Father James Williams, from the Parish of St Lawrence and St Paul, in Clifton Diocese, took part in Progressio’s fundraising challenges ‘ZimFast’ and ‘ZimFare’, by fasting for six days on a nutritionally poor and repetitive Zimbabwean diet for ZimFast, and hosting a Zimbabwean-themed meal for ZimFare. This was both to fundraise for Progressio, and in order to stand in solidarity with people living in poverty. He said:
I wanted to discover what it might be like to live with hunger as many millions do through no choice of their own. Of course I was aware of the fact that six days is nothing compared to a lifetime, however I needed to do something to feel in solidarity with those who suffer hunger, and chose to do a task that would be genuinely testing.
70% of Zimbabweans live in extreme poverty, and after years of economic instability and the devastating impact of HIV and AIDS, millions are confronted with severe food shortages. In Zimbabwe and around the world, Progressio works alongside local partners to support people living in poor and marginalised communities to empower themselves, especially women.
Father Jim said:
I discovered that one can live on fifty grams of oats for breakfast, an onion and tomato for lunch and a piece of chicken with maize meal for supper, but it is not comfortable. For the first time I can remember I woke in the night with hunger pangs. Also, the lack of tea and coffee was absolutely horrible. It was an eye opener to discover such dependency and the power of temptation.
At the end of his ZimFast challenge, he hosted a ZimFare lunch based on the same menu options offered for his ZimFast diet. Father Jim has raised over £1,000 so far for Progressio, which is incredible! If you'd like to support him, you can make a donation on his JustGiving page here: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/James-Williams007
Progressio’s ZimFare and ZimFast challenges have been supported by people from all walks of life, including: the Archbishop of Liverpool, the Bishop of Clifton, novelist Frank Cottrell-Boyce, parishes across the country, students, and individuals.
If you can't take part in the ZimFare and ZimFast challenges, but would like to make a donation to Progressio, please click here: progressio.org.uk/donate