International Women’s Day: Celebrate, Reflect, Act

Lent appeal

Proscovia in Uganda who now has clean water close to her home.

Today marks International Women’s Day, a time for celebrating women across the world.  I talked to Simon Giarchi, CAFOD representative in the Plymouth Diocese about CAFOD’s run for women and how the Lent appeal to provide clean water is going to change lives all over the world.  

Since 1911, International Women’s Day has become a worldwide celebration where we are called to reflect on progress made, celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women but also, call for further change.

Find out more about International Women’s Day

In many areas across the world, it is the woman’s responsibility to collect water for washing, cooking and cleaning. It is estimated that women and girls around the world spend 125 million hours a day collecting water, which means time away from work, school or playing with friends.

In an effort to help tackle gender equality, Simon organised the Run for Women:

Leah and Run For Women 2012

Leah in the Run for Women 2012.

“The Run for Women started in 2011, marking the centenary of international Women’s day, and this will be the 6th year the run has taken place. We have had over 10,000 participants, raising many thousands of pounds for the vital work that CAFOD does with women and girls in their communities. The run will take place on the 17th June in Catholic schools across Devon, Plymouth and Dorset; everyone from pupils to teachers to parents will get involved.”

“I have been proud to have set up CAFOD’s run for women to engage the Catholic community and wider on the issues effecting women and girls around the world. It is a scandal today that, of the worlds poorest billion people, 70% are women and girls. I urge everyone to get involved in the Run for Women and the Lent appeal to tackle this shocking inequality and create a fairer world.”


The Lent Appeal has been awarded match funding

This year, CAFOD’s Lent Appeal is focused on giving over 300,000 people, especially girls, access to clean and safe water. Girls like 15 year-old Guti from Uganda. She nearly dropped out of school because there was no clean or safe water so she had to walk to the river for water to drink or wash.


CAFOD’s partners were able to repair the water pump near Guti’s school, provided a portable sink and soap for hand washing, and trained teachers to learn good hygiene routines. This has meant that fewer pupils miss school due to illness and some girls are taking high-school exams that only boys took before.


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.


Donate to the Lent Appeal at: 


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