Pray with us for Peru

Sophia White is a student part of Step Into the Gap programme in CAFOD. She is sharing with us what she has discovered while at CAFOD and raising our awareness on issues affecting Peru.  

Peru’s Vulnerabilities

In my more unreasonable and self-absorbed moments during lockdown, I have found it helpful to think back on the call with CAFOD’s Peru Programme Officer. During 2020, four different Presidents and four different Prime Ministers were in office, and children were only allowed outside for thirty minutes per day. These facts give some perspective about the relative freedom and stability we have here in the UK, while, unfortunately, also highlighting how insular our media proves us to be. 

Peru faces climate change and a lack of clean water

Peru is one of the countries most vulnerable to climate change in the world. With its position on the San Andreas Fault and the Pacific Ring of Fire, it is also one of the countries most vulnerable to natural disasters.

Find out more about effects of Climate Change on Peru

How Can Our Church Help ? 

Recently, I had an argument with a friend about the environment. “Why do so many Christians not seem to care about the environment?” I asked. “Why do so many environmentalists not seem to care about people?” was her reply, and is one which I have seen repeated in various publications. 

Help us join environmental defenders to protect Peru

Concern for the environment is very much intertwined with caring about people. This surely comes as no surprise to you, dear reader of a CAFOD blog, but it can’t really be stated enough. We must listen to the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor, and in learning more about CAFOD’s work, I find it increasingly difficult to see how we can listen to one without the other, or love God without caring for creation. Now back to Peru.

Find out how CAFOD is supporting Peru

Melting Glaciers and High Deforestation

Peru is heavily reliant on glaciers for its water supply for drinking, crops, livestock, and for generating energy. With melting glaciers, water supplies are predicted to drop significantly over the next twenty years, which will have a huge bearing on life in Peru over this time. 

Melting glaciers leading to rising water levels in Peru

Since 1968 there has been large-scale urbanisation in Peru which has led to significant environmental as well as demographic changes. 20-25% of Peru’s population live in poverty, and, before the pandemic, around 70% of people work in informal employment. This means that people live on what they earn on a daily basis, with very little savings. Woman are less likely to have access to higher educational and stable employment opportunities than men.  This has now risen to around 80%.  

60% of Peru is in the Amazon, which, like is the case in Brazil, is facing high levels of deforestation. One of the most important industry’s for Peru’s economy is mining. This is also often responsible for widespread social and environmental damage, particularly water pollution, and other health problems which can affect local communities. Those who speak out against the negative effects of the industry and campaign to protect the environment and protect their human rights often face threats, and in some cases have been killed. 

Help us make a change in Peru

What We Can Do

CAFOD’s partners work to help people defend their rights, and empower them to be active members of their communities and neighbourhoods. 

In indigenous anthropology, we are the earth and the earth is us. Our own Christian and western anthropologies may beg to differ, but I have found that there is a lot of wisdom in this and have found myself more regularly pondering on and praying about it. 

We invite you to watch a video about one of our partner’s projects in Peru and pray with us to make a difference.

Pray with us for Peru with our St Martin de Porres prayer card

Our Partner’s Projects in Peru

Walking for Water in the Diocese of Southwark

Ruth Sinclair-Jones is a CAFOD school volunteer in the diocese of Southwark and, along with hundreds of volunteers, has taken up the CAFOD lent Walk for Water challenge.

Feeling Gratitude for water

Ruth Sinclair Jones ready to Walk for Water for CAFOD Lent challenge

Why am I doing this?  10,000 steps a day, every day, for 40 days during Lent? I’ve taken up this challenge in solidarity with Abdella and his community in northern Ethiopia who have to walk over twice this distance, on rocky terrain, 365 days a year, just to fetch water; and I’m raising money for a community water pump for them.  Six days in, I’m becoming aware of what their daily commitment to walking means: it’s an absolute necessity – no matter what the weather, no matter how they are feeling, no matter what else is happening, they just have to do this walk, every day, or they’d have nothing to drink.  Nothing.  I’m also becoming aware of a sense of real gratitude for something I’ve taken for granted – clean, fresh water to drink, right in my own home, any time I want it, straight from the tap.

Discover Abdella’s walk on a video

So every day my walk includes a local water source, to remind me why I’m doing this. And there are so many! I’ve walked along the Thames – the biggest local water source, where my own water comes from – and I’m thankful I don’t need to fetch it home in jerrycans!  I’ve hiked along the river Wandle, now alive again and supporting fish.  I’ve tramped across our local commons – Tooting and Clapham – with their ponds that support so much wildlife. And I’ve trailed round the local streets, finishing at home with my own water source – the garden pond, where the sparrows come to drink.

Like Ruth, join the walk for Water

Being lucky enough to walk and reflect

I walk at different times of the day – I’ve had one night walk so far: a challenge after a busy day, and one cold walk in the rain and mud – but most days walking is enjoyable.  Friends and family have been generous with their donations and their encouragement, and are inspiring me to keep going: still 34 days ahead of me!  I’m feeling very positive about having a clear goal to aim for this Lent – helping a community in Ethiopia through CAFOD to have a healthier, safer, more fulfilling life with greater opportunities. And I’m enjoying the times of reflection while I walk – feeling closer to nature – turning lockdown into an opportunity to discover beautiful places in my local area – feeling grateful for water, and for life. I hope to be healthier too after 40 days’ walking – and to keep up the habit of walking after this, knowing that, unlike Abdella and his community I can walk just for leisure and reflection – and enjoy a drink of water from the tap when I come home.

Cant walk? Sponsor Ruth to show your solidarity

Sophia’s journey : from her Lent conversion to Walking for Water

Sophia White, who is based in the diocese of Southwark, is on a gap year with CAFOD. She is sharing with us what Lent is for her and why she will take on the 10,000 steps challenge.

Lent is traditionally a season of fasting, prayer and penitence in preparation for the celebration of Easter. It is a season which is very dear to my heart.

A lent journey : from conversion to Walking for Water

Sophia White is taking the 10,000 step Walk for Water Challenge this lent 2021

For Lent 2018, I travelled across the United States in a journey which ultimately led to me being received into the Catholic Church on Pentecost that year. I then moved to Dublin to study theology, and much of Lent 2019 was spent writing essays and grieving the sudden death of a childhood friend. Lent 2020 was Lent in Lockdown 1, and we could argue that last year’s Lent is the longest 40 days of our lives.

My hope is that Lent 2021 will be less of a rollercoaster than these previous years. Along with many of CAFOD’s supporters, I will be joining in with the 10,000 steps-per-day Walk for Water, and on Divine Mercy Sunday I will be celebrating my new-found fitness by running the Royal Parks Virtual Half Marathon. I’m fortunate to live in the countryside, where the beauty of the landscape has the added bonus of making social distancing exceptionally easy.

Join Sophia in the Walk for Water

Many of my friends are not Christian, though they join in with Lent as it’s good for your health to give up chocolate and the like for forty days. They ask me what giving up chocolate – or taking up running – has to do with faith and religion. The short answer is ‘to make more room for God in one’s life’, and the longer answer is that I don’t just give up chocolate or take up walking; I also set more time aside for prayer, follow a Lenten reading plan, pray Stations of the Cross with CAFOD. By this point, I have usually lost my audience and left myself wondering whether my laundry list of Lenten practices is bringing me any closer to God after all.

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