FESTIVAL-GOERS HELP PROVIDE MORE THAN A MILLION MEALS TO FIGHT EXTREME HUNGER THROUGH TEARFUND DISASTERS APPEAL
Tearfund, an international development charity, will help provide 1,066,530 meals to people suffering extreme hunger, and support them to go on to lead more secure and fulfilled lives, thanks to the generous contributions of Big Church Day Out festival-goers in Sussex. The annual music festival brought together more than 22,000 Christians from across the world for one of the biggest events on the church calendar, featuring contemporary Christian bands and entertainment for the whole family.
‘Disasters reduce people’s ability to live safely and have an impact on health and a family’s ability to earn a living,’ said Steve Adams, Tearfund’s Head of Global Brand and Communications. ‘We are grateful for the generous response of festival-goers to the campaign, which will help communities affected by the complex consequences of disaster.’
Tearfund continues to work to relieve the suffering of people in the Sahel region in Africa through interventions such as long-term support for livelihoods, farming and self-help groups, alongside emergency food aid. The organisation is currently appealing for funds through its Give Like Jesus campaign.
In Chad, one of the world’s poorest countries, seasonal rains have been inadequate and consequently farming has been less fruitful in the last year. When crops fail, families have nothing to fall back on. Another country in the region, Ethiopia, has been affected by drought while recent erratic rains and El Niño have resulted in two failed harvests and 10.2 million people in need of emergency food assistance.
Tearfund ambassador and award-winning chocolatier and pâtissier Will Torrent visited Ethiopia in April to see Tearfund’s work. At Big Church Day Out, Will gave festival-goers a teff crêpe baking masterclass. He had been introduced to teff – a gluten-free Ethiopian grain and staple ingredient – during his visit to the country. Before his baking demonstration he spoke of Amarech, a mother of seven, who he met during his visit.
Amarech’s husband had left to work as a migrant worker in another country, leaving her to raise her children alone. The region’s erratic weather patterns resulted in desperate times for her family.
‘We were in darkness,’ said Amarech. ‘Our lives were difficult and we borrowed from lenders at high rates when we faced emergencies.’ It was thanks to joining a self-help group supported by Tearfund that she was able to improve her circumstances.
‘With the self help group, we know how to better manage our resources – seed, grain and money. We save for difficult days,’ said Amarech.
Will commented: ‘It was incredible to see how Tearfund works through local churches to unlock people’s potential and in doing so, helps them discover new ways to help themselves. The self help groups in particular are clearly having a very positive impact on communities in Ethiopia. Seeing the support for Tearfund’s Give Like Jesus campaign this weekend made me realise there are thousands of generous people with a real passion to help others like Amarech.’
Tearfund asked supporters to give £5 a month. Over the weekend at Big Church Day Out, enough supporters signed up to achieve Tearfund’s goal of helping to provide one million meals. Every pledge of a regular gift made at Big Church Day Out will be matched for the first 12 months up to the value of Tearfund’s target of one million meals.