St Mary’s School, Shaftesbury, learn about the Lampedusa Cross

During a recent visit to St Mary’s School in Shaftesbury by CAFOD staff member David Brinn, students learned about the Lampedusa Cross.

Look! Eritrea & Somalia are just here.

They heard how Sicilian carpenter Francesco Tuccio made rough crosses from the wreckage of a boat that sank off the island of Lampedusa. The boat carried 500 refugees from Eritrea and Somalia – 349 people died. The crosses were offered to survivors as a symbol of their rescue and a sign of hope

An example of a Lampedusa Cross now stands in the British Museum.

Students with the Lampedusa Cross


CAFOD is inviting supporters to write messages of hope for refugees. This was part of our work on the Year of Mercy and especially thinking about the corporal work of mercy of “Welcome the Outsider”.

Nepal Earthquake 1 year on – CAFOD Clifton raises £151,588.40

CAFOD’s partners are training masons in earthquake-resilient building techniques in Gorkha district

CAFOD’s partners are training masons in earthquake-resilient building techniques in Gorkha district

A year ago today, more that 5 million people were effected by devastating earthquakes in Nepal. One year on, we look at how the donations from across England and Wales has transformed lives across Nepal. 

Nepal regularly experiences small earthquakes and tremors but last year, on 25 April, the earthquake that hit was the worse in 80 years.

CAFOD’s partners, who are based in Nepal, were able to reach hundreds of thousands of people with immediate vital aid. CAFOD supporters in England and Wales responded to the disaster by raising over £3.8 million which enabled CAFOD to work in 15 of the worst-hit areas to provide emergency aid and now, start to rebuild family homes.  CAFOD Clifton alone raised £151,588.40

The generous fundraising meant that thousands of people have received support. Kamal Thalea, 33, lost her son, two daughters and her mother when their house collapsed on top of them. They were among at least 8,700 people who died when the first of two earthquakes.

Kemal and her one surviving daughter, who was playing outdoors when the earth shook, were forced to sleep under nothing but a tarpaulin in the wake of the disaster, which destroyed half a million homes.

One year on, they now have a sturdy shelter and a means of earning a living. Kamal has received training to grow vegetables, and now has her own tomato garden. Kemal said: “I am earning an income and my daughter can continue going to school”

In the Gorkha District, CAFOD’s partners have trained more than 250 construction workers in earthquake-proof techniques. Training has also been given to families who plan to rebuild their homes more safely as soon as they receive the government shelter grant. Some have already started using the new techniques.

CAFOD representative in Clifton, Elizabeth Baldwin said: 

“The response last year was incredible and to now see people able to earn a living and sleep more safely because of their support is humbling.

“We must also remember however, that hundreds of thousands of families are still living in temporary shelters. With the rainy season approaching there is an urgent need for the government of Nepal to speed up the pace of reconstruction, so that families do not spend another monsoon under iron sheets and tarpaulins.”

See Nepal Q&A