Christian Aid insist that everyone should be able to live a full life, free from poverty. It works with people of all faiths and none, never giving money to governments and is the official development agency of 41 church denominations in Britain and Ireland.
During Christian Aid Week volunteers from our church, and other churches in the area, deliver and collect Christian Aid Week envelopes to houses in Westbury-on- Trym and Stoke Bishop. Nearly £150,000 has been collected in this way since 2004.
Christian Aid Week in 2021 was hit again, like almost everything else in our lives, by the continuing global pandemic. However, the problems faced by Rose, and others in the developing world, remain.
Christian Aid Week 2021 was from Monday 10 May – Sunday 16 May
This allowed Christian Aid to use lots of its materials from the previous year, already published and ready to go when the pandemic first stuck in 2020 when Christian Aid Week plans were radically altered. So the focus again was on Rose in Kenya, and the impact of climate change, increasingly topical
For Rose, every last drop of water is precious
In Kenya, the rains that used to water the farmlands have failed, causing a national emergency that has left over two million people hungry. One of these people is Rose.
Rose is 67. Every day, she battles to bring water home for her grandchildren. But drought and hunger are driving her to the brink. ‘The drought has been severe,’ she tells us. ‘We have had three long months without water, and now we have to walk long distances. We are suffering.’
Faced with this devastation, Rose strives to provide for her grandchildren. She does all she can to give them happy childhoods, like the times she remembers when there was plenty of rain and food. Every morning, after nothing to eat, she sets out on a long and dangerous journey, walking six hours to collect water.
While she walks, her stomach gives her stabbing pains. She feels weary under the hot sun. Her aching legs walk on… and on… because if she gives up, her grandchildren will hunger and thirst.
At last she comes home, exhausted. Her grandchildren cook her a meagre bowl of porridge – but they know she is still hungry. And she won’t have the strength to fetch water for much longer. It breaks their hearts to see their Grandma suffer like this.
The sad truth is, it doesn’t have to reach this breaking point.
There is an earth dam just minutes away from her home. It should be a lifeline. But others like Rose are also struggling to survive the drought. With many in dire need, every drop of water in the dam has dried up.
This is Rose’s climate crisis. No matter how hard she battles against it, drought leaves her hungry and heartbroken.
Traditional Christian Aid House to House collections again were abandoned at Holy Trinity for obvious reasons of safety and the natural hesitation collectors would have had about knocking on people’s doors, not to mention the reluctance householders may have had to open their doors to strangers in a pandemic. Instead a JustGiving page was again set up for Holy Trinity which again did remarkably well. This year as well for the first time, we used delivery only envelopes in our patch, to be returned to the church office, and with out JustGiving link and QR code on for online donations. The overall result was the best by some way for many years. £1690 of the £1880 given through JustGiving was Gift Aided, adding £422.50 to the total. £855.25 of the £1.452.25 received in cash and cheques through delivery only envelopes and direct donations through church was Gift Aided, adding £213.81 to the total. This adds £636.31 to our total of £3332,25, so that in all we collected £3968.36 including Gift Aid. Tremendous! We will be repeating delivery only envelopes next year, along with some online giving facility.
Thanks to our support, Rose’s access to water has improved – her community were shown how to make the most of their dam so they could capture every drop when it rained. Our Christian Aid Week gifts have given Rose, and people just like her, hope that they can stand strong against the elements. ‘Water is life,’ Rose told us. ‘When it is readily available, the peace of mind people have, especially women, is beyond explanation.’
You only need to look to Florence, who lives in another Kenyan community, to see the lasting impact your gifts can have. With her dam, Florence has been able to grow her farm and harvest honey, meaning more nutritious food and income for her family. ‘We can now easily access water and the earth dam has never run dry,’ Florence said.
Christian Aid Week 2022 is from Sunday 15 May to Saturday 21 May
Hopefully we will be back to something like normal by then. Meanwhile Christian Aid asks us all to give, act and pray. You don’t have to wait for Christian Aid Week to give, you can donate through the Christian Aid website www.christianaid.org.uk You can also find out lots of information on Christian Aid there and its campaigns on climate change, debt cancellation for poorer countries and much more. It’s easier to just deliver delivery only envelopes, and not have to collect, so why not volunteer for 2022?
Ken Pattison 0117 968 1485, email@example.com