On Sunday 7th August, parishioners at St Joseph’s, Llangefni, were delighted to hear from our very own North Wales CAFOD Gapper, Alice Bowers, as she returns from a year with CAFOD’s step into the gap programme based in Birmingham. Alice delivered an inspiring talk on her experiences of a year of working with CAFOD which included some time abroad with CAFOD’s partners.
Alice talked about her time based at Newman University in Birmingham working as part of the Chaplaincy team and raising awareness of CAFOD, social justice issues and climate change. This included answering the archdiocese call for action on the refugee campaign and upcycling and gardening to try and live a bit more simply.
As part of the step into the gap year, a three week visit to Peru to visit some of CAFOD’s partners was included and at the talk people were able to hear some of the tales and promise that was coming from these partners.
An example is Solidaridad who help women set up business in order to evade a violent situation at home and in society. Included in the presentation were pictures of the women baking and knitting and one photo of some of the many women Solidaridad has reached over the years.
From there the experience took Alice up to the Ancash mountains where subsistence farmers were facing big companies coming in and playing havoc with their lively hoods; a hydroelectric company that would release water at odd times, too much or not at all, and mining companies wanting to buy the land. CAFOD’s partner there, CEAS, provided much needed legal advice on the rights of the local farmers and also took measurements of the quality of the water so that locals had a foot to stand on if mining companies came and released toxins into their water supply.
These are just a couple of the partners discussed at the talk and the parishioners of St Joseph’s were able to enjoy a cup of tea/coffee and cake during and towards the end where Colette Byrne was able to emphasise the importance of standing in solidarity with those facing hardship and that prayers for those discussed and facing similar problems are greatly appreciated.
CAFOD now has Connect2 Peru which is a great way for a parish/school/community to form a connection with those in Peru, details can be found on the CAFOD website where you can also read more about the partners working there.
If you or anyone you know might be interested in taking part in step into the gap with CAFOD then applications will be taken for a September 2017 start in autumn this year (2016).