Gordon Brown has urged people to “give generously” to Christian Aid at this difficult time for the world, backing the charity’s transformed Christian Aid Week 2020 and its focus on helping the most vulnerable communities tackle the coronavirus.
The former prime minister, who helped launch Christian Aid Week 2019 at an event in London last year, endorsed this May’s digital Christian Aid Week focus on helping those who will be “hardest hit” by the virus.
Mr Brown, who in 2019 described Christian Aid as a “national institution”, and whose mother collected for Christian Aid, said:
“Christian Aid Week this year will focus on the needs of those who have been hardest hit by the coronavirus in the poorest countries with the least developed health systems, often with no social protection whatsoever. Please give generously.”
Mr Brown added:
“Christian Aid was founded in a time after The Second World War when as a country we were acutely aware of our common humanity.
“Seventy-five years after VE day there is an urgent need for us to rediscover how we can work together to make this world a safer, more connected and far fairer place.”
Christian Aid Week transformed
Since 1957 the week has brought communities together in action and prayer and while the coronavirus pandemic means that Christian Aid Week 2020 (10-16 May) will be different, churches across Britain are being invited to stand in solidarity with the world’s most vulnerable people in new and innovative ways.
Many Christian Aid supporters were planning house-to-house collections and events for Christian Aid Week. Under the current circumstances, these cannot go ahead.
Nick Georgiadis, director of fundraising and supporter engagement for Christian Aid, said:
“We’re so grateful to our supporters up and down the country who every year turn out to raise money for our work through collecting and holding events with their neighbours and churches. Love unites us all and, while we’re disappointed that these events won’t happen face to face, we know that, in our 75th year, our amazing supporters won’t forget their global neighbours, hardest hit by this pandemic.
“We would love people to join in and take part in a vibrant, virtual Christian Aid Week online – the world’s poorest communities need us now more than ever. This year’s Christian Aid Week will undoubtedly be a different experience, but we know supporters will do all they can to make it the same life-changing and joyous week that we have run since 1957.” With daily quizzes and live-streamed worship, supporters can be involved from their own homes and could also take part in the 300,000 steps in May challenge which will be run through Facebook or send an electronic donation envelope – an ‘e-envelope’ – to friends and family.
Christian Aid’s response to the coronavirus
Amanda Khozi Mukwashi, CEO of Christian Aid, added:
“The coronavirus pandemic threatens not only to jeopardise the health of a region, but of the world. It has shown us that our futures are bound more tightly together than ever before.
“The coronavirus does not discriminate who it targets – rich or poor – and our experience has shown us that it will be the poorest who will bear the brunt.
“We anticipate that some of the world’s poorest countries, with the weakest health systems and most vulnerable people, will be exposed to this deadly virus. They will struggle to cope with any costs of healthcare, the costs of being unable to earn a living while ill or quarantined, and the costs of rebuilding their lives afterwards.”
Christian Aid will use the lessons learned from the Ebola crisis in Sierra Leone, to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus, including:
- Prioritising the poorest and most marginalised groups and ensuring they have access to information and services free from fear and misinformation
- Working to prevent the spread of the virus by providing hygiene items and sanitation improvements
- Ensuring the voices of the most vulnerable people are being heard and that the response is catering for their needs
- Protecting vulnerable people and keeping them safe through our work with church partners and other faith-based organisations.