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Thank You for Being A Friend

by Gerry Lynch last modified 15 May, 2017 03:26 PM

Diocese’s Churchgoers Thanked for Support After Christian Aid CEO Visits South Sudan

The Chief Executive of Christian Aid, Loretta Minghella OBE, has thanked the Diocese of Salisbury and local churchgoers for their phenomenal support for the charity’s South Sudan Appeal after returning from a visit to the war-torn country. 

Ms Minghella, an honorary Canon at Salisbury Cathedral, met people who have fled from the civil war that has brought famine to the East African country and saw the aid projects bringing hope to remote communities.  

Her visit comes after the Diocese of Salisbury raised over £74,000 for Christian Aid projects in South Sudan (you can still donate via this link) ahead of Christian Aid Week (www.caweek.org) which began on Sunday.

Since fighting broke out in 2013, 82 humanitarians have been killed in the country making it the most dangerous country for aid workers in the world.  

Ms Minghella said, “South Sudan is a beautiful country full of generous and determined people. Despite the horror stories, it has great potential.  

“I heard some heart-breaking stories of people having to leave their homes and flee the fighting into the surrounding wetlands. Many of them walked through the water for five days, carrying their elderly and disabled with them.  They slept on islands with only waterlilies to eat.  At some points the water came up to their necks and tragically, many children drowned. 

“Their destination was Nyal in Unity State, an area cut off from the rest of the country by swamps. Although they’ve escaped the violence, the protection provided by the surrounding marshes is also the thing that makes it so hard to reach them to trade and to deliver supplies.    

“People have been kept alive partly thanks to bags of grain dropped by air but it’s vital that we help them find more sustainable sources of food.  That’s why it was great to see Christian Aid’s local partner organisation UNIDO providing fishing hooks so people could catch fish as well as developing ‘demonstration gardens’ to show all the different kinds of fruit and vegetables that can be grown once people are given the right seeds and skills.  

“We also visited a clinic where they check for malnutrition and provide special supplements to ensure babies survive their vulnerable early years. 

“If peace can be secured then South Sudan has the potential to recover and become a jewel of Africa. It has fertile soils, it has rich deposits of gold and oil and it’s also home to the second largest animal migration in the world – a potential source of tourism, if only the guns would fall silent.  

“Until then, the important thing is to keep hope alive and give the most vulnerable the tools to ensure they can build livelihoods which will make them resilient to food shortages like we’ve seen this year.  I know from meeting them, and seeing their determination to make a better life for themselves, that with a bit of help, they will succeed. 

“The visit brings home just how vital the support of the people of the Diocese of Salisbury is, has been and will be: their donations are helping to save and transform lives. On behalf of Christian Aid and our partners working under extremely difficult conditions in South Sudan, I want to thank everyone who is helping to turn fear into hope and giving people a chance of life before death. We are humbled and inspired by your response.” 

As Christian Aid Week celebrates its 60th anniversary supporters across Wiltshire, Dorset, and beyond, will be involved in fundraisers from cream teas, sponsored walks, a fitness class, Big Brekkies and collections at supermarkets and railway stations as well as house to house. Over the past five years, supporters in Wiltshire alone have raised over £591,000 during Christian Aid Week to stand in solidarity with those trapped in poverty.

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