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Once the Second World War had finished, there was widespread homelessness in continental Europe .In addition to the thousands of refugees; many people had lost their homes and their possessions. So as a result of this, Churches in Britain and Ireland decided to do what they could do help at the time and they set up an organisation called “Christian Reconstruction in Europe”. Twenty years later the name was changed to “Christian Aid” and by 1964, the organisation began to focus on aid outside Europe which by then had largely recovered from the War.
The aims of the organisation originally were to aid in the re construction of Europe and in the aid of refugees from all over the continent. During the 1960’s Christian Aid joined forces with other relief forces and their aims were to respond to world-wide emergencies and disasters. An emergency committee was set up so that in an emergency situation immediate action could be taken and all the organisations could co-operate to make the best use of their resources by organising a joint repose. During the late 60’s Food shortages and starvation were growing problems and Christian Aid wanted political action to be taken. So the latest aim was to campaign along with the World Development movement which was set up by the Churches and Christian Aid, so they could campaign on the hunger related issues.
Their aims changed again over the period of the 80’s, world economic recession developed. The Banks in the rich north were demanding their interest rates from the Less Developed Countries that had received loans in the past. The interest charge that the countries had to pay turned out to be twice as much as the original loan.
So Christian Aid began a campaign to persuade bank and governments to reduce or even cancel the debts of the poorer nations.
In 1987 the Board of Christian aid adopted a statement by the British Council of Churches entitled To Strengthen the Poor, as a basis for action and reflection. The statement “Strengthen the Poor” is now Christians Aids basic aim.
The majority of Christians Aid is funding comes from us the British public; you can either send a cheque through the post, or phone and make a donation. But Christian Aid is probably best known for its “Christian Aid week”. For seven days in May, church members from all over the country make door to door collections for the worlds poor. In the financial year of 1997-8, Christian Aid raised over ï¿½37million. Money also come from the UK’s government who then donated 5.4million, the European Union gave ï¿½2.8 million, and the Irish government gave 0.57 million. That year Christian Aid spent 76% in improving poorer counties living conditions and health, 11% on campaigning and education, 11% on fundraising and only 2% on administration.
This is how the money was spent in the year of 2001-2. In International work on development in poorer countries Christian Aid raised 28.9m, in International work on emergencies such as the refugees in Afghanistan 9.4m was donated to help. A total of 6.5m was spent on Campaigning and education, a further more 8.6m was used on Fundraising and publicity 0.9m was put towards Management and administration, this gave Christian Aid a great total expenditure of 54.3million pounds.
At the heart of all of Christian Aids aims, beliefs and thoughts, comes their basic philosophy that peoples lives improve most when they make their own decisions.
So they operate in partnership with local people in the belief that the local community best knows its needs and what skills are locally available. Once a group has decided on a community project it can approach Christian Aid. This way Christian Aid can help people strengthen themselves but let them do it them selves so in the future if they have a problem they can deal with it themselves, instead of them having it spoon fed to them. The group will have to provide a description of the work, showing how it can be done, and an estimate of how much will be needed. The Christian Aid project officer for the region will then assess the request and visit the site. Only when local experts have assessed the project in detail does the committee in London decide whether to support it.
Christian quotes that ” in penitence and hope we commit ourselves to strengthen the poor against injustice”. Another appealing quote is “we must act strategically to strengthen the arm of the poor until they can stand up to those who so often acted against them and have the power to determine their own development under God”. These two quotes sum up Christian Aids beliefs and aims for me.
In conclusion I believe that Christian Aid has been successful in that they the main resource given to the poor is in education and the teaching of self-reliance. Another good aspect of the organisation is that aid is almost immediate to those in need, such as refugees in Iraq today however how far can we say Christian Aid is a complete success because we still have less developed people and countries in the world, Christian Aid alone cannot of itself solve the worlds problems but it can help with them.