Friday marked CAFODs Lent fast day, a tradition that started in the 1960s and for which support has continued to grow. I, like many others, used the Fast Day as a time of reflection, and fundraising to help those in need.
This year the Lent appeal is focused on providing clean and safe water across the world. Yet, the work goes further than simply providing the means to get water. It also involves education about sanitation and practical training meaning that if the water pumps need maintaining, they will have the knowledge to fix the problem themselves.
Furthermore, fundraising for the Lent appeal has been awarded match funding, up to the value of £3.5 million, meaning that every pound raised is doubled.
Parishes all over the Clifton Diocese have been getting involved in the Lent appeal: St Joseph Church in Peasedown, St John held a Hunger Lunch after Ash Wednesday Mass raising over £270. As the Lent appeal donations will be doubled, it means the Hunger Lunch has raised over £500 to help provide safe, clean water across the world.
Maureen Millan, a parishioner at St Joseph’s said:
“I have been a CAFOD Volunteer for many years. We always have a hunger lunch for CAFOD in Lent. This year as we were having a morning Mass on Ash Wednesday and we decided to have the lunch after the service. The lunch is organized by a group of people of the parish, and it is advertised in our church bulletin. The Ladies make a variety of soups and provide the bread and we also have a raffle which boosts the amount made.”
Right now, 650 million people are living without access to clean water. 2.5 billion people lack something as basic as access to a toilet and sewage system. It is also estimated that women and girls worldwide spend 125 million hours a day collecting water, which means time away from work, school or playing with friends.
The money raised will enable the taps to be turned on in villages around the world by repairing or providing water pumps and training in order to maintain them. It will also fund hygiene programmes, education in sanitation and the building of latrines. Matched funds from the UK Government will enable access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene programmes to over 300,000 people in Uganda, Zimbabwe and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
CAFOD’s representative in Bristol, Elizabeth Baldwin said:
“Lent Fast Days are such a great way of bringing people together and raising an incredible amount of money to help others. I’m delighted that the UK Government is matching CAFOD’s work for the third time, as this proves how important these initiatives are for people all over the world.”
“Lent is a time when we look to make a transformation in our own lives. In making this transformation, we aim to see one in the world around us. We therefore put our faith into action by ensuring as many people as possible have access to the basic right of safe and clean drinking water.”