21 April 2017
To mark Christian Aid Week’s 60th anniversary, 14-20 May 2017, and to highlight the charity’s long term commitment to supporting refugees, Christian Aid has released a new animation based on the real-life story of Theodor Davidovic, a WWII refugee from Serbia. Theodor received life-saving support from Christian Aid and went on to dedicate his life to the charity and helping others in need.
Theodor, who narrated the animation at the age of 91, was orphaned as a child and sold into domestic service, eventually joining the resistance movement at 16 to fight against Germany. After the war, he found himself in refugee camps in Italy and Germany, but says he never forgot the care packages he received from Christian Aid.
After he escaped the refugee camps, Theodor moved to Scotland where he got married to Betty and started a new life. He began collecting for Christian Aid in the 1970s, because ‘he felt he owed his life to the cause’. Now, in his nineties, he is still supporting Christian Aid.
Theodor said: “When I was in the camps, it was the Christians who sent the parcels. They were sending parcels for the two and a half years that I was there, and I will never forget it. That’s why I volunteered to go and collect for Christian Aid.”
When asked how he felt about being in the animation, he replied: “Betty and I have a giggle and I say to her, ‘Look you’re married to a film star’. My sons and grandchildren haven’t seen it yet but I’m looking forward to showing them”.
Today, tens of millions of people across the globe are forced from their homes due to war, conflict and disaster. Many are forced to make life-threateningly dangerous journeys in search of a safe place to call home.
While the majority of today’s refugees seek sanctuary in poor countries, in 2015 some one million people crossed into Europe. With borders across the continent now closed to refugees, thousands are stranded – and in need of urgent help.
Loretta Minghella, Chief Executive of Christian Aid said: “We have been supporting refugees since European refugees sought refuge in London in the aftermath of the Second World War, and we are not turning our backs now.
“We are incredibly thankful to Theodor for his unwavering dedication to Christian Aid over the years and are pleased to celebrate his – and our other supporters’ - support as Christian Aid Week turns 60.
“Still today there are millions of families – mothers, fathers, children – who are running from conflict, danger and persecution around the world in search of a safe place to call home. It’s time to say that they have been running long enough.
Christian Aid Week unites over 20,000 churches every year to achieve incredible things to support our global neighbours in need, who are suffering through no fault of their own. With their support, Christian Aid and its global partners continue to provide support for people seeking a safe place to call home, with essentials including food and shelter, as well as advocating for policies to protect them and help them on the ground.
You can help to change the lives of refugees 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 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.