A Harvest of Hope
CAFOD supporters in the Diocese of Plymouth have been getting ready for the annual Harvest Fast Day on 7th October, this time with the on-going East African drought firmly in mind.
Building on the success of last year’s Harvest Fast Day, when the Diocese of Plymouth alone raised over £31,000 for the Catholic agency’s work with poor communities in the developing world, local churches and schools have swung into action once again, holding Harvest Masses and fundraising activities such as sponsored walks and soup lunches for this year’s effort.
The story that this year’s Harvest Fast Day materials focus upon is that of Pany Pan from Cambodia whose world fell apart when he
was only a little boy. At the age of 11, he discovered he was HIV positive and within a few months, both of his parents had died from the disease. After his parents died, Pan’s aunt took him in, living in a one room hut in an area of Phnom Penh called Bouding, which is a slum area.
“We were very poor and only ate once a day. It was a bad time that I don’t like to remember. I was so thin and I had no strength. Then I heard about Maryknoll [CAFOD’S partner organisation], I wanted to come here because I knew I could start ARVs and continue my life.”
When Pan arrived at Maryknoll he was so unwell they took him straight to the hospital and paid for his medical treatment. He was in hospital for almost three weeks, and was put on ARV treatment. After another month, Pan had regained his strength and started school again. Thanks to the generousity of the Catholic community and their previous donations at Fast Days, CAFOD and Maryknoll have helped find Pan a safe place to live. He’s back at school, and excited about his future.
We can never forget that over one billion people are still suffering needlessly from hunger and poverty, millions of them children like Pan. Through CAFOD, the Catholic community continues to stand in solidarity their poorer sisters and brothers and enable the long-term development of their communities. In emergencies such as in East Africa at the moment, we aim to provide emergency food and water, supply vital medication, saving lives now but also providing the resources to help Africa deal with droughts in the future.
Simon Giarchi, CAFOD’s diocesan manager for Plymouth says:
“CAFOD supporters have already given over £150,000 towards CAFOD’s work dealing with the drought in East Africa. Despite the difficult economic times, and the many demands on the times and incomes of our supporters, it’s humbling to know so many people are still willing to give up their time and money to help those most in need. Sadly, there is so much more to do – especially in East Africa – and people in the developing world desperately need our continued support.
“Harvest is usually a time to celebrate the gifts of the land and remind ourselves of all the good things God provides. However, for many living in some of the poorest parts of the world there simply is no food. The drought stretching across East Africa is the worst for 60 years. The global financial crisis, massive hikes in food prices and climate change have all intensified the problems for those living in poverty.
“Whenever I’ve been privileged enough to see CAFOD’s work overseas it is always the children that inspire me the most. Despite their desperate circumstances, they still aspire to be nurses and teachers, doctors and lawyers, givers in their communities. They have not lost hope and neither should we that their lives can and must change for the better, and that they can achieve the future they deserve. We must listen to their dreams and take action. Together, we can do it.”
For further information please contact the CAFOD Plymouth team on 01752 551 679