Hugh our Step into the Gap volunteer based at St Cassians Kintbury is preparing for his trip to visit CAFOD projects in Cambodia .He writes..
“As I begin a new year with CAFOD I am filled with anticipation, excitement, nerves and fear as I prepare to visit Cambodia at the end of January. I feel so excited to experience CAFOD’s incredible work, to see how communities flourish through this and how people’s livelihoods are being changed for the better.
What I am going to be witnessing is going to be something completely new and beyond my imagination and will change me forever. I don’t think I can fully understand this fantastic opportunity I have been given by CAFOD to go and see how their work is developing and making an impact. I feel so excited and privileged to be able to experience the work that CAFOD does in Cambodia. One thing I am most looking forward to is meeting and working with local communities and young people that belong to them. To see CAFOD’S work in action, to put my faith into action further and to experience another culture is going to be a once in a lifetime opportunity.
I have learned that there is an amount of preparation you need to do before visiting another country. Preparing yourself with facts, figures, information, knowledge, literature and different geographical places within the country is just as crucial as preparing yourself mentally for travel and what you are going to be witnessing. I feel like I have learnt so much already in preparation about Cambodia, its culture, its steeped history and I am so excited to expand my knowledge further when I arrive. The amount of knowledge, skills, encounters and meeting of hearts I am going to experience from the communities and the people I meet in them is going to be invaluable. These experiences and skills I will gain will enable me to bring lots back to the UK to inspire other young people to get involved, to know they have a voice for the voiceless and to join CAFOD’s work in many ways by giving, acting and praying.
Having people around you to share this experience who are also passionate about their faith and action gives me encouragement and desire to make the most of our time in Cambodia with CAFOD partners. I think this is and will be an amazing aspect to our work encountering communities as one with love and solidarity. Thank you for your prayers, please keep myself and other gappers in your thoughts and prayers as we journey to Cambodia.”
We look forward to hearing about his trip when he returns.
Hi, my name is Hugh. I am 20 years old from Derby. Over the coming year, I will be volunteering for a second year at the De La Salle retreat centre, St. Cassian’s, Kintbury, which is within the Portsmouth Diocese. I have been aware of CAFOD and its work from a young age through my local parish and school. However, in my first-year of volunteering in youth ministry my passion for justice and putting my faith into action has grown even stronger. Through a previous gapper I have worked with and in researching more into CAFOD I became very inspired and I felt compelled to apply for the Step in to the Gap programme. I’m really looking forward to the year ahead and excited to witness first-hand more of the incredible work that CAFOD does around the world, our common home.
My desire is to make a real difference in the world to inspire others and young people who come on retreat to get involved in CAFOD and to know that together, great things are possible.
I joined the programme as I aspire to help others in the wider world and to have the opportunity as St. Oscar Romero states ‘to be God’s microphone.’ This is united with the passion I have with the varied work that CAFOD does and how I wish to be thoroughly engaged with it. Through this I hope to live out the CAFOD values through my personal life and through those I meet.
I feel that the programme will deepen my faith, my awareness of the world and how people’s lives will be transformed by the prayer and action of CAFOD and their partners. To strive for a world where no one is beyond reach, to pray for our global brothers and sisters, to take action in whatever way I can and to show Christ’s call to love.
CAFOD and its work is always a constant inspiration to me and will continue to be throughout my whole life.
I would like to welcome Hugh to the CAFOD Portsmouth team and wish him all the best for the year ahead!
Kezia Harrow , our Step into the Gap volunteer based at St Cassian’s Retreat Centre in Kintbury reflects on her recent trip to visit CAFOD projects in the Holy Land.
“I still don’t think I have fully accepted and come to terms with what I have experienced in the last couple of months. To think back and remember that I was in Israel and Palestine in January is mind-blowing. The experience, CAFOD and their partners provided me was outstanding. I feel so lucky to have been able to view the Holy Land in the perspective that I have…. the true realty of living in the Holy Land.
Meeting five different CAFOD partners was incredible. To see how they run their organisations and that one of CAFOD’s values, partnership is at the forefront of everything they do was beautiful to see. True partnership, people, agencies helping, learning and guiding each other. Personally in our world today I think we don’t always see true examples of partnership and are led to believe that partnership is all about taking. Witnessing how CAFOD and its partners use the value of partnership encourages me that the value is being executed in the way it should be.
My international visit was challenging on many levels but I have been given an experience, memories and thoughts that will last a life time. I would honestly encourage anyone who is passionate about social justice to apply for the Step into the Gap programme. Be bold, grab the opportunity that CAFOD’s Step into the Gap programme provides you with! It is an opportunity that I have been blessed with but you could be the future CAFOD participants of the Step into the Gap programme.”
Kezia Harrow speaking at St Joseph’s in Newbury
Kezia is very happy to come and talk about her trip to the Holy Land to parishes and schools so do contact me if you would like her to come to your parish or CAFOD group.