Community and Participation Stories
A Companions Programme was put in place linking pupils in Britain with their counterparts in Harare, Zimbabwe. Teacher Eileen Groenen from Donhead Lodge, Wimbledon, talks enthusiastically on the success of the programme and what this meant for the pupils.
For years churches and councils have been working with homeless people, sometimes at cross purposes. STREETfaith is an organisation that has been starting to bridge the gap between churches and councils, encouraging them to work together.
In a small village in Cambodia a great change is taking place. The stereotypes and patriarchal structures of society are being shattered and the women are being empowered. A Cafod partner goes to this small Cambodian village to see the results of this revolution first hand.
The people of Sierra Leone have experienced great troubles in the last century and particularly in recent conflict. Yet things are starting to look up for this West-African country as a peaceful election signals a new hope for stability. A new initiative has been started to make the people’s voice heard, which uses short digital films created by local people to express their opinions and needs.
“If you tell me my wife’s HIV positive, I’ll kill her …” Unfortunately this is a prime example of the sort of attitude facing those with HIV in developing countries. Talowadag, an organisation in Somaliland works to support and treat HIV sufferers and it also works towards changing attitudes and removing the stigmas attached to HIV.
Thembinkosi means ‘Trust in God’ in Ndebele (The Ndebele tribe of South African) and can lead to amazing things. One man and his family were inspired by this and created the Thembinkosi Foundation. This has been involved in the creation of a self sustaining school in Zambia to teach a community how to farm effectively in an environmentally friendly way.
Street Pastors work in various cities across the UK to provide a hand to those who may be at risk late at night. Street Pastors in Southwark tell of an encounter with a man at risk from gang violence and how their help ensured his safe return home instead of what could have been a nasty encounter.
Young adults from the parish of St Mary’s in Horsforth, near Leeds, have formed an SVP group and have been working to help their local community. After founding the Catholic youth group under their own initiative, the members have been fundraising for a range of important projects and have been enjoying themselves at the same time.
Faith based initiatives are helping prisoners to get back into society and away from reoffending. Feltham Community Chaplaincy Trust (FCCT) is made up of volunteers who mentor former prisoners having a positive effect on all of those involved.
Role Models for the Theme of Community and Participation
Priest Oscar Romero was originally thought to be a shy man but he spoke out vehemently for the people of El Salvador, and was killed as a result of his protest.
Cafod also provide an easy to read powerpoint on Oscar Romero and his courageous work.
Cardinal Hume is remembered for uniting the church to a state of harmony which had not previously been seen for 400 years. His talent of keeping the peace and promoting harmony was shown through the friendships he formed across denominations; believing the love of God was central to solving conflicts between individuals.