Camberley, Bagshot and Cambodia – A Great Connection

Jess Michelmore is a member of CAFOD’s Asia and Middle East team who works on Connect2: Cambodia. She shared with us her experience of Connect2, Cambodia and Camberley and Bagshot.

Camberley and Bagshot Parish Supporteres with Jess Michelmore (right)

Camberley and Bagshot Parish Supporters with Jess Michelmore (right)

‘Hearing about Camberley and Bagshot’s amazing fundraising efforts for Connect2: Cambodia over the past year I was very excited to meet members of the Parish in person. Last December I was very pleased to receive a greetings card and photos from Camberley and Bagshot Parish which I recently brought out to the Connect2 communities in Pouk district.

‘Community members in Pouk district were so happy to see what Connect:2 supporters look like and were so thankful for their generous support. I was keen to share some of the Connect:2 community members’ messages with the Parish which organised a Connect:2 Cambodia Parish fundraising supper.

Connect 2 Narrator Kahop (centre) with her husband Lot La and son enjoying looking at photos from Camberley and Bagshot Parish.

Connect 2 Narrator Kahop (centre) with her husband Lot La and son enjoying looking at photos from Camberley and Bagshot Parish.

‘I was amazed to see all the hard work and effort that had gone into preparing the Connect 2 Cambodia fundraising supper at Camberley and Bagshot Parish. About 40 parishioners came to support Connect 2 Cambodia and find out more about my recent visit to the Connect 2 Communities. The parish had prepared a beautiful spread of Cambodian inspired dishes including delicious curries and rice.’

Jo Carroll, CAFOD’s parish volunteer and team leader who organised the evening with other members of the Parish explained “We are a great team in the Parish.

“Our Parish have been supporting the Connect 2 scheme over several years, first we followed Ethiopia, then El Salvador and now Cambodia. A few years ago, some partners from the Connect 2 project in El Salvador came to visit our Parish which was fantastic! We are excited to have someone with us tonight who has visited the communities in Cambodia,” said Dave Batt, CAFOD Parish volunteer.

‘After the wonderful supper,” Jess continues, “I gave a talk on our Connect 2 Cambodia project explaining how CAFOD works in partnership with our local Cambodian partner Srer Khmer and we looked back at some of the project’ successes and challenges over the past year. I shared a few words from the communities who also had questions for Connect 2 Parishes like Camberley and Bagshot.

‘Kahop (Connect 2 narrator in the photo above) asks, “How are you? What is your work? How do you keep yourself from poverty?”

‘A huge thank you to Camberley and Bagshot Parish for inviting me to speak at your parish and for your warm hospitality. Your compassion towards the Connect 2 Cambodia Community and interest to better understand people’s challenges and support them in overcoming some of these difficulties has really inspired me. Thank you once again for your generosity.

Jo, Parish Volunteer in Camberley and Bagshot (shown holding the poster in the top picture) said ‘Jess’ talk was so informative especially about the people, how the money has been spent and how CAFOD works with their partner, Srer Khmer.

‘So many people have told us how much they enjoyed the evening especially the talk.

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‘The total raised was £489 which included the raffle and some donations from people who were unable to attend. This makes the total raised so far this year nearly £1000.’

“What makes Connect 2 special,” said Fran, a parishioner and CAFOD supporter, “is about the connection made with real people. We want to know how our money is being spent and how it impacts real people’s lives”.

Our sincere thanks go to Camberley and Bagshot parish and volunteers for organising the event and for Jess for sharing her experience and passion for Cambodia.

If you’re in a Connect2:Cambodia parish and would like to send a message to Kahop and her community, please email Supporter Care at or post them to Romero House.

Connect2 is a system whereby parishes can connect to a community around the world.

Click on the link below for the latest update from Siem Reap which talks about Camberley and Bagshot’s fundraising efforts over the past year.

What do Camberley and Bagshot, Cambodia and Pyramids have in Common?

The CAFOD team in Camberley and Bagshot parish have shared with us an excellent way by which they involve their parish in CAFOD’s mission.

‘It’s a simple idea.’ Said Jo Carroll, CAFOD’s parish volunteer and team leader. ‘We give out pyramid boxes in June and we collect them later – mainly in September. That’s it.

‘We have been doing it for a few years and it has taken a little while to properly get going but people are now used to the idea.’

Camberley and Bagshot poster for CAFOD Pyramid Boxes for Connect2: Cambodia.

Camberley and Bagshot poster for CAFOD Pyramid Boxes for Connect2: Cambodia.

The parish is part of Connect2: Cambodia whereby the build a relationship with one of a few CAFOD-supported communities and raise funds for this support. Having this relationship is a win-win situation. The parish community gets to know a community abroad, knows where their funding is going but is under no pressure to raise particular amounts of money at any particular times. It’s also great for the focus community; not only are they supported but they know that people thousands of miles away care about them and are praying about them.

CAFOD group at Camberley and Bagshot

CAFOD group at Camberley and Bagshot

‘This year,’ Jo said, ‘People brought in their boxes and together they contained over one thousand pounds.’ This is an amazing amount and can make such a difference. As it says on the parish’s poster, small change can make a BIG CHANGE.

Our thanks go to Jo, the CAFOD team and all our friends and supporters in Camberley and Bagshot – not least those who count the change!

So to answer the question, What do Camberley and Bagshot, Cambodia and Pyramids have in Common? The answer is CAFOD’s Connect2: Cambodia.

To order pyramid boxes or many other resources such as prayer cards, T-shirts or books, please go to the on-line CAFOD Shop.

Amount raised in 2017 for Connect2: Cambodia tops £2000

Soup lunch poster

Camberley and Bagshot Catholic Parish held a soup lunch on 30 November which raised £310 for Connect2: Cambodia. This brings the total raised in 2017 for this Connect 2 scheme to just over £2280. Amazing!

Connect2 is a scheme which allows your parish to connect to one of five countries: Cambodia, Brazil, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Peru. You will receive updates about a community in your chosen country, and in return you can support that community by praying, fundraising and providing updates from your community.

If you would like your parish to sign up to Connect2, click on this form.  Meanwhile, our thanks to Camberley and Bagshot for their continued and generous support of Connect2: Cambodia.