Catenians launch centenary appeal for Zimbabwe

 To mark one hundred years of friendship, faith, and family, the Catenians are launching a major fundraising appeal to help provide water for people in Zimbabwe and Southern Africa. The appeal 'Give Water Life and Hope' could not come at a better time as increasing numbers of people in Zimbabwe are forced to resort to unsafe water sources as the country's crisis deepens. The country is currently awaiting the delayed results of the presidential elections and there has been widespread violence forcing people to flee their homes. The money raised will be channelled through CAFOD which, as members of Caritas International, the global network of Catholic relief agencies, has been working in Zimbabwe for almost 30 years in partnership with mainly church based organisations. CAFOD Director Chris Bain said: "The people of Zimbabwe are struggling every day to provide for their families and need our ongoing support. The Catenians have a long history of fundraising for good causes and I am delighted that they have chosen to support CAFOD's work in Zimbabwe as their centenary appeal." The Catenian's Grand President Phil Gidman said that while celebrating its centenary the Association wanted to give others something to celebrate too. "The money will be raised through activities at local Circle level," he said "and hopefully these events will involve the wider parish communities as well. The appeal proceeds will be specifically earmarked for identified projects." As the country's infrastructure crumbles, water supplies have been badly hit. For example in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second largest city, the country's cash shortage has left the municipality unable to purify enough water and so water cuts have been imposed. These cuts mean that water is only on for a very short period each day, often in the middle of the night. A recent United Nations report said that soon the city will run out of the chemicals needed to purify the water and so supplies risk being cut off. Now it is common in the areas surrounding Bulawayo to see queues of people waiting to fill water containers from a spring at the side of the road. At a time when it is difficult to find food, having to also walk long distances to find water increases the burden on families. It is not only drinking water that is vital for the people of Zimbabwe, but also water to irrigate their crops. With inflation running at 100,000%, salaries and savings have become worthless and so people are increasingly relying on growing their own crops to feed their families. In recent years rainfall has become less reliable and so water retention systems such as dams are important to provide a constant source of irrigation during the growing season. The money will help repair or provide wells, dams and boreholes in Zimbabwe and Southern Africa.

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