by students 

Through our Power To Be campaign, communities have been encouraged to lobby the World Bank to invest more in local renewable energy. Despite the fight to reduce worldwide poverty, only less than 3% of their expenditures go towards renewable energy. Through our campaign, we are asking the UK’s representative at the World Bank, Melanie Robinson, to use her influence to ensure that children everywhere have the power to achieve great things and lift themselves out of poverty, without harming the planet.

Our message is reaching many people, and thanks to a fun-packed day, students were made aware of our responsibility to be stewards for our planet. “People in places like Kenya are suffering because they do not have access to electricity. Around the world, one in six people don’t have electricity; that’s equal to 1.2 billion people and we should do something about it.” (Saumu, Year 8).

School Chaplain, Susan Elderfield, was also inspired by the duo’s message, “I don’t think we should forget the message of today; how we should look after the planet. Each one of us has a responsibility – from switching off the lights to getting involved with NGOs to becoming politicians. It’s our planet and our job to look after it.”

To engage in our Power To Be campaign, you can sign our petition online, order action cards at our shop to sign within your parish, or organise a Power To Be Liturgy to continue to raise awareness, pray and spread the message.

 

Understanding CAFOD workshop on 4 February 2017: Come along!

CAFOD Southwark is organising an “Understanding CAFOD” workshop.

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CAFOD volunteers discussing about CAFOD Harvest Fast Day Harvest

Come to find out all about how, why and where the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development works to transform the lives of poor communities across the world. Learn about how you can get involved as a volunteer and share your time to make a difference.

 

You have 2 location and date to Choose from :

You have two locations to choose from – Please book online or call us on 020 8466 9901:

  1. Saturday 28th January at the St Francis of Assisi parish, 160 The Grove, London, E15 1NS
  2.  Saturday 4th February (workshop one: 10am -1:55pm) at Amigo Hall, Lambeth, London SE1 7HY, next to St Georges Cathedral. This workshop will held be just before the Lent fast Day briefing. Special guest: Clare Dixon CAFOD head of Latin America. Register here