When Margaret Hodgson was invited to visit Holy Family Phoenix Group she thought she might do things a little bit differently…
The Phoenix Group was formed to give women in Holy Family, Hartlepool, a chance to meet up for a talk from an invited speaker. Last week, they asked our Schools’ Volunteer Coordinator, Margaret Hodgson, to tell them a little bit about CAFOD. Margaret is currently busy touring primary schools around the diocese introducing Bob the Fish and explaining how he has helped feed families in Zambia. So when the invite came she knew exactly what she wanted to do: armed with inflatable fish and her trusty pick-up stick she invited the Phoenix Group to go fishing. The thought of being parted from their cup of tea and dragged down to a windswept river bank caused momentary panic, but Margaret was quickly able to explain that what she was suggesting was only a game, though one with a serious purpose.
When her husband died in a mining accident, Florence had no money with which to feed her children. She was helped by the Sisters of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, supported by CAFOD, to learn how to farm fish. Now Florence has found a way to provide for her family and has encouraged other people in her community to do the same.
So, back to the game. Margaret invited her audience to grab one of her inflatable fish out of an imaginary pond using the pick-up stick with each fish representing a positive outcome for Florence and her community:
- As well as eating the fish, families can sell the fish to buy other things they need.
- The money which people like Florence get from selling the fish at market can be used by them to pay for their children to have an education.
- Florence and her friends have been able to set up a savings club with the money left over from selling the fish. Sometimes they give money to help others.
- When the ponds are drained there is lots mud which is full of good stuff from the fish droppings. This can be spread on the fields to help crops grow.
It’s another example of how the generosity of the Catholic community of England and Wales, allied to the hard work of CAFOD’s partners and the people they serve, can really make a difference to people’s lives. The Phoenix Group were certainly impressed and it will be a long time before they forget their fishing trip!
If you would like to support projects like the one that helped Florence, please visit our webpage.