Christian Aid Week is 12-18 May this year. As with previous years, Christian Aid will focus on a particular problem in a particular country. This year’s focus is on expectant mothers in Sierra Leone: “the world’s most dangerous place to give birth”.

Every day, 10 women die in Sierra Leone (population 7.6 million) giving birth. To put it in perspective, in the UK, less than 10 women die per 100,000 live births. In Sierra Leone it is about 1500 deaths per 100,000. The causes of maternal deaths relate to poor medical care during pregnancy and lack of appropriate centres for mothers to give birth and for emergency complications to be managed. Watch the Christian Aid video of Jebbeh telling the sad story of her sister who died while attempting to walk to a hospital to give birth

Christian Aid was founded in 1945 by British and Irish churches to help refugees following the Second World War. For more than 70 years, they have provided humanitarian relief and long-term development support for poor communities worldwide, while highlighting suffering, tackling injustice and championing people’s rights. Today, they work in 37 countries, with people of all faiths and none, to stand up for dignity, equality and justice. They are clear that they are a Christian organisation: “we seek to follow the teaching of Jesus Christ, who commanded his followers to love their neighbour and work for a better world”.

St George’s has supported Christian Aid in many ways over the years, long term by supporting the Community Projects Scheme as well as supporting Christian Aid Week.

The Community Projects Scheme link an organisation such as St George’s Church, or your local school, to Christian Aid projects in some of the world’s poorest communities. Each project lasts between two and four years. When St George’s raised £5,000, the European Union and other designated partners matched the fund by at least three times – turning £5,000 into £20,000! St George’s Church collected the donations from Great North Run runners, abseiling the Tyne Bridge and sponsored walks. On joining the scheme, St George’s Church selected the Christian Aid project it wanted to support. St George’s congregation supported disabled people in the Lebanon and the West Bank of Palestine (matched funds 20K), Kenya’s maternal and child health (matched funds £20K) and the scheme that empowered women and girls by providing them with reproductive and sexual health services in El Salvador and Honduras (matched funds £30K).

And each year, we support Christian Aid Week. We have held our main collection on Sunday 12th May but you are still able to donate by getting a Christian Aid envelope from the Church this week (open every weekday 9.30-12.30). You have the option of completing the Gift Aid section which increases the amount of money Christian Aid will get at no extra cost to you. We ask you to then post the completed envelope through the Parish Office letter box.

Or you can donate directly by visiting the Christian Aid webpage which has information on how the money you donate will be used to help mothers in Sierra Leone