Christian Aid is a charity in Britain and Ireland made up of a collection of Christian churches. Its beginnings trace back to 1945 when Irish and British churches began in Europe the Christian Reconstruction. Formed just as the war ended its purpose then was to raise money and help resettle some of the millions of people left with no homes and no belongings after the second world war. Three years later its name was changed to Inter-Church Aid and Refugee Service. It was then that it joined the British Council of Churches and over the next ten years it started to move from Europe to worldwide work with the theme behind all their efforts being to help those in need become self-reliant once more.
The start of Christian Aid Week
The director of the organisation, Janet Lacey, in 1957 decided to have a Christian Aid Week to raise money and to bring the attention of their efforts to the public. Volunteers from around 200 villages and towns went out on their collection and managed to raise 26,000 pounds which they used for their work overseas. Seven years later in 1964, the organisation changed its name to Christian Aid. Africa and Asia at this time were facing famine and the focus then became on the development of agriculture in these poorest of countries. The World Development Movement was also established.
What it looks like today
Christian Aid Week has been a successful fundraising campaign for the charity for more than seventy years. In May's second week every year, volunteers continue to post the red envelopes and giving people continue to donate what they can to the charity. Where once it was a few hundred helping, now sees thousands out posting multiple households all week. In 2007 Christian Aid celebrated 50 years of Christian Aid Week. Funds raised and volunteers help around the world in 50 countries working with poor and at-risk communities. It helps not just after a disaster or famine happens, but also still is very focused on helping communities become self-sufficient and able to help themselves. To name just a few efforts they;
- Educate about climate change
- Educate about HIV
- Help with reconciliation
- Helps communities get better prevention for natural disasters
- Develop better sanitation in poor communities
- Find sources of clean water
- Educate on agriculture to combat hunger
Christian Aid 2020
At the start of 2020 Christian Aid started the idea of the Big Brekkie fry up. Supporters were to have a fry up meal in churches, homes and other social settings and raise money. They also were going to have a new process for Christian Aid Week so that the red envelopes did not need to be collected but could be posted in or brought to certain official points. However, Coronavirus has changed everything. The UK has been hit hard by the virus and continues to see many cases and deaths. With the lockdown in April, the charity decided sending volunteers out door to door to post the envelopes was not a good idea. Instead online donations have been strongly encouraged and remain so. Donations this year will be especially focused on going towards those facing the disease in terrible conditions as you find in refugee camps.
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