70 Years On
Christian Aid was born out of the British Council of Churches' initiative for the Christian Reconstruction of Europe and later to help refugees held in British camps after the war. The work expanded to supporting displaced people in Gaza on the creation of Israel in 1949.
In 1957 the Inter-church Aid & Refugee service highlighted the plight of refugees around the world. The first CA Week was held in 1957. Christian Aid's role broadened again in the 60s, tackling racism and supporting US civil rights movements.
It broadened into the Christian Aid we know, providing both direct and immediate aid to victims of natural and man-made crises, and longer-term development programmes. Early examples include helping famine victims in Ethiopia (1973-74), in which a million people died; aid to those fleeing the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia (1974); medical aid to survivors of the Vietnam war (1977). Long term projects include clean water projects in India & Africa and health care training in Peru. British people responded generously to these initiatives.
Christian Aid started to address broader issues – looking at the root cause of injustice, questioning the role of international trade and tariff restrictions, and IMF and EU conditions imposed when providing aid. Later, they drew attention to the impact of global warming on the poor through the impact of drought and flooding on habitat and agriculture.
Christian Aid works directly with those in need, never through government agencies in recipient countries. Christian Aid now has projects in every continent that contains underprivileged people.
Dave & Hazel Sharman