The Archbishop of Wales John Davies is urging people to be outraged by poverty and to give generously for Christian Aid Week 2018, which begins on Sunday.
This year’s event, which runs until May 19, highlights the plight of the more than 40 million people displaced around the world, but who remain within their own countries, including those in Haiti.
Archbishop John, who is Chair of Christian Aid Cymru, says, “Christian Aid Week is the annual opportunity for churches to reach out to their communities with the good news about God’s Kingdom of love in action in needy parts of the world.
“We are grateful for the hard work of thousands of people in Wales during Christian Aid Week. Your work is so essential, and in it, we see Christ’s Church at its best, as it reaches out to the community with God’s great vision of justice for all.
“The funds we raise once again this year will make such a difference to our global neighbours who live under the awful conditions of poverty and injustice. Together we can make a real difference to thousands of lives.”
In a video appeal, the Archbishop said recent allegations against some charities had had an impact on the whole sector, but he urged people to be outraged by poverty rather than the actions of a minority.
“I want to make an appeal to you to recognise that, despite the behaviour of some, the good work goes on, and that good work needs your support, your generous support,” he said.
“This Christian Aid Week, if you see an event taking place locally, if an envelope comes through your door asking you to support that work, please be generous.”
In Haiti, thousands of people regularly experience some of the worst natural disasters on earth. The country is one of the poorest in the world, and a high number of the population live in precarious houses or have been uprooted from their homes entirely, making them especially vulnerable when another disaster strikes. More than seven years on from the devastating earthquake in Port-au-Prince in 2010, an estimated 38,000 people are still displaced.
In November 2016, Hurricane Matthew wreaked yet more havoc, killing 546 people and destroying homes, businesses and infrastructure. Up to 90% of some areas were destroyed.
Vilia was left homeless by the earthquake in 2010 and her mother was killed. Bereaved and homeless, for Vilia, her husband and their seven children, life became a struggle. They didn’t even have a safe place to sleep.
Christian Aid’s local partner, KORAL, helps local people prepare for, and recover from disasters. In the aftermath of the earthquake, it reached out to Vilia and built her and her family a new home, that was safe, stable and strong enough to stand up to natural disasters.
Ahead of Hurricane Matthew, KORAL was able to warn local communities, helping to evacuate around 5,000 families and saving many lives. In the immediate aftermath Christian Aid and KORAL distributed urgently-needed shelter materials, hygiene products such as soap, food seeds and cash, so people could buy other items that they really needed. Disaster-resistant homes were built, giving people safe, secure places to live. Of the dozens built before the hurricane hit, only one lost its roof in the disaster, and Vilia’s home was able to shelter 54 people over several days following the hurricane.
During a visit to Cardiff last week, Christian Aid’s new CEO Amanda Khozi Mukwashi shared about Vilia’s story and encouraged communities in Wales to get involved with Christian Aid Week this year. You can listen again to Amanda Mukwashi’s conversation with All Things Considered presenter Roy Jenkins on BBC Radio Wales here.
Christian Aid Week unites thousands of churches every year to raise money to support our global neighbours in need, who are often suffering through no fault of their own. Just £25 could buy a hygiene kit to prevent disease after a disaster; £5 could buy a jar of seeds so someone like Vilia can grow beans to feed her family; and £210 could pay to train a local builder in Haiti to build safe, secure hurricane-resistant homes.
Deputy Head of Christian Aid Wales, Mari McNeill said, “Last year local Christian Aid groups and churches in Wales raised around £500,000 during Christian Aid Week through a range of fundraising events and door-to-door collections, making a great difference to people supported by the charity around the world. This year events will include Big Brekkies, bucket collections, sponsored walks, quizzes, fish & chip suppers, plant sales, concerts, afternoon teas and Royal Wedding Brekkies. So this Christian Aid Week, please stand together with displaced people around the world, like those still recovering in Haiti.”
- Find out what’s happening near you in Wales this Christian Aid Week here
- The iconic red envelope has gone digital! Design and share your personalised e-envelope online and via social media here with the hashtag #StandTogether
- Watch Vilia’s inspirational story here: Vilia’s story
- Listen again to Amanda Mukwashi’s BBC Radio Wales conversation with All Things Considered presenter Roy Jenkins here.
- Christian Aid Week coincides with the global wave of prayer Thy Kingdom Come. Pledge to pray here: https://www.thykingdomcome.global/
- Christian Aid is also asking its supporters to ask their MPs to stand up for the millions of people worldwide who’ve been forced to flee their homes.
- This Christian Aid Week, you can help to change the lives of people displaced due to disasters or conflict by donating online at caweek.org calling 08080 006 006, or texting ‘GIVE’ to 70040 to give £5.*