Churches across Scotland raise funds for Christian Aid Week 2023
Published on 12 May 2023 3 minutes read
Plant sales, concerts, books sales and much more are taking place at churches across Scotland and beyond to raise funds for the Christian Aid Week Appeal. Christian Aid's annual appeal, which this year runs from 14-20 May, will shine a spotlight on Malawi and the challenges faced by farmers who are on the frontline of the climate crisis.
Pigeon pea producers in Malawi struggle to get a fair price for their goods and have been battling climate change, with rising temperatures and extreme weather making it tough to grow crops. In March the country was hit by Cyclone Freddy which claimed hundreds of lives and has displaced half a million people. Many crops were destroyed and homes and infrastructure washed away.
But one plant is hardier than the others: the pigeon pea is a small but mighty seed which is drought resistant, soil-revitalising and high-protein. It is also more resilient during extreme weather events.
Christian Aid's work, through local partners, with pigeon pea farmers in Malawi is the focus of Christian Aid Week 2023 and money raised will support the pigeon pea project and other vital programmes around the world.
Val Brown the Head of Christian Aid Scotland said:
"Our global neighbours are struggling with the cost of living and having to make tough decisions. They are also the same communities being hit hard by the climate crisis. This Christian Aid Week we will stand in solidarity with our global neighbours and the pigeon pea farmers who lost crops during Cyclone Freddy.
The energy shown by churches across Scotland as they fundraise this Christian Aid Week is inspiring. With book sales in Edinburgh and Falkirk, a choir concert in Glasgow, plant sales, coffee mornings and afternoon teas there's so much going on this year and I'd like to say a huge thank you to all those giving, acting and praying this Christian Aid Week."
The money raised during Christian Aid Week will help the international development charity's partners in Malawi and in the other countries where it works, with projects to build resilience and ensure farmers are paid a fair price for their produce. The aim is to help people find practical and sustainable ways out of poverty, including gaining the skills to grow more resilient crops, restore soil fertility, increase harvests and to join cooperatives to earn more for their crops
Help for Farmers
Christian Aid's two partners in Malawi are the Nandolo Farmers' Association (NFA) and Alliance Development African Foundation (ADAF). NFA helps farmers market their produce, form co-operatives and supports them to increase their pigeon pea harvests. ADAF helps farmers who cannot obtain traditional bank loans with access to loans, and brings people together in village savings and loan associations.
One of the people who has been helped is Esther Saizi. The 54-year-old grandmother grows pigeon peas, which she uses to bake bread and also sells, using some of the profits to help her daughters with nursing training and a carpentry business, as well as paying for grandchildren to attend nursery.
Esther has struggled to get a fair price for her produce and lost a lot of her crops during Tropical Storm Ana. She felt desperate. But when she joined a pigeon pea programme run by Nandolo Farmers' Association, and started selling as part of a co-operative, she was able to produce and earn much more.
With the profits, Esther bought goats which also provide manure for her crops, saving on expensive fertiliser. She now keeps her peas in a warehouse, safe from floods and storms. She also processes pigeon peas into fish food using the co-operative's machine, which was provided by Christian Aid.
"We are a community that helps one another a lot," Esther said says. "If people face a problem, we do not allow them to suffer alone."
St Andrew's and St George's West annual book sale
If you are in Edinburgh you might want to visit the annual Christian Aid book sale at St Andrew's and St George's West, 13 George Street, EH22PA. You'll find all kinds of interesting books along with antiques and collectables, pictures. stamps and postcards, sheet music, toys, games, jigsaws, home baking and preserves.
Opening hours are:
- Saturday 13 May 10am - 4pm
- Monday 15 May 10am - 3.30pm
- Tuesday 16 May 10am - 3.30pm
- Wednesday 17 May 10am - 3.30pm
- Thursday 18 May 10am - 7pm
- Friday 19 May 10am - 3.30pm