It all started with, “Why not?”

Meg, a CAFOD Media Volunteer, shares the story of the newest CAFOD coordinator, Andy Wansbury. Here she tells us how Andy began his journey as a volunteer.

“I used to be a forensic photographer,” Andy recalls. He had been in the Forensic

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A group photo from Lent Fast Day 2016–when it all started for Andy

Science Service for 12 years until 2011. Since then he had been at home, caring for his daughter. And then CAFOD reached out to him. “Eileen Hayes from CAFOD came to speak at the Lent Fast Day 2016 in my parish and asked for volunteers. I thought it was a call for me as I had always been interested in CAFOD work,” he says. He had always wanted to be a parish speaker, so when they finally asked him to be a part of the family, he just thought, “Why not?”


Why volunteer?

Andy began his CAFOD journey by giving talks in school. “Last September, there was a private school in Lewisham who needed a volunteer. I underwent training in the summer,” Andy explains. The training would occur twice a year, for a full day. “And soon I was giving talks for about 20 minutes in schools and parishes, about what CAFOD does and what we are all about.” There are also various volunteering opportunities for other aspiring volunteers who would like to do something else.

Andy had recently become the new volunteer campaign Co-ordinator for the deaneries of Bexley, Greenwich, Gravesend, Bromley and Lewisham. I thought, “My, what huge responsibility this is!” it all seemed so overwhelming. But he patiently explained that his role is mostly to act as a support person. Whenever there is a campaign, he is there to extend a hand if needed, but not necessarily having to be directly involved. “I am still getting the grips of it, ” he admits.  His latest assignment is trying to help with the committee appeal for East Africa. He is also hoping to recruit motivated volunteers to promote CAFOD campaigns in parishes.

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Andy sporting his signature look

Because of his new role, Andy is every where CAFOD takes him. He would show up in his Harley-Davidson, wearing black leather boots, navy trousers, and of course, a CAFOD shirt. He believes in making a first impression, and quite an impression at that. “It makes people remember you. And when they remember you they remember what you say, and the message you’d like to imprint on them.”

 

Discover the latest campaigns here

Many thanks, Andy, for all your fantastic work so far!

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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.

How the young show their love for our Common Good

Meg, a CAFOD Southwark Media Volunteer, recently enjoyed two wonderful examples in the Diocese of Southwark how the young showed their love for our Common Good as they heard about Climate Change and CAFOD’s Share a Green Heart Campaign.

Comments from Meg:

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One of the young participants in Eileen’s liturgy, proudly presenting her heart art.

It’s always interesting to see how the young perceive our planet.

As part of CAFOD’s Share a green heart campaign last St. Valentine’s Day, children shared what the world meant to them.

The catechists, from Christ Church, held a liturgy for the children on Sunday, 19 February. During mass, about 40 children, ranging in age from three to five years, sang (complete with hand gestures) the song “He’s got the whole world in his hands.”

They were also read the creation story. When asked what they loved about the world, the children were quick with their answers: Butterflies! Sharks! Stars! Even the parents seemed equally excited to see so much youthful enthusiasm. It was the first time the catechists, led by Eileen, held a liturgical campaign for the children.

“It was really good,” recalls Eileen. “They were really engaged. The world seemed very real to them. I was glad I was able to use my CAFOD resources to explain about Laudato Si to them and to their parents.”

The children also received some stickers from their arts and crafts activity, which they were more than happy to take home with them.

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Children who came to Marine’s house

At a second memorable event, says Meg, CAFOD supporter Marine in London Bridge took a more personal approach.

She invited Borough mothers and their children into her home, where she’d set up arts and crafts, and then just chatted with them.

Marine asked the children what they liked about the environment?

 “I like to play football in the grass,” said one boy while one little girl described her appreciation by making a bird out of clay. The children then drew, took pictures and made felt green hearts.

At the end of their two-hour activity, they took home the fruits of their labour, along with the green heart stickers.

Marine said : “I was really happy to promote CAFOD and start a conversation with Borough mothers and their children.”

 “It’s always a delight when young individuals participate in these campaigns”, says Meg. “After all it’s the children who will benefit most from a better and greener world. “May we all work together to make sure the butterflies and birds and sharks stay alive for our Common Home”.

 

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