CAFOD and the Hexham & Newcastle diocesan Youth Ministry Team YMT have joined forces to launch a Gap Year scheme offering placements in the developing world to 18 to 30-year-olds.
The new scheme is called “Step into the Gap” and is promoted as “a year out experience … that will take you places the guidebooks don’t.” Successful applicants will spend four to six weeks at a CAFOD project in Asia or Africa before returning to work with YMT at their residential centre in Allensford, Co Durham.
YMT Director, Fr Dermott Donnelly said: “It’s a fantastic partnership for us, because it squares the circle for our young volunteers. They are already covering third world and justice issues in the school retreats, so this gives them an experience of those issues first hand. We are an international team anyway, so it makes sense to have this link with the developing world through CAFOD.”
Anne-Marie Hanlon, CAFOD Diocesan Manager in Hexham & Newcastle said: “It’s a very exciting project. CAFOD has more than 45 years experience of building relationships with communities overseas and it’s great to have the opportunity to make such a strong link now at home with YMT. This is not meant to be a glorified holiday or an experience of extreme tourism; we’re hoping this project will help participants explore their faith and develop their abilities to take a lead in bringing about a more just world.”
Step into the Gap is an exciting new venture for CAFOD and YMT. It is intended to offer a rounded experience, with elements both overseas and in the UK. It will bridge the ‘gap’ between the elements of adventure and service that occur in traditional year out experiences.
Successful applicants will begin their year at YMT’s Youth Village in Allensford, near Consett, where they will take part in orientation sessions to prepare for their visit to Africa or Asia.
Participants will work with a CAFOD partner on grassroots community development projects and get to know the community in depth – eating, drinking, working, praying, celebrating, and sharing their lives with those they meet. On their return, they will work with young people in a variety of settings – school, parish, retreat centre – bringing back new perspectives from their overseas placement to enrich the community.
Applicants must be open to new challenges and new experiences and prepared to step out of their comfort zone and be challenged and changed by the experience. They must be committed to their Christian faith and to a desire to share their faith and experiences with others. They must be interested in global justice issues and have a passionate a to engage on a social level, be self-motivated and willing to work in a team.
This years team have already completed 3 months with YMT and have now headed off to work with CAFOD partners in Liberia.
To find out more click on the link below: