BY Ryan McDougall | January 24 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print

project gambia pope francis

Pope Francis praises the work of Project Gambia couple at General Audience

Pope Francis has thanked two young Scottish fundraisers for their efforts in changing the lives of school kids in Gambia.

Lanarkshire Couple Aidan Curivan, 22, and Rebecca Lafferty, 19, met the Holy Father during his general audience on Wednesday January 15 in Vatican City on a trip to celebrate Aidan’s birthday.

The young couple are the main fundraisers for Project Gambia: People Feeding People, a charity that feeds over 1,000 children between three schools in The Gambia and provides them with clothing, hearing aids, school bags and rosaries.

Aidan said the trip was ‘fantastic.’ He added: “Receiving an invitation to meet Pope Francis was something that we would have never thought would happen —so of course we were delighted that it did.

“Aside from that, we were able to visit some stunning parishes and pray for so many different things, including the children we support in The Gambia, and our Church in Scotland.”

‘Incredible’ meeting

Rebecca added: “Meeting Pope Francis was incredible—not just for Project Gambia but for our own Catholic Faith as well.”

The pair stopped to grab a quick photo with the Pope, and gave him a leaflet detailing the works of their charity.

Aidan said: “Despite the language barrier, he was able to have a conversation with us.

“After greeting him and getting some pictures with him, we were able to hand him the same Project Gambia leaflet that thousands of Catholics in Scotland have received at Mass, and he started to read it.

“He eventually took his leaflet away with him, which contained the Project Gambia prayer. As he read aloud the words ‘Project Gambia,’ he began to nod his head, smiling at us and telling us that he appreciated the work that Project Gambia was doing.”

Visiting Rome

The meeting with Pope Francis came as part of a trip the couple had planned in celebration of Aidan’s 22nd birthday, and they encouraged other Catholics to try and visit at some point in their lives.

Rebecca said: “There is something special about Rome. We’ve always worked on the principle that our Catholic Church is a global one that does not draw boundaries between countries, and which strives to help people regardless of where they live. Rome is definitely a great example of a place which really embodies that spirit.”

Last year, the charity changed the life of Muhammed ‘Alieu’ Cham, a young Gambian lad born without ears. They brought the youngster to Scotland where doctors carried out surgery, granting him the ability to hear. He has since learned to speak and now has a bright future.

2020 plans

They are hopeful their successful trip will be the start of good things to come for Project Gambia in 2020.

Aidan said: “For Project Gambia to receive recognition at this level is fantastic, and it gives us a huge boost at the very beginning of what we hope and pray will be another year of growth for our charity.”

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