Catholic Agency Funding Overseas Development (CAFOD)
The official international development and relief agency of the Catholic Church of England and Wales. It builds long term partnership with local organisations in Asia, Africa and Latin America to build a better world for people living in extreme poverty whatever their race, nationality or religion.
It works to persuade the governments and institutions in the UK and overseas to change unjust policies that trap people in poverty.
It also focuses on creating sustainable livelihoods combating HIV and Aids as well as peace building.
In an emergency CAFOD provides immediate relief and supports long-term programmer to rebuild people’s lives.
Support: There are two weekend collections in a year, Lenten Family Fast Day and Harvest Fast Day. Campaign workers are supplied with the relevant information for attention of the parish. This is pinned on the notice board inside the church.
Contact Thelma Lewis c/o the Parish Office 020 8672 2179.
Meet CAFOD volunteer, Alec Ramsay
Alec Ramsay has volunteered at CAFOD for an incredible 21 years. Here Alec tells us a little bit about his responsibilities at CAFOD, why volunteering is important to him and what he gets up to in his spare time.
Tell us about your role as volunteer at CAFOD
In the summer of 1995 I started in the International Section at CAFOD. Former CAFOD member of staff, Stephanie O’Connell, was looking for a volunteer and I started volunteering three mornings a week. About a year later this increased to three days a week and then some months later to four days.
My task was to answer the letters from the Asia Middle East and African countries who would write to CAFOD requesting funding assistance. This was a large task and needed four days.
Sadly, CAFOD has never had the spare money to fund these projects and I have sent a caring and sensitive reply to the organisations to explain this. The rule I have used has been whether the organisation is a partner or not. In all cases they have not been a partner and CAFOD has not been looking for new partners which I have added to some of the replies. I have, over time, been asked whether the answer would ever be yes and I have always sadly said no.
I still continue to respond to these funding requests for the Asia and Middle East team although the volume of requests we receive nowadays is fewer so I now spend just one day with the team. I also support the team with archiving. Aside from my work with the Asia Middle East team I spend one day a week with the Legacies team and three days a week with the Supporter Donations team. In the past I also spent time volunteering with both the policy unit and the HIV section.
What do you enjoy about volunteering at CAFOD?
I enjoy making a worthwhile contribution to society and the country at large. Doing something with other people and for other people is important. I’ve always been brought up to be a doer and a giver and making a contribution is important. My heart lies with the poor. Having seen the emails and listened to the stories, I’m glad that the work I do gives the frontline staff the time to do the ‘real’ work. I never get bored of coming in to CAFOD, even after 21 years. CAFOD has been very good to me and I am very loyal to CAFOD.
What do you think about CAFOD’s work?
I think CAFOD does the right thing. There used to be too many projects in too many countries. Now the number of countries and projects is more manageable and we can afford them.
Why do you feel volunteering is important?
If you have time and you are fit and able I think you should offer your services somewhere and volunteer to help others. This is especially true if you have been fortunate in your life; it’s important to help others who are not.
How does your faith inspire your work at CAFOD?
My faith is important to me – I am a strong believer in Almighty God which has helped me tremendously during difficult times in life. Working at CAFOD is a way for me to express my faith with humility and care.
What do you do outside of CAFOD?
Outside CAFOD I am a member of the St Vincent de Paul Society and I visit the sick, the poor and the dying. I have also befriended families of those with dying relatives. I lead the Rosary four nights a week at my parish and I am a Eucharistic Minister. I also deliver Holy Communion on Saturday and Sunday mornings to those unable to get to Mass.
You have had a truly diverse and long-spanning career. Could you share with us one piece of wisdom that you’ve taken from all your experiences?
You should always act with humility and care in all you do and make friends with all sorts of people. People matter. I like getting to know people and building relationships. It’s important to have a good relationship with everyone.
It’s a real pleasure having Alec join us in the Asia Middle East team each week. He is always willing to lend a hand with any task and is committed to ensuring all funding requests are responded to swiftly and sensitively.
During the office move last summer, Alec was instrumental in assisting us with ‘de-cluttering’ the AME section and archiving important and historical documents. We all appreciate Alec’s warm and friendly nature – he joins us every Tuesday with a smile and usually some form of sweet treat, which always goes down well!! We are thoroughly grateful to Alec for his work and commitment to CAFOD. Thank you Alec!”
Becca Manning, Regional Support.