Christian Aid estimates that there are today 65 million people across the globe – the population of a country like France – who are in some way ‘displaced’, meaning that they have been driven to flee their homes because of disasters (like drought or flooding) or conflict, such as war or political oppression or persecution. Many of those will stay close to their homes or their home country in the hope of returning when things get better, or to stay in touch with their loved ones. Others, like the many displaced people in Europe in the aftermath of the Second World War, are on the move and seeking security and a home.
Christian Aid Week started 60 years ago to support what the organisation which in 1964 was renamed Christian Aid but was then called Christian Reconstruction in Europe. Then as now, Christian Aid (‘We believe in life before death’) is not out to evangelise but to alleviate suffering, in the case of refugees to bring security and comfort, helping them on the ground and advocating for policies that protect them.
We’ve been there for refugees since 1945. We won’t turn our backs now
Christian Aid has been a rock for those in need and far from home and as their literature says, ‘we’re not going to turn away from refugees who need us now. If you can, listen to and watch the very short video* of Theodor Davidovic, orphaned at eight, helped by organisations like Christian Aid, and now at 91 still a life-long supporter and volunteer in Scotland. This is what he says:
‘The Christians sent the parcels and I never forgot it. I feel I owe my life to the cause. To Christian Aid, I promised I would do my best, as long as I live, and I am still doing it.’
I’m sure we who owe so much to the comfortable life we have inherited could also lend a hand and add vital support to the Christian Aid cause, people like Nejebar and her husband Noor, stuck in a refugee camp in Greece (see below).
Christian Aid Week, a massive movement today which unites 20,000 churches ‘to demonstrate Jesus’ justice’, is a great opportunity for us to support this worthy charity in trying to help solve a problem which we probably all worry about but without knowing quite how to help.
David Soward (volunteer speaker for Christian Aid)