Diocese of

Hexham and Newcastle

Bishop Robert Byrne CO



CAFOD is the official overseas aid agency of the Catholic Church in England and Wales.


CAFOD Hexham & Newcastle:

St. Bede's Presbytery
Carr House Drive
Framwellgate Moor

Telephone number: 0191 384 4847



CAFOD Hexham and Newcastle website and blog:


CAFOD Lent Fast Day and humanitarian crisis in

Zambia and Zimbabwe

A message from Christine Allen, Director of CAFOD to Bishop Robert and our Diocese:

I recently contacted you about the worsening food shortages and drought in Zambia and Zimbabwe, affecting millions of children, women and men.

Since we launched our emergency appeal we have raised over £160,000 and because of the generosity of the Catholic community, we were able to allocate an immediate £50,000 for our local partners to carry out rapid assessments in the worst–affected communities. I want to give you a flavour of what else we have done:

In Zambia CAFOD has been supporting the Diocese of Monze which has been conducting food distributions in three districts for 1,120 households. CAFOD also supported the Diocese to drill and equip a borehole and installed water distribution lines at an existing solar piped borehole. The rains have arrived in the diocese and there is cautious hope that the support provided will be enough to tide families over whilst they reap the next harvest. CAFOD has also made a contribution to the appeal made by the national Caritas to support other parts of the country where CAFOD is not directly working with local partners.

In Zimbabwe, where the challenges posed by the drought have been compounded by the extremely poor state of the economy, CAFOD has responded in Binga in the Diocese of Hwange, in the west of the country, one of the worst hit areas. There we have supported local church partners with food for work projects, focusing on constructing a water supply line to pipe water to a clinic and to a community. We hope that 10,000 people will benefit from this project. A second project is about to start which will provide midday meals to a school in UMP province where children are particularly affected by malnutrition. A further four boreholes will also be drilled and equipped with solar panels in drought prone areas in Gokwe and UMP Province to enable people to access safe water as well as grow vegetables where crops have failed. This second project aims to support about 3,300 people. As in Zambia, CAFOD has also made a contribution to the appeal which has been launched by the national Caritas who will carry out food distributions in other parts of the country.

Whilst there is still cause for pessimism about the humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe and especially the upcoming harvest we hope that these initiatives will at least contribute to mitigating the effect of the drought.

I wanted to thank you and the priests and parishioners in your diocese for your support. If you need it, more information can be found on our website and we will keep you updated about this humanitarian crisis in the coming months.

We are now in the final preparations for our Lent Fast Day appeal. This year we celebrate the 60th anniversary of the first Family Fast Day, held on 12 March 1960. It is sad to think there is still so many people in need in our global family, but we celebrate the many achievements over the years.

Lent Fast Day is the most important time for us – our work totally depends on the income raised on this Fast Day – without the money raised we simply cannot deliver our planned commitments and respond quickly to the many hidden emergencies around the world.

I do hope that inspired by the knowledge of the work CAFOD does, you will be able to encourage all parishes and schools in your diocese to hold a collection for CAFOD and to pray for CAFOD’s partners and work around the world. Our work is possible because of these partners – local experts who make such a difference in the lives of so many.

This year our Lent appeal tells the story of one of those local experts, Sr. Consilia in Zimbabwe. Despite the many challenges that country faces, she works tirelessly providing health care to thousands of women and children. Not only is she providing health care, she is, in her own words, showing the love of Christ to others.

I want you to know how important your support is to us. I know there are many demands on parishes and schools today, yet these donations are a precious example of a loving community which refuses to forget the poorest and most vulnerable in our world.

Please do encourage priests in your diocese to hold a CAFOD Fast Day collection, have a speaker and pray for CAFOD’s work – it really makes a difference to us!

Thanks for your support of CAFOD and all you do to show the love of Christ to others.

God bless

Christine Allen