student behind CAFOD stallHello, I’m Madeline. I’m a recent graduate and this academic year I am on CAFOD’s Step into the Gap programme. The majority of this leadership programme, run by CAFOD, is based at a placement in the UK. For me, this is Leeds Trinity University.
I first heard about the programme from my mother, who is a CAFOD volunteer herself. She recommended that I look at the CAFOD website, which I did. I found myself deeply moved by not only the work that CAFOD are doing but the way it is portrayed – the positive imagery and language used to describe those being helped by CAFOD and partners really struck a chord with me. I believe that this dignity and respect held for everyone really sets CAFOD apart from other charities.
My time at LTU is spent as part of the chaplaincy team. This means that I help with any chaplaincy events, but my unique position as a CAFOD “gapper” means that I can also set up my own events or stalls. This is the university’s patronal feast day, as it used to be All Saints
College. It was truly a feast day – a busy Mass, food and drinks, bunting… For my stall I chose to run a Guess the Vegetable quiz to promote live simply, which is a campaign run by CAFOD encouraging parishes or other organisations to live a simpler, more sustainable and green life. I found the weirdest looking vegetables I could in Morrisons (who kindly donated them!) and had people name as many as they could. The winner, naturally, won the vegetables. This stall was an opportunity to speak to students, staff and the general public about what they believe we as a university could be doing to be more green. They gave some fantastic ideas, some of which are now in the works.
The other aspect of my year on CAFOD’s Step into the Gap programme is an overseas visit to see some of the work being done by CAFOD first hand. For me, this involves a trip to Uganda in January for almost 3 weeks. I feel so incredibly fortunate to have this opportunity, if also slightly worried about the heat! Most of CAFOD’s work in Uganda is around water, which I think will make me very aware of how much I take it for granted. I think the true benefit of the trip will be apparent upon my return, as I will be able to share stories with people in the UK of those who are helped by the support given by those in the UK. I will be able to create a link between people who live thousands of miles apart. I can’t wait to not only have the experiences in Uganda, but also to share them with everyone I can.