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Ten moments from CAFOD in 2023: A year in review

28 December 2023

2023 has not been without its challenges – from conflicts new and ongoing, to droughts and floods, and a cost-of-living crisis felt both here in the UK and the world over.  

Over these past 12 months we have been buoyed by our incredible supporters, who have donated to our humanitarian appeals, spoken out about injustice to MPs, joined us in prayer and fundraised in their schools, churches and communities. Thank you to everyone who has stood by us to help those most in need across the world.   

Here are some moments from 2023.

1. Turkey-Syria Earthquake Appeal

The Turkey and Syria earthquake killed over 50,000 people and left millions without homes. CAFOD joined the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) to launch a major appeal, and once again our supporters showed their enormous generosity. Our local partners were able to provide emergency shelter, food, warm blankets and winter kits. We are still there, supporting affected families.

Turkey and Syria earthquake - 2023 year in review

Women hug near a collapsed building in Turkey after the devastating earthquake in February 2023.

2. Pope Francis visits DRC and South Sudan

In February CAFOD staff and partners were thrilled to welcome Pope Francis on his long-anticipated visit to the Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Sudan. He met people forced to flee their homes to escape violence and prayed for peace and an end to division.

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3. Big Lent Walk

In the spring people tied up their laces for our Big Lent Walk which saw thousands of people, including 650 schools, support CAFOD’s work by walking, donating and praying.

Next year’s event is due to be even bigger, as we join our sister agency in Scotland, SCIAF, to encourage people to walk 200km over the 40 days of Lent.

4. Amazing support from Catholic schools

In the last academic year (2022-2023), Catholic schools in England and Wales raised an amazing £610,000 for CAFOD. Thirty-seven more schools achieved the LiveSimply Award – an initiative which sees schools committing to live simply, sustainably and in solidarity with the world’s poorest.

Jenny Garzón Saavedra, youth worker for our church partner FUNVIPAS in the Colombian Amazon, spoke to 8,000 young Catholics at Wembley Arena in March for Flame – the National Youth Congress.