Letter: Time to love our neighbours

The theme chosen by Christian Aid this year is Love Your Neighbour.

Toll Gavel Church, Beverley

Our neighbours can be very local, but Christian Aid is available to help our neighbours wherever they live in the world.

Christian Aid works with 570 partner organisations in 45 countries helping and supporting those in the greatest need, and has been working to relieve poverty for 70 years.

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Christian Aid has chosen Morsheda from Bangladesh as a story to highlight the needs of some of the poorest people in the world.

She lives in the delta region as the rivers emerging from the Himalayas and split into many rivers as they approach the Bay of Bengal.

She lives on a silt island called a char which is surrounded by water.

Water defines Bangladesh – 80 per cent of the country is a floodplain and 70 per cent of the land is below one metre above sea level. Storms in the rainy season are becoming more intense.

The area is subject to annual flooding which is increasing in severity with the effects of climate change.

The family’s life and livelihood is very vulnerable to flooding and their flimsy houses offer no resistance.

Floods wherever they occur are dramatic and threatening as we have seen in the UK during the past winter. But the losses in Bangladesh are staggering. In 2007 1,100 were killed and 10.5m were made homeless.

The project which Christian Aid is supporting the raising of their homes by up to 10 feet in the hope that the flood risk is significantly reduced.

The embankment is raised by hard manual labour and making it secure by planting it with grass. The family will be issued with a cow and goats to help provide milk.

The dung from the animals will be used to help make compost to help increase their yield from growing vegetables.

Christian Aid Week will see some local churches providing collectors for the annual house to house collection. Although Beverley has grown significantly, the number of collectors the churches provide has diminished.

A new idea was tried last year involved people delivering envelopes which were not individually collected.

Instead a designated house or community facility was designated as the collection point.

We hope to extend the idea this year. The envelope will be clearly marked as to where the delivery point is.

Alternatively you can donate online or use the telephone number 08080 006 006. Members of Toll Gavel United Church in the town centre have organised an outdoor publicity event on Saturday May 14 to publicise Christian Aid Week.

John Turner

Burney Close, Beverley