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Christian Aid 70 Ireland 1945 years of

Christian Aid

Spring-Summer 2015



Number 47

Christian Aid Week 10-16 May 2015

As vital today as it's always been

Christian Aid Ireland is the official relief and development agency of the Church of Ireland, the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, the Non-subscribing Presbyterian Church of Ireland, the Methodist Church in Ireland, the Moravian Church, the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), the Salvation Army, and the Irish Council of Churches.

It is a member of ACT Alliance (Action by Churches Together), the worldwide ecumenical network for emergency relief. Christian Aid is a signatory to the D贸chas Code of Conduct on Images & Messages. More details can be found on Please send any feedback about images in this publication to

Rosamond Bennett Chief Executive, Christian Aid Ireland Belfast Linden House, Beechill Business Park, 96 Beechill Road, Belfast BT8 7QN Tel: (028) 9064 8133 Email: Contacts: Deborah Doherty, Head of Church & Community Adrian Horsman, Head of Communications & Media


How we communicate with you We are always trying to find new and better ways to share our stories and news with you, in the most affordable way. From now on we will only produce two magazines a year, instead of three. We are also working hard to improve our online communications. Our monthly e-zine, Christian Aid Ireland eNews, will continue to be sent to everyone who has signed up to receive emails. It is a great way to stay up to date with the work of our partners overseas and in Ireland, and it allows you to share stories that inspire you. If you are not getting email updates and would like to, you can register on our website,, or by emailing or You can also join the conversation online by liking our Facebook page - and following Christian Aid Ireland on Twitter (@christianaidirl).

Canal House, Canal Road, Dublin 6 Tel: (01) 496 7040 Email:

There are other exciting developments as well. We have started work on a new, redesigned website for Christian Aid Ireland and we will be sharing details on that in the coming months.

Contact: Peter Byrne, Church and Community Manager (Dublin)

In the meantime, please enjoy this magazine - and when you've finished it, pass it on to a friend!

Cork Hill View, Bandon, Cork Tel: (023) 88 41468 Email: Contact: Andrew Coleman, Fundraising Co-ordinator Republic of Ireland Registered charity no. 20014162 Company no. 426928 Northern Ireland Registered charity no. NIC101631 Company no. NI059154

The work of Christian Aid Ireland is based on our Christian belief that everyone, regardless of faith or race, is entitled to live a full life, free from poverty. We believe in tackling the root causes of poverty, not just the symptoms. We believe the world can and must be changed so that there is equality, dignity and freedom for all. We are driven to make this change happen and to inspire others to help make it happen.


@christianaidirl Designed and printed by


Editorial Some of the thought-provoking messages on the front cover may have caught your eye. Stark messages, like 'Ignore the hungry, and they'll go away' over a picture of a graveyard. When those posters were first published by Christian Aid in the 1960s and '70s they were speaking to a world that was perhaps more innocent. News about the rest of the world was harder to come by. Messages about poverty in faraway lands had to be short and to the point. Poverty still means hunger today - but it manifests itself in many other ways too: child labour, human trafficking, the suppression of women, death by HIV and malaria, the theft of land by the rich and powerful, indeed the theft by big corporations of a poor country's means to build its own hospitals and schools. I was speaking at the UN Council on the Status of Women last month. While there, I heard the most distressing story about young girls in remote villages of Nepal being sold by their fathers into a life of prostitution. I've written more about this on page 8. But it brought home to me how much more we still need to do and say and campaign about if we are to bring an end to the scourge of poverty. In the seven decades that Christian Aid - the agency of the churches - has been in existence, we have worked long and hard together to bring an end to poverty in all its forms. And with your support we will continue that work.

9 News ■ 4 Unsung heroes

Half a century of volunteering ■ 6 Emergencies

Four years of conflict in Syria ■ 8 The ‘last girls'

Sold by your father into a life of prostitution ■ 9 Christian Aid Week

A stark choice for the very poor

■ 10 Christian Aid at 70

The story so far, from 1945 to today

Poverty is not inevitable. Poverty is a problem caused by us. It’s a problem that can be solved by us.

■ 12 Speaking out

Rosamond Bennett



Christian Aid Week is coming and we appreciate and thank you for giving your time and money and prayers. Also in the coming months we intend to hold many more exciting events - in fact, we are aiming for 70 events to mark our 70th anniversary. Have a look in the centre pages of this magazine for further details.

God bless.


Campaigns Tax justice and climate change - what you can do


Overseas ■ 16 South America

CEO Christian Aid Ireland

Floods in Bolivia and protecting women in Brazil

Events ■ 18 Cycling, walking and ■ Cover: A selection of posters advertising Christian Aid Week through the decades, to mark our 70th anniversary.


other fun fundraising events Christian Aid Ireland


News ‘Unsung Hero’ award for Christian Aid volunteer Andy Murray Congratulations to Christian Aid volunteer Andrew Murray, who received recognition as an ‘Unsung Hero’ from the Belfast City Lord Mayor, Nichola Mallon. The award is a fitting recognition for Andy's involvement with Christian Aid since the late 1950s.

Christian Aid volunteer Andy Murray at the award ceremony, with the Lord Mayor of Belfast Nichola Mallon and Christian Aid CEO Rosamond Bennett.

He and his late wife Edna organised the annual Christian Aid Week house-to-house collections for their church, Townsend Street Presbyterian, in the lower Shankill Road. They expanded the collection to their neighbourhood of Ballygomartin and despite many challenges in this area, Andy has continued to reach out to his community on behalf of Christian Aid. Andy has led by example and has inspired generosity in others. He is a great example of all that is good about Belfast and in particular the generous spirit of the people of North Belfast. We are deeply grateful for his dedication.

164 walkers, including TV chat host Graham Norton, took part in the 2014 Sheep's Head Hike. The walk has raised over €6,500, money that will help fund everything from schools to women’s projects and water systems in some of the world’s poorest communities. The Christian Aid Sheep’s Head Hike is one of West Cork’s largest hiking events. Since its launch in 2009, the event has raised nearly €40,000. Please mark 5 September 2015 as a date in your diary - it will be another great day and we hope to raise even more funds for the world’s poorest.

Sheep’s Head Hike

A special 'thank you' to all who took part, and to the organising committee, local churches, the Red Cross and West Cork Rural Transport who provided buses for the event.

Presentation of a €6,500 cheque of funds raised through the 2014 Sheep’s Head Hike. Sandra Dukelow, Caroline Coleman, Helen O’Mahoney (Sheep’s Head Way Committee), Sean Coughlan (Sheep’s Head Way Committee), Richard Dukelow, Margaret Skuce, David Hayward, Patricia Bevan (West Cork Development Partnership). In the front is event organiser Andrew Coleman from our Christian Aid office in Cork.

Making a world of a difference with a cup of coffee Fair Play Café and the Anchorage Project, in Ringsend, Dublin 4, donated €20,000 to Christian Aid in memory of Audrey Byrne, the late wife of Peter Byrne (Church and Community Manager, Christian Aid Ireland). The café, known locally for its community fundraising projects, has raised over €164,000 for various charities to date. The funds to Christian Aid will go towards rehabilitating and supporting former child soldiers in the Democratic Republic of Congo. 4

Christian Aid Ireland

Pictured here are Joe and Sharon Donnelly of Fair Play Café presenting their cheque to Peter Byrne.

‘Meet the Samburu’

our new primary school resource

'Meet the Samburu' is our new teaching resource for primary school teachers who want to inspire their class to learn about people and cultures around the world.

It tells the story of Stella Leporole, a member of the Samburu tribe, in northern Kenya, also known as the ‘butterfly people’. Your class will learn about the Samburu traditions and ways of life, and how Stella’s village is becoming more resilient to seasonal changes in their local environment. The resource includes suggestions for science, art and geography activities like measuring rainfall and making Samburu-style jewellery, as well as ideas to inspire your pupils about making a difference in the world.

Get your copy online or contact the Dublin or Belfast office to have a copy sent to you.

The theology of land ‘Land is a God-given gift, so the question is how do we work that land back to being a gift?’ The inspiring words of Graham Philpott from South Africa, to Christian Aid supporters on his recent visit to Ireland. As he explained to churches, schools and on the radio, ‘Twenty years after the end of apartheid, many black people are still dispossessed and cannot gain access to what was their land.’ Graham’s organisation, the Church Land Programme (CLP), works with Durban’s shack-dwellers in their constant struggle against eviction and with the landless poor in more rural areas, especially women’s groups. CLP, with the support of Christian Aid, has helped facilitate the handing-over of more than 50% of previously churchowned land to the rural poor.

Sarah Leeman, Christian Aid, with members of All Saints Parish Church, Eglantine, Lisburn.

Saving the lives of mothers and babies in Kenya Over the last year All Saints Parish Church, Eglantine, has been working hard to raise funds for one of Christian Aid’s Community Partnerships that is working to revolutionise maternity healthcare. The church raised a tremendous £6,266.86 for a maternity project in Kenya’s Narok County. With EU match-funding every £5,000 of donations for this Community Partnership three times over, All Saints Parish has in reality helped raise a final figure of more than £21,200! Thank you to all who worked so hard to meet this target. Can your church, business, school or other community group help fundraise for a Community Partnership? Please contact Sarah Leeman in our Belfast office on (028) 9064 8133 or email

Graham Philpott addressing Christian Aid supporters in Belfast.

Christian Aid Ireland


Syria crisis: the human cost of four years of fighting Over 200,000 people have been killed and millions forced to flee their homes since the Syrian conflict broke out in March 2011. 7.6 million people are displaced inside Syria and a further 3.8 million have fled to neighbouring countries, including Lebanon and Iraq. Inside Syria 10.8 million people are in need of humanitarian support.

Hayat fled Homs for Hasakah (both within Syria) when the fighting broke out. But when the fighting spread to Hasakah, she moved to Iraq. She has 6 children including Sidra (in picture). Here she stands outside a makeshift camp in Arbat, northern Iraq.

Photo: Christian Aid/ Sarah Malian


They are now also responding to the longer term needs, especially for vulnerable groups such as women, children, people with disabilities and Palestinian refugees from Syria. Our partner ASUDA has been working on a programme for Syrian women in northern Iraq and the Lebanese Handicapped Union is providing badly needed direct services to Syrian refugees with disabilities. Thanks to the generosity of Christian Aid supporters, our partners are able to continue to reach the most vulnerable and provide support to communities in desperate need.

In Yarmouk, a district of Damascus that was previously home to Syria’s largest Palestinian refugee community, thousands of Palestinians are still under siege. With little or no access to food or water dozens have died of starvation. The media spotlight may have shifted, but the number of vulnerable people continues to increase as the humanitarian crisis goes on. Christian Aid’s partners are working tirelessly to provide vital assistance to thousands of displaced families by distributing food, fuel for cooking, hygiene and sanitation kits, water containers, cash assistance and psychosocial support. 6

Christian Aid Ireland

Asuda distributing hygiene kits to Syrian women in Iraq. This programme is also funded by Irish Aid through Christian Aid.

Photo: Christian Aid / Tracey Shelton

Four years on families are still living in cramped and overcrowded conditions in countries struggling to cope with the overwhelming number of refugees.

Stephanie took this photo of her baby sister Peace. Stephanie’s mum nearly died giving birth to her while they were still in Syria. ‘They were very happy and laughing, I liked it. Of all my pictures, I like this one best.’

When a picture really is worth a thousand words The #withSyria coalition, of which Christian Aid is a member, has launched a global petition calling on world leaders to do more to end the suffering of the Syrian people. Please sign the petition at For more information about our Syria appeal, or to donate, please visit

Thank you for supporting South Sudan The conflict in South Sudan has not only cost many lives and displaced thousands; the violence has stopped many farmers from planting or harvesting crops, causing nationwide food shortages. While there was a modest harvest in some areas, millions remain in need of food aid and at risk of a worsening food crisis. We are extremely grateful for the generous response of our supporters to our South Sudan food crisis appeal. We also received £132,000 from the Presbyterian Church’s Moderatorial Appeal and €300,000 from Irish Aid to help meet the needs of those worst hit by violence, insecurity and displacement - especially in remote areas. Your donations are making it possible for our partners to continue helping families in need of food and clean water. They are providing emergency supplies including blankets, cooking sets, sleeping mats, hygiene kits, mosquito nests and shelter.

If you would like to donate please contact our Dublin or Belfast office (details on page 2). Thank you.

Tabitha Ross writes about a photoblogging project that gives confidence to traumatised young people. Fourteen-year-old Stephanie is clever, responsible and talented. Emotion is near the surface though; it doesn’t take much for tears to spring to her eyes. Stephanie has lived through a lot. She spent a year sleeping in a cave, dug by her family on their farm in Syria, in order to shelter from the bombs. She nearly lost her mother and baby sister due to the war. She is now living as a refugee in neighbouring Lebanon, where she has missed out on nine months of school. Stephanie is being encouraged to share her experiences through photography, in a project run by Christian Aid partner Mouvement Social. The project, based in Beirut, gives cameras, photography training, mentoring and psycho-social support to a group of young Syrian refugees and local Lebanese young people. It is aimed at helping children who have been through traumatic experiences to be able to talk about them, to build confidence in themselves and trust in others. The young people chose the website name ‘Beirut Friends: Our Life in Photos’, and are loving taking and talking about the pictures, and seeing them appear online. You can see how the world looks through their eyes by looking at the online blog. See: Christian Aid Ireland



The story of 'the last girls' Rosamond Bennett In March I took part in the UN Commission on the Status of Women (New York), in my capacity as Chair of the Irish Consortium on Gender Based Violence. I heard many inspiring stories about the work being done for women and girls. But when Ruchira Gupta told the story of the ‘last girls’, it moved me to tears. Ruchira used to work as a journalist. She is now a trafficking abolitionist. While travelling in Nepal she noticed there were barely any young women in the villages she visited. When she asked why, she was told the girls had been sold by their fathers because they needed the money.

The Irish Consortium for Gender Based Violence (ICGBV) hosting an event on ‘Women, Peace and Security’ at the Commission for the Status of Women. (L-R) Deirdre Carbery (Irish Defence Forces), Tim Mawe (Irish Permanent Mission to the UN), Rosamond Bennett (ICGBV, Christian Aid Ireland) and Colm Byrne (Oxfam). Photo: Carol Ballantine, Trócaire.

Ruchira starting investigating and eventually made a documentary called ‘The Selling of Innocents’. She found that most of the girls were aged 9-13 years when they were sold, although she did meet one seven-year-old girl. The children are taken to Mumbai in India, were ‘buyers’ prefer Nepalese girls as they tend to be lighter skinned and make them more money. They are locked up, starved, beaten and drugged to break their spirits and keep them docile before they are sold to brothels. While working there they are not paid, as the brothel owners keep their earnings in payment for their purchase price. When the girls get to their twenties, they are seen as ‘used up’ and are discarded. By that time they are often sick, have children of their own and are addicted to the drugs which they were forced to take. When Ruchira started making her documentary, a man – possibly a brothel owner – tried to kill her. But the women she was with surrounded her and stopped him. They desperately wanted her to tell their story. Ruchira is determined to see ‘every last girl‘ saved from sex trafficking. She described the typical ‘last girl’ as 13, poor, with little or no education and has absolutely no-one to look out for her. She is alone.

Christian Aid believes that the realization of women and girls’ rights is crucial to the realization of human rights. Women’s rights are human rights. Save the last girls. 8

Christian Aid Ireland

Pebble Aid Two of our enterprising volunteers have been using their artistic talents to create a wide variety of sizes, shapes and colours of painted stones which are available to purchase. During our anniversary year, the proceeds will be for Christian Aid. Barbara Deane and Elizabeth Gowdy have many painted stones for you to view, or are happy to try to produce your special commission for that very important person or occasion. Tel: Barbara (028) 9081 3635 or Elizabeth (028) 9070 2057 Dialling code is 048 from the Republic

This Christian Aid Week, people across Ireland can help transform the lives of women like Loko.

Loko’s choice in life is simple, ‘If I can’t collect firewood, my children will die.’ Recently Kaye Steele, a Christian Aid intern from Bushmills in Co Antrim, met Loko and other women in her community in a remote corner of Ethiopia. Kaye described how four times a week, Loko has to make a back-breaking eight-hour trip to gather wood. It’s a task she dreads, but she steels herself to do it because if she doesn’t her children will starve. ‘Meeting Loko’, says Kaye, ‘was an eye-opening experience, because she isn’t that much older than me and we couldn’t live more completely different lives.’

Loko has to walk for hours carrying heavy loads of wood like this several times a week.

At the time of the visit, Loko told Kaye and the other interns, ‘My hope for the future and for my children rests in God. I work day and night and I pray to Him that my children will have good, successful lives.’

From 10-16 May, churches in both parts of Ireland will come together to pray, campaign and raise money to improve the lives of people like Loko. For more information visit

Christian Aid intern Kaye Steele shows photographs of her home in Co Antrim to some of the women in Loko’s village.

Christian Aid Week is approaching and we have plenty of ways you can get involved. Go to for fun fundraising ideas and events for your school, church or office. Our 2015 Christian Aid Week resources, including films, stories, sermon notes, envelopes and posters and other resources are now available to download or order. There are some great activities for youth and Sunday school.

We love coffee!

perfect yummy and give us the Not only does it taste s, it is also an afternoon with friend excuse to while away our amazing isers! Here in Ireland, one of our biggest fundra Aid ian Christ for eds of Coffee the year. supporters hold hundr hout throug Aid Week and events during Christian out find to on read joe and So grab yourself a cuppa r of your mug to raise vital powe how you can use the funds for our work.

If you are planning a coffee morning event, we have a new coffee break guide with event tips, ideas, and other useful information to you organise a great event You can download or order it at or get in touch and we will send one out to you. We will also send you a ‘coffee pack’ which includes Fairtrade coffee, and posters.

Belfast: (028) 9064 8133 or Dublin: (01) 496 7040 or Cork: (023) 884 1468 or Christian Aid Ireland


Christian Aid at 70:

'We are not called by God to do extraordinary things, but to do ordinary things with extraordinary love' Jean Vannier

In May 1945 the leaders of all the main churches in Britain and Ireland responded to the great need of refugees on a mainland Europe, devastated by war. By Deborah Doherty. More than £3 million in today’s money was raised in one weekend. It was used to buy bicycles and boats so that pastors could minister to their people, to provide food and medical supplies so that refugees could rebuild their lives and to find teachers and equip schools so that lives could begin to return to normal.

That was the beginning of Christian Aid.

groups. They soon inspired churches in the greater Dublin area to fundraise through soup lunches, collections and an annual sponsored walk in Phoenix Park. In Northern Ireland, local Christian Aid committees were formed to undertake the annual house to house collection in May each year. Today more than 90,000 volunteers collect throughout the UK during Christian Aid Week. For 70 years the organisation has tried to expose the scandal of poverty in developing countries. It has worked in more than 80 different countries to take practical action with local partners to help people pull themselves out of poverty. And it has sought to challenge and change the systems and structures that make and keep people poor. It has done this because the churches that created it and those that now ‘sponsor’ it believed that there could be no healthy ecumenical fellowship without practical solidarity.

• In the 1950s Christian Aid helped to set up Voluntary Service Overseas • In the 1960s Christian Aid helped to create the Disasters Emergency Committee

Those founders had a vision of a world where each person was respected because they were a human being; of a world where women and men and large nations and small would have equal rights; and of a world where there would be better standards of living and opportunities for all with everyone’s needs met. They had a vision where everyone would live in peace and harmony with others as good neighbours; and of a world without poverty. And they decided to create an agency to help build this vision. In the first instance it was called Christian Reconstruction in Europe. It then became Inter-Church Aid and Refugee Service and now it is known as Christian Aid.

• In the 1980s Christian Aid established a formal funding relationship with Irish Aid

It was this vision that also inspired a group of young men from Dublin, attending the World Council of Churches Youth Assembly in Lausanne, Switzerland, in 1960 to travel the length and breadth of Ireland on their return, showing 16mm films of Christian Aid’s work to churches and youth

How do we mark 70 years? We cannot celebrate the end of poverty, but we can give thanks for hope given in times of despair, for lives changed in positive ways, for exposing injustice and misuse of power, for standing alongside the poor and for giving the voiceless a voice.

• In the 1990s Christian Aid helped to set up the Fairtrade Foundation • In the 2000s Christian Aid Ireland was established as a separate entity to Christian Aid GB

We have challenged ourselves and our supporters to organise 70 events for the 70th year and at the time of writing we have 29!! Events can be large or small but details of all of them can be found on a special 70th page on our website

A wide variety of events are planned from Tea Parties to Barbecues - too numerous to list here, but two brand new events are:

» »


Sunday 24th May 2015 - Dublin Historic City Walk. Registration at Christ Church Cathedral from 11.45am. Route includes refreshments and music at Dublin Central Mission and concludes with Evensong at St Patrick’s Cathedral at 3.15pm. Friday 5th June 2015 - Christian Aid Inaugural Golf Day, at the golfing home of Rory McIlroy, Holywood Golf Club. Fourball £140, including evening meal. Two tee start 12pm – 1.15pm. Prizes include a 2014 Open Flag from Hoylake signed and authenticated by the world’s number one golfer - Rory McIlroy. We will also be holding a 70th Anniversary Service at 3.30pm on Sunday 19th April 2015 in St Anne’s Cathedral, Belfast. It will be led by Dean John Mann with an address from David Ford, Minister for Justice. Come along and represent your church/ town at this special event. There will be refreshments afterwards so if you can let us know how many are coming that would be very helpful.

'The Story So Far'

As we reflected on the many people who have been involved with Christian Aid in the past 70 years we were thrilled to discover that award-winning actress, Dame Judi Dench, travelled to Jerusalem with Christian Aid back in 1968. Dame Judi has maintained her interest in Christian Aid and we were delighted when she agreed to speak at one of our 70th Anniversary events this year. Due to her very busy schedule we have not yet confirmed a date, but it is likely to be in Dublin this autumn. Keep watching the webpage

- a special 5 minute DVD has been produced so that you can show the story of Christian Aid in your Church, School, with friends. George McCullagh, David Godfrey, John Bailey were just some of those young people who in 1960 were inspired by the Youth Assembly in Lausanne to start fundraising for Christian Aid in the Republic of Ireland. Scan the QR code to view the video or phone or e-mail the Belfast or Dublin offices to receive a FREE copy.

We’d love to add to this page and if you think you or your church, school, or friends could mark Christian Aid’s 70th in a particular way please do let us know: (028) 9064 8133 or (01) 496 7040


Speaking out on behalf of the world's poorest 2015 is a significant year politically for our main campaigns on climate change and tax justice. Later this year the United Nations will be putting into place new Sustainable Development Goals to replace the Millennium Development Goals, which come to an end in 2015. In December countries will meet in Paris for the UN climate conference where a new global climate deal has to be reached. The General Election in Northern Ireland is another great opportunity to engage parties and candidates on key campaign issues.

Climate Change The Republic of Ireland has recently introduced a Climate Change Bill. In our view it is still weak, and we will continue to campaign and lobby to improve it as it passes through the Oireachtas. In February, Christian Aid supported the Stop Climate Chaos day-long ‘lobby’ event in Buswells Hotel in Dublin. Hundreds of people contacted their TDs and asked them to attend the meeting. It was an opportunity for people to tell their TDs what areas of the Bill they wanted to see improved. We know the TDs listened as many of our concerns were subsequently tabled as amendments to the Climate Bill.

Over 120 people took part in the Christian Aid ‘Human Rights Impact of Tax and Fiscal Policy’ conference in Dublin.

Christian Aid conference brings tax debate to the fore Over 120 people, including tax and human rights experts and activists from Ireland and around the world took part in the Christian Aid conference on the human rights impact of tax and fiscal policy. The conference generated debate on the impact of Ireland’s tax policies, not only on developing countries, which are losing billions of much needed public funding to tax dodging, but also on the tax-paying citizens of Ireland. Speakers included tax justice activists, officials from Irish Aid, the Department of Finance, the OECD, journalists, universities and the private sector.

In Northern Ireland we are planning a joint post-election climate change lobby at Westminster, together with the UK Climate Coalition, to urge the UK government to make action on climate change a priority. We hope to have all Northern Ireland constituencies represented. Could you represent your constituency? We need people who are willing to take on the challenge of a marathon journey over land and sea to meet their MPs in person in Westminster. We are also planning a video conferencing option so you can lobby your MPs from a distance if you cannot travel to Westminster.

To take part in the Westminster Lobby, June 17, contact Dave Thomas 12 on (028) 9064 8133 or

One of the conference panel discussions in progress. From right: Cora O’Brien (Director of Policy at Irish Tax Institute), Ricardo Barrientos (Senior Economist at Central American Institute of Fiscal Studies, former Deputy Finance Minister, Guatemala), Professor Donncha O’Connel (Head of School of Law at NUI Galway), and Sheila Killian (Assistant Dean, Kemmy Business School, University of Limerick).

'ensure that there are rules developed, so that tax policy does not undermine social policy.' Also speaking at the conference, Lidy Nacpil, Coordinator of Tax Justice Asia emphasised the need for campaigning on tax justice.

Keynote speaker, Professor Philip Alston, UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights, addressing the conference.

The keynote speaker, Professor Philip Alston, the UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights, said;

She said; 'It’s very important that we campaign on issues that empower people rather than cultivate a situation where there is an apparent dependence on external help. I say ‘apparent’ because if the situation was different then I believe that we would have the capacity to generate the resources that we need for our own development.' Simon Harris TD, Minister of State for Finance, noted on the day that this conference simply would not have been able to happen three years ago, but the work of Christian Aid has brought the tax justice debate to the fore.

Professor Alston challenged the Irish government over some of its tax arrangements, which he said were 'not appropriately considered to be simply low tax policies, but are in fact policies that the Irish government knows well, facilitate the effective laundering of money by major multinational corporations with all too few benefits for Ireland and big detrimental consequences for developing countries and others.' Professor Alston also said that Ireland should be more 'actively and proactively' involved in the international debate on tax policy as it was in Ireland’s interests to

Grabbing a cup of coffee at the tax and human rights conference. (L-R) Rosamond Bennett (Christian Aid), Professor Philip Alstron (UN Rapporteur), Sorley McCaughey (Christian Aid) and Simon Harris TD (Minister of State at the Departments of Finance. Christian Aid Ireland


Photos by Maxwell Photography

'Tax and human rights are integrally related. In fact tax policy is human rights policy, where you decide to allocate your resources whether you collect resources and from whom makes all the difference in the human rights arena.'

Campaigning for a UK Tax Dodging Bill In Northern Ireland Christian Aid has joined other agencies, including Oxfam Ireland and Action Aid, to launch a campaign for a UK Tax Dodging Bill. We are asking political parties to support the introduction of this new legislation that will make it harder for companies to dodge taxes both in the UK and in developing countries. You can support this campaign by contacting your prospective parliamentary candidates in the run up to the general election. Visit to find out more. 2015 offers many opportunities to speak out on behalf of those who are worst affected by climate change and tax dodging. Please support us as we lobby those in power to put these issues on their agenda.

Tax Dodging Bill campaign launch

For more information about our campaigns work please contact David Thomas on (028) 9064 8133 (NI) or Michael Briggs on (01) 496 7040 (ROI), or email

A tax policy that leads to economic growth, but deepens inequality, needs to be challenged. Irish people have had a strange relationship with paying tax. For a long time, concocting clever ways of not paying taxes was looked upon with admiration. Engaging in financial chicanery was met with nods of admiring approval‘the cute hoor’. Perhaps it’s a legacy of our colonial past, where depriving the colonial overlord of his dues was a small but satisfying act of defiance. But the tragic reality of that legacy of defiance is that going to lengths to avoid and evade taxes due to the state just results in the state having to find the money for public services from other places. Often that can mean fewer public services, or hikes in other kinds of taxes. 14 Christian Aid Ireland

At the Christian Aid conference on tax and human rights last February, the point was made by the UN special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights Professor Philip Alston. Fiscal policy, and tax policy he said, are human rights policy – they are what determine states’ ability to ensure that there is enough money in the coffers to provide essential services for its citizens.

When you go to great lengths to avoid tax, you could well just be shooting yourself in the foot. Of course this is felt more acutely in countries of the global south, and Christian Aid’s expertise lies in our association with partners working in the global south. But the message that tax policy is essential for human rights is relevant in an Irish context as well. We have a tax policy in this country that is either famous or infamous depending on who you speak to. It has served us well in terms of inward investment. But for a long time criticism of our tax policy has been seen as almost blasphemy in some quarters. What Christian Aid would like to see happen is that Ireland’s tax policy be subject to regular monitoring and assessment through the lens of our human rights obligations. A tax policy that generates economic growth, but that might contribute to deepening societal inequality is one that needs to be challenged. The Department of Finance’s spillover analysis of its tax policy for any possible negative impact on countries of the global south is very welcome. When one considers that recent CSO figures showed that 130,000 children are living in material deprivation in Ireland, a similar exercise in Ireland would also seem to be timely and very welcome.

Sorley McCaughey is Head of Advocacy and Policy, Christian Aid Ireland

The safest place in Buenaventura

Local community creates a ‘humanitarian space’ in one of Colombia’s most violent cities. By Sarah O’Boyle My first impressions of Buenaventura belied its reputation as the most violent city in Colombia. When we visited last August 2014, there were vendors selling ice-cream by the seaside, people eating in the restaurants and children playing - just like any other seaside resort. It was hard to believe this was a city described in a Guardian article as a place of misery and despair. Buenaventura, the main port city in Colombia, is controlled by paramilitary groups who inflict unimaginable violence on its citizens. People live in constant fear of their lives and the safety of their children. Christian Aid partner, the Inter-ecclesiastical Commission for Justice and Peace (ICJP), have helped one local community set up a ‘humanitarian space’, on one street, that is free of violence. ICJP and Peace Brigades International (PBI), another Christian Aid partner, lobbied the government to provide protection, and as a result, police patrol the street to stop paramilitaries from entering. ICJP and PBI maintain a presence in the community to increase visibility and ensure police protection stays.

Sin Olvido: Children in front of former chop house holding sign a that says 'Never Forget'.

Seeing heavily armed police patrolling the area with AK47s was a bit intimidating, but children mingled among them carefree and the adults proudly proclaimed the street ‘the safest place in Buenaventura’. During our three-day visit, we slept opposite a former ‘chop house’ that was used by paramilitaries to torture, dismember and assassinate people. The house has since been demolished and the site is now reclaimed as part a space of remembrance for those who have died and a symbol of the spirit of hope and resilience of the community. The humanitarian space was four months old when we visited and there have been no violent incidents within it. While there is now a sense of security, people still face threats when they leave the humanitarian space. As a result, parents are afraid to let their children out to go to school, worried that they will be harmed or recruited into paramilitary groups and adults leaving to go to work have also been threatened. One female community leader told us that though she has received written death threats, she still believes in the power of her community and the space they have created.

‘I take strength from my community. I am doing this so my community can live in peace. If I die, I know that I’ve done something for my community’, she said Our stay in the humanitarian space was a show of solidarity to illustrate that the international community is watching. Which helps as the Colombian government wants to avoid international criticism. By putting pressure on our governments and the Colombian government, international communities like Ireland can contribute to the protection of these amazing, resilient communities that are trying to build peace. Christian Aid Ireland



The worst flooding in living memory

The temporary shelter where Mery’s family lived for months after the floods

When I visited Bolivia last October, one of the first places I went to was Capaina - one of the villages worst affected by the floods.

When I was there, the people of Capaina had just harvested their first crop of beans, rice and peanuts since the floods – thanks to the fast growing seeds and advice given to them by Soluciones Practicas.

Families told me how the water levels rose day after day, breaking the banks of the River Beni and drowning the land for miles. People had to swim to safety through raging, snake infested waters. Long canoes made from tree trunks were used to rescue entire families and take them to safety in villages further upstream.

'If the floods happen again we will be more prepared,' explained Mery Quete Canare, whose home was washed away. 'Our plan tells us to move to high ground where we will build a centre to store foods like peanuts and rice.'

In the immediate aftermath, Christian Aid partner Soluciones Practicas provided food, water purification tablets, hygiene kits and generators. Since then, Soluciones Practicas have worked with the community to develop an emergency action plan, which is now displayed in a communal area so everyone in the village knows how to prepare and what to do, should this happen again. Children in the school have been learning about disaster preparedness in school. They have even built a large model of their village, showing dangerous areas and the safest escape routes..

Sarah with Mery and Roger outside their partially completed home

16 Christian Aid Ireland

The big question is what caused this extensive flooding? Climate change is very evident and in the Bolivian capital of La Paz, in the high Andes mountains, it’s clear to see the glaciers have melted. But some people believe the flooding is caused by neighbouring Brazil’s big new hydroelectric dams, which control water levels further downstream. While that debate goes on Soluciones Practicas, with the help of Christian Aid, will continue rebuilding and securing livelihoods for some of Bolivia’s most vulnerable Amazonian communities.

Capaina Primary School children with the model of their village.

If you or your church group would like to hear more about how Christian Aid is supporting Soluciones Practicas, and other partner organisations in Bolivia, please call Sarah on 028 9064 8133 (Belfast) or email

Photos: Christian Aid / Phil lEvans

It is just over a year since severe flooding devastated thousands of families in Bolivia’s Amazon Basin, as our Appeals Officer Sarah Leeman writes.

A safe place for women Casa Noeli is a safe house for women in Ariquemes, a town in Brazil’s Amazon basin. Caroline Simpson, from Christian Aid’s Belfast office, wrote this personal account about her recent visit there. I wasn’t looking forward to this visit. President Dilma Rousseff recently stated that 15 women are killed daily in Brazil as a result of domestic violence and hearing stories of womens’ suffering is very difficult.

When a woman takes the brave decision to report her aggressor in the state of Rondônia, she can go to a women-specific police station in Ariquemes, the opening hours of which are very limited. If it’s closed, she and her children must go to the general police station, where the family will be made to wait in a cell. The one toilet doesn’t work and hasn’t for some time. I also discovered a number of unsympathetic male police staff.

Revd Elineide Ferreira, centre co-ordinator

The home itself, opened in 2011, is modest with a number of bedrooms, two bathrooms, an eating area and a small garden. Its location is kept as secret as possible. The all-female staff team includes centre coordinator, Revd Elineide Ferreira, volunteer psychologist Mary, pastor Maytee and Alice, who helps take care of the children. They arrange baking workshops so that the women can find employment and income once they leave. The safe house is a life-line and families can stay there until alternative housing is found and the women are psychologically strong enough to leave, up to a maximum of 90 days. Eliete, one of the house’s past residents, can do nothing but smile and give thanks for the life she now has with her children and her plans for the future.

But then Casa Noeli gets involved, and it is at this point that light finally starts to enter the darkness. The home is run by Christian Aid partner SADD, a service of the Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil.

As I left Casa Noeli to the sounds of women laughing and with children playing in the garden I felt no sadness but encouragement and great admiration for its staff and residents.

When women first arrive at Casa Noeli and meet the centre’s coordinator Revd Elineide Ferreira, they are introverted, unable to trust anyone and in fear of their lives. The house and its staff team, however, offer families much-needed safety and compassion.

As they have requested, I pray for physical and psychological strength for them all. I feel really blessed to have visited Casa Noeli and to have met such inspirational women. Photos by Clare Paine /Christian Aid

The visiting Christian Aid team at the safe house with the staff and former residents.

Previous residents of the safe house, Eliete and her son


Dublin Historical City Walk Sunday 24 May 2015 An exciting new family-friendly 5km looped historical walk in Dublin city centre.

Join the Climate Conversations Monday 20 April 2015 Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin

Join us for a ‘stroll through the city, churches and time’ across some of the Christian Aid supporting churches in Dublin city including Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin Central Mission, Eustace Street Friends Meeting House and St Patrick’s Cathedral. Registration at Christ Church Cathedral from 11:45am followed by tea and coffee at 12:30. We will have refreshments, live music (including a Zimbabwean Choir at Dublin Central Mission) and ending with Evensong at St Patrick’s Cathedral.. More information call 01 496 7040, email or visit

Belfast One World Run Christian Aid and Trócaire are hosting ‘Prophetic Voices’ - the fourth series of the Climate Conversations 2015. Columban priest and renowned environmentalist, Sean McDonagh, is the main speaker. Join people of different faiths and spiritual traditions, and from different generations, to explore how faith and spirituality can help to rebuild a deeper connection and appreciation of nature and where we can find the spiritual and ethical motivation we need to face the climate change challenges ahead. To register or for more information, call 01 496 7040 or email

Sunday 31 May 2015 Ormeau Park, Belfast Take part in this fun family-friendly marathon and help raise funds for four charities, including Christian Aid.

Greenway Cycle Saturday 13 June 2015 Newport, Co Mayo The Greenway Western Greenway trail is one of Ireland’s most popular cycle routes. So if you love cycling, live in or around the west coast, or would like to visit the west coast of Ireland, this is the cycle for you. Come hit the trail and pedal to eradicate poverty! For more information email or visit

Christian Aid Week 10-16 May 2015

Seven days of giving, acting and praying for the world’s poorest. 18 Christian Aid Ireland

Saturday 5 September 2015 Join us this September for stunning Sheep’s Head Way scenery, for a fun event with old and new friends and to help raise much needed funds for Christian Aid’s work. Whether you are a seasoned hiker or just want a fun hike with your family, we have a route for you. Registration is free, but you will be asked to raise funds.

Sheep’s Head Hike, Cork

For information contact Andrew Coleman on (023) 884 1468 or or go to

Wicklow Way Hike, Wicklow

Strangford Sportive Cycle

Saturday 4 July 2015

Saturday 3 October 2015 Delamont Country Park, County Down

This is another new fun fundraising event in Wicklow for hiking fans. The Christian Aid Wicklow Way Hike will take you along a 10km loop hike, for approximately 4.5 hours, from Whitechurch, County Dublin, on to the Wicklow Way and the 'Fairy Castle' on Two Rock Mountain. There will be more information in the coming weeks, but you can register your interest by contacting the Christian Aid Dublin office on 01 496 7040, email or online at

Our annual sportive is now in its third year. Last year 360 cyclists took part and raised over £12,000 for the work of Christian Aid. Will you join us this year? With routes of 40, 80 and 120km there's something to suit different ages and cycling abilities. For more information call 028 9064 8133, email or register online at

Laganside Walk, Belfast Sunday 20 September 2015 Join other Christian Aid supporters and bring along canine pals for a leisurely stroll on the Lagan towpath at Shaw's Bridge. To register call 028 9064 8133, email or go to

Want to organise your own event? Talk to us about your event idea and we will support you with resources and help in telling people about it. NI - Call (028) 9064 8133 or email ROI - Call (01) 496 7040 or email

Family Fun Day, Dundrum Methodist Church, Dublin Saturday 8 August 2015 More information about planned fun activity for all the family. Christian Aid Ireland


Helping everyone, everywhere to eat well! The Good Little Company is celebrating funding 25 million meals for people in need, through the sale of Good Little Sausages. And that’s just for starters! On sales of our new-look packs, we’re giving 50% of our profits to help fight poverty – including funding for Christian Aid projects that are improving harvests for poor farmers in Kenya. If you’ve bought our deliciously noble sizzlers – thank you! Every time you eat a Good Little Sausage, you’re not just eating healthily, you’re helping to feed communities around the world.

You’ll find our range of Good Little Company sausages in Tesco stores across Northern Ireland!

Christian Aid Ireland magazine (Spring-Summer 2015)  

The Christian Aid Ireland supporter magazine (issue no. 47) with stories, news and updates on how we are working with local communities to e...

Christian Aid Ireland magazine (Spring-Summer 2015)  

The Christian Aid Ireland supporter magazine (issue no. 47) with stories, news and updates on how we are working with local communities to e...