As we approach one of the most sacred seasons in the Christian calendar, a group of students from east London are making an outrageous proposal. They are asking that we join them in boycotting Christmas!
The students of Eastside Young Leaders’ Academy are launching a fundraising campaign called ‘Let’s Boycott Christmas’ aimed at supporting children in need in 5 African countries. Although the title sounds somewhat counterintuitive these conscious students are at pains to point out that their purpose is to ‘tear down Santa and lift up Jesus’. In their view this campaign and indeed the point of Christmas, embodies the message of Proverbs 19:17 “whoever gives to the poor lends to the Lord“. What could be more thrilling and pointed than lending money to God?
One of the young leaders, Keza, a first year medical student, said;
“we are excited to announce the launch of the Let’s Boycott Christmas (LBC) crowdfunding campaign. Our aim is to raise £250,000 for charities in Africa by asking the public to divert a tiny portion of the funds spent on indulgent Christmas gifts, to families who are truly in need. This pandemic has forced millions into poverty in sub Saharan Africa, reversing years of progress in the region. As conscious sisters and brothers in the UK, we felt compelled to help – if not us, then who?”
The average British family spends £780 on Christmas festivities, just £5 can buy a school uniform for a child in Kenya, (£3.50 in Nigeria) and £30 can educate a child in The Gambia for a year.
Speaking on the campaign, Ray Lewis, executive director of EYLA, said:
“The pandemic has highlighted the harsh realities of this unequal struggle and the fragility of those most in need. Through our own research – and information provided by NGOs on the ground – Eastside wants to target girls’ education programmes and employment prospects in Ghana, The Gambia, Kenya, Nigeria and Sierra Leone”.
Lewis points out that
“this campaign is not about removing the joys of Christmas; it is about ensuring that the true spirit of Christmas – that of giving – is paramount. We are not asking you to do away with all Christmas expenditure but to pause and think of how you could help others by sharing a little what you might spend on festivities. In these countries children have not attended school since March and are unlikely to resume until January 2021. Each of the charities we are partnering has a focus on education. This year, which has been full of so many lows, can end on a high because of people like us.
Please join us in making a stand against over-consumerism for the sake of the most vulnerable; even a small contribution will make a big difference.”
Eastside Young Leaders’ Academy was founded by community leaders in London in 2002 and provides a full supplementary education programme for children and young people aged 8-18. This includes out of school tuition, leadership training, in-school workshops and a scholars’ programme which provides access to bursaries at state and independent boarding schools. EYLA’s programmes remove barriers to learning, support educational recovery and acceleration, and provide enrichment opportunities.
Following the COVID-19 pandemic and in light of protests relating to Black Lives Matter, Eastside Young Leaders’ Academy has shifted its focus to do more to help combat inequality.
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To donate, check out our JustGiving page at: https://www.justgiving.com/e-y-l-a
You can also use our donation text service, stating how much you would like to donate e.g. text BOYCOTT 5 to 70085 to donate £5, or BOYCOTT 10 to donate £10 etc. (NB there is a space between BOYCOTT and your chosen number).