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Dozens of CAFOD supporters descended on Parliament to call on their local MPs to act to prevent famine in East Africa and to tackle the climate crisis, before it’s too late.
Supporters across England and Wales were joined by over 20 MPs, who came to hear from their constituents about why we need to stand in solidarity with our global family, to tackle poverty, hunger and the climate crisis.
Young people, like Alexander Ugoh from London who has been volunteering with CAFOD since he was 16, seized the opportunity to tell MPs what young people care about and urged parliamentarians to divert energy toward global justice.
“Young people have stepped up to make it clear to the people in power that unfortunately they haven’t done enough and we as young people are not going to just keep waiting until it’s our time.”
Another young person, Ciara Biswas-Graham from Manchester, gave a keynote address at the reception. She is working with CAFOD, via the Catholic Bishops Conference Faith in Politics internship scheme to give young people the opportunity to explore their vocation in public life and parliament.
Ciara highlighted the election next year as a vital opportunity for young people who will be voting for the first time in a general election to make their voices heard.
“To all the young people in the room who may be voting for the first time in the upcoming elections, I urge you to keep the message of ‘politics for the common good’ in mind when you go down to the polling booth and remember that voting is one of the best ways to encourage real change.
Ciara also had inspiring words for young people, who she said are sometimes fearful of speaking out about poverty and inequality in case they are dismissed as being idealistic.
“CAFOD gives a platform to young people, taking the time to engage with schools and not only listening to them but amplifying their voices, empowering us to know that we can make a difference.”
MPs in attendance included Vauxhall MP Florence Eshalomi, who said on Twitter after the event that she has “fond memories of collection boxes at school for CAFOD”, while Conservative MP Iain Duncan Smith met young people from his constituency who raised CAFOD’s work in supporting the most vulnerable.
CAFOD’s Director, Christine Allen, also took the opportunity to praise the work of young campaigners in supporting CAFOD. Christine said:
“People like you give me huge hope, you are putting your faith into action. You are having your voices heard.”
Mike Kane MP for Wythenshawe & Sale East spoke at the event and said:
“The people I met demonstrated the commitment of CAFOD. The principles of the common good are more important than ever. Pope Francis has urged us to hear the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.”
Mike also praised the work of Ciara, especially her call for youth involvement in justice campaigns.
CAFOD has a wide network of supporters, across the UK and internationally who support our work to reach out to people living in poverty with practical help. These supporters form a vital part of CAFOD and our work would not succeed without them.
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