Andrew Kirkham has just returned from South Sudan, the most dangerous country in the world for humanitarian aid workers, having met some of the brave people who have fled the civil war that has brought famine to the East African country. He will be speaking at St John’s church, Lytham St Annes on Sunday 21st May at 10.30am about the trip and everyone is welcome.
Mr Kirkham, who was born and brought up in Lytham St Annes, was visiting South Sudan ahead of Christian Aid Week (May 14-20, www.caweek.org) to see how the work of the charity is helping people there to survive the famine. 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.
Mr Kirkham, said: “The people we met in the Nyal region are among some of the hardest hit by an increasingly desperate situation. Many of them have been displaced several times, and have lost dearest loved ones, lost everything they owned. They have been taken in by host communities, and meagre resources have been shared between families.
“But what also strikes you is the resilience of people, how strong they have had to be in the face of such horrific events. They want to be able to grow food for themselves, to send their children to school, to be able to restart their own businesses, to support themselves and their families. They need help to be able to do this. Above all, the message is very clear. Humanitarian assistance, health delivery, trauma support, are all important, and gratefully received. But above all, what they need is peace.”
“I urge people to support Christian Aid Week this week, because our local partner organisations in South Sudan are making a huge difference, making sure that humanitarian assistance and essential support, including much-needed food and clean water, reaches some of the hardest to reach areas.
“These local organisations have walked with and stayed with these communities throughout, and the South Sudanese churches we work with are the one of the few hopes for peace - in providing spiritual guidance and pastoral support, being the voice of the voiceless and making sure the voices of South Sudanese are heard in peace negotiations, and in laying the groundwork for national reconciliation and healing.
“Christian Aid has been walking with the South Sudanese since the 1970s, and we have strong relationships with inspirational South Sudanese who will build a positive future for South Sudan, but they need our continued support. In its darkest hour, we will continue to walk with them on this difficult journey and let them hear our voices of international solidarity.”
This year, Christian Aid marks 60 years of Christian Aid Week and is inviting people to join them in standing in solidarity with refugees around the world. The charity has been working with refugees since the Second World War, and is not turning its back now.
Mr Kirkham is taking part in a bucket fundraising collection in the town centre throughout this weekend (20th-21st May), as well as a door-to-door collection on Sunday (21st) in Ansdell.
You can help to change the lives of people fleeing conflict and crisis this Christian Aid Week by donating online at www.caweek.org calling 08080 006 006, or texting ‘GIVE’ to 70040 to give £5.
Notes to Editors:
1. Christian Aid works in some of the world's poorest communities in around 40 countries at any one time. We act where there is great need, regardless of religion, helping people to live a full life, free from poverty. We provide urgent, practical and effective assistance in tackling the root causes of poverty as well as its effects.
2. Christian Aid’s core belief is that the world can and must be changed so that poverty is ended: this is what we stand for. Everything we do is about ending poverty and injustice: swiftly, effectively, sustainably. Our strategy document Partnership for Change (http://www.christianaid.org.uk/images/partnership-for-change-summary.pdf) explains how we set about this task.
3. Christian Aid is a member of the ACT Alliance, a global coalition of more than 130 churches and church-related organisations that work together in humanitarian assistance, advocacy and development. Further details at http://actalliance.org
4. Follow Christian Aid's newswire on Twitter: http://twitter.com/caid_newswire
5. For more information about the work of Christian Aid visit http://www.christianaid.org.uk