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Religion, Wealth and Poverty Essay

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Outline the work of one religious agency working for world development and explain why it does this work.

The religious agency, Christian Aid was set up in 1944, originally known as the British Churches Ecumenical Refugee Council. It was primarily created to help the thousands of homeless Europeans as a result of the Second World War. It became known as Christian Aid in 1945 and was filed as only a segregated department of all of the non-Roman Catholic churches the British Council of Churches and provided great help to the poorer people surviving in lesser economically developed areas.

Christian Aid is now a worldwide organisation and has become an agency for the churches of the United Kingdom and in Ireland, working wherever their need is superlative, irrespective of the religion of this area. As well as doing this work, Christian Aid supports local organisations who are better at understanding the needs in their specified areas, whilst continually helping those in need with the sixteen offices they retain overseas. Christian Aid believes in helping people gain strength in finding their own solution to a particular problem rather than simply helping and leaving, Christian Aid provides withstanding support. In addition to this work, Christian Aid strives to transform a New World by ending poverty and continuously campaigns for the change of the morals and rules that allow the poor to get poorer.

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Christian Aid works and provides help in over sixty countries in the world today, supplying emergency aid and long term aid to organisations, which are working to create the end of poverty. Christian Aid prefers to work through local organisations in areas of lesser-developed economies, as they believe that these organisations understand the needs of their people best. A great plus of the agency of Christian Aid is that it works in all areas despite the religion or race of the place they are working in.

In order to achieve the high aims set by Christian Aid, their work can be divided into four sections and they are as follows.

Fund raising is a major issue and to be able to start any work in relieving the issue of poverty, Christian Aid has to tackle the problem of funds, which can be raised in several ways. In 1975, it was organised so that every year in May, Christian Aid week could be held as a nationwide even. This is where churches provide information about Christian Aid to almost every home in certain areas by posting letters through their letterboxes and asking for donations. In 1995, a record �8.6 million was raised for Christian Aid via this process. In addition to this, certain parishes and individuals organise events to raise money for the agency and in the past have contributed more by this process than in Christian Aid week.

Emergency aid is also taken into consideration as Christian Aid set up a fund known as the “disaster fund” so it could be immediately used if a natural disaster were to occur and has often overtaken long term aid due to its efficiency in helping people survive the effects of a natural disaster. The work done by Christian Aid involves providing and sending food, medicine and materials to build shelters for the victims of such natural disasters as hurricanes, floods and earthquakes. An example of this aid was when blankets, tents and food were sent to refugees in Bosnia and Rwanda and when food was provided for drought-stricken Zimbabwe. This specified version of aid is so important that nearly 15% of Christian Aid’s funds are spent on it per annum.

Long term aid is equally important and fortunately, Christian Aid is greatly advantaged in this area as it has contact with the organisations who receive the aid and the majority of Christian Aid’s emergency and long-term aid is diverted through Christian associations within the country concerned. If is often for these establishments to come up with fund-raising ideas to help relieve certain aspects of poverty in their area and then ask Christian Aid to finance these propositions.

An example of this is when in Columbia, poor farmers were being threatened to be evicted from their homes. Fortunately, the farmers were able to establish an alternative environmentally friendly method which allowed them to develop their area that would provide an income for these farmers and their families. Christian Aid and the European Union are negotiating the finance of this scheme. Another example of Christian Aid helping lesser developed countries is in Bangladesh, where Christian Aid are funding a group of Christian workers to make basic drugs for medicine which are unavailable in Bangladesh. Consequently, as Christian Aid helps in all of these diverse and different areas, their main aim is to help people to help themselves.

Education is a key factor to the success of Christian Aid. Nearly 5% of Christian Aid’s funds is consumed on education about the greater need of development and the way in which Christians are enabled to provide this help to those in need. The association of Christian Aid produces a newspaper, Christian Aid News, along with many other educational articles which not only provide information on the projects that Christian Aid is working on but how they are improving the rate of development in lesser economically developed areas. Christian Aid advocates campaigns for the improvement of living and health conditions in lesser-developed areas.

Christian Aids motivation is built upon the Christian belief that all people are equal in the eyes of God and so therefore all deserve the same things. This organisation is driven by the beliefs that God cares about the poor and their lifestyle, wanting them to be treated accordingly. It is also believed that the worth and importance of a person is not measured on how much money they have or the material belongings that they may possess. It is written in the Bible that what counts is a persons desire to do good, their faith in God and actions towards other people.

Due to these Christian beliefs, Christian Aid does everything within its power to help those who are less fortunate in both this country and abroad. The quotation, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all once in Christ” taken from Galatians 3:25 is the basis of the Christian Aid’s work. It is believed that everyone has rights and so deserves to be treated the same, despite their circumstances, creed, nationality, religion or colour.

In conclusion to the work of Christian Aid and its motivation, it is clear that their main aim is not only to assist the poor, but help them learn to help themselves and by doing this, Christian Aid are increasing the development of the developing world. The motivation of this agency is obvious due to the fact that they are Christian and it is God’s belief that you should use everything within your power to help those in need of your help. Christian Aid believes that “From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole Earth,” Acts 17: 26, so that everyone is equal in the eyes of God as they were all created from the same mould, therefore everyone should be treated respectfully. Thanks to these beliefs, Christian Aid’s work is helping to eradicate the growth of poverty and sustain a development in the lesser-developed areas.

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