A young Salford volunteer has returned from hand-delivering messages written by Manchester school children to a remote village in drought-stricken Ethiopia. 

Sophie Hull, 19, hand delivered letters from the schools she has volunteered with CAFOD (the Catholic Agency For Overseas Development), including St Phillips and St Sebastian RC schools in Salford, and St Anne’s RC primary school in Manchester.

CAFOD volunteers with villagers from Sebeya, Ethiopia,

The Salford volunteer was delighted with the response from the school children, saying: “After giving them the messages, we got a chance to talk and they said: Sebeya is great because Sebeya is home but a challenge is water, dryness and the dust as it is constantly in the air.”

She said: “The young people were very grateful to receive these messages. I definitely felt like it connected them across continents.

“When we met Abba Solomon, Sebeya’s parish priest, he had a message for the communities in the UK, he said: “your generosity is positively changing the lives of the people in my community.”

Salford volunteer with Sebeyan villager

Elouise Hobbs, regional news officer at CAFOD said: “Sophie also spent time with local Ethiopian charity, The Daughters of Charity. Sophie met the children who were part of the charity’s project which provides access to education to vulnerable children.”

“Ethiopia has been experiencing a severe drought over the past two years and the volunteers were able to visit drought recovery projects, and see the projects that have been implemented to mitigate the effects of drought.”

The village of Sebeya is also linked with Manchester parishes, such as St Catherine of Siena, St Mary’s and Holy Family and Holy Rosary, for the past two years.

From the 25th of January to the 11th of February, Sophie Hull worked with schools and parishes in Sebeya, Northern Ethiopia as part of CAFOD gap year programme, which takes on around 8-10 volunteers a year between ages 18 to 30.

Applications are now open to take part in the next gap year programme, and close on March 13th.

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