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May put these Ideas into Practice
Christian charities and communities put these ideas into action by devoting time to those who are less fortunate than themselves. They may work abroad as a doctor or nurse, or as an aid worker in a refugee camp. They may also provide help from their own homes by not being wasteful and donating old clothes and books and other objects that could be of use. There are certain organisations set up for Christians to help those less fortunate. These include organisations such as Voluntary Service Overseas which offers service to people with the will to help and it helps set them up with some work to do abroad. Other people will make donations to charities or even set aside some of their monthly income to make sure that they give something each month to help thise less fortunate than themselves.
Christians are obligated to work towards helping those less fortunate than themselves. Charities such as Oxfam, Save the Children Fund and Comic Relief are all based to eliminate world poverty. However, they are not based on any religious beliefs. Christian charities include the Salvation Army, Christian Aid, Tear Fund and CAFOD.
Christian Aid was organised just after the Second World War as many people had lost all their possesions and loved ones, including their home and family. Many people were left with nothing. That is when ‘Christian Reconstruction in Europe’ was set up, which raised a massive one million pounds! This helped people start to build up their lives again. Once the citizens in Europe started to become more settled, the attention was drawn to other countries where there was still a huge problem with poverty and injustice, such as Africa. The name of the organisation was then changed to ‘Christian Aid’ and has been known as that ever since.
Christian Aid has helped those in natural disasters (such as the war in Lebanon, the famine in Sudan and East Pakistan and others), by sending over money, doctors and medicines, clothes and food. The money sent over is used to build hospitals, education centres and wells for clean water. Most recently Christian Aid has campaigned for fair trade and for an end to Third World dept. Christian Aid works in more than 70 countries, and on more than 700 local projects. There are four main areas to Christian Aid, the first of which is fund-raising. Christian Aid Week started in 1957 and is a major nationwide event.
Churches are given a number of towns to manage between them, of which all houses in them have an envelope posted through. In this envelope are the aims of Christian Aid, along with the explaination of the work and asks for a donation. In 1995 ï¿½8,600,000 was raised. Christian Aid provides emergency aid to deal with natural disasters and refugees- this takes priority over long-term projects due to the extreme nature of the situations. This type of aid involves sending food and medicine as well as providing shelter for those affected.
About 10-15% of its funds are spent on emergency aid each year. Long-term projects such as in Bangladesh where a basic drugs factory has been funded have the aim to continue helping the country in the future. This is the main area of Christian Aid’s work, which encourages people in LEDC’s to work themselves out of poverty, so that they will not need aid in the future. The final area of Christian Aid’s work is education (in the UK mainly), where 5% of the budget is spent. ‘Christian Aid News’, a quarterly newspaper gives information on their developments as well as explaining the need for world development and ways in which Christians can help those in LEDC’s.
Christianity tries to make people in the west aware of the conditions in the Third World. They do this by running advertising campaigns and educatory packs for schools. They believe that increased awareness will mean that Christians and others will be more prepared to give to Third World charities.
The Salvation Army began in 1865 when William Booth, and his wife Catherine, realised that the poor were not being treated equally to the richer and they were not even allowed into churches. He believed the ‘church needed to go to the people, rather than the people coming to the church, to be touched by the Christian message.’
By 1900 the Army had spread around the world to 36 countries.The aim of The Salvation Army is ‘the advancement of the Christian religion…of education, the relief of poverty, and other charitable objects beneficial to society or the community of mankind as a whole.’ The Salvation Army are also aiming to reach out to others, in order to encourage them to do the same. The ‘community outreach team’ aims at doing just that, making people aware of the hundreds of people who are homeless in London alone!
Caritas is a world-wide Roman Catholic organisation which believes that it is not enough to give people in need material help. It believes in ‘providing the solidarity needed to nourish that hope which alone will enable our less fortunate brothers and sisters to take personal charge of their own lives and destiny and thus achieving that liberty which is their inalienable right as children of God.’
In England and Wales, Caritas is represented by CAFOD (Catholic Agency for Overseas Development). CAFOD is considered one of the United Kingdom’s leading development and relief organisations, and funds over a thousand projects in Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Latin America, the Caribbean and Eastern Europe. Not only does CAFOD help those less fortunate but they also work within parishes, schools and community organisations to help teach others about poverty and it’s causes. They also run many fund raising projects through schools and otherwise, such as sponsored sports events to raise money. CAFOD aims to get rid of poverty in the Developing World, and aims to bring about justice and fair shares for everyone. CAFOD also does a lot of emergency work when it is needed. When there is a natural disaster incident, such as a flood, hurricane, or earthquake they provide food and then help with rebuilding.
Some Christians donate one tenth of their earnings as their duty towards helping the poor. Christian’s faith teaches that the wealth is by no means bad but they must learn the right purposes for earning it and using it, and would argue that they should give money to charity rather than spending it all on luxuries. This is illustarating the Eye of the Needle; “it is easier for a camel to go through a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God” as in the story of The Rich Man …
If the world were like it should be according to Christian teaching then the world would probably be a better place. The problem is that God gave men and women free will. If all of the world’s wealth was divided up equally between each person then not before very long the rich would be rich once again and the poor would be back where they were.