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Tsunami: 10 years after the wave Tim Hetherington’s online photography exhibtion

Ten years on from the Indian Ocean tsunami, which killed almost 250,000 people on Boxing Day 2004, Christian Aid is marking the anniversary by launching Tsunami: 10 years after the wave, an online exhibition that features work – including previously unpublished images – by photographer Tim Hetherington.

Tim, who was killed while working in Libya in 2011, travelled to Sri Lanka and India with Christian Aid as part of a commission for the exhibition Every time I see the sea, which marked the one-year anniversary in 2005. His thoughtful and emotionally intense images helped to capture the mood of a coastal community learning to trust again.

At the time, Tim told Christian Aid: “I was at home on the 26th December with my family. Like many other people, I switched on the TV. Two weeks later, I found myself in Banda Aceh. The amount of immediate death and destruction was on a massive scale. I had never seen anything like it in my life.”

“When I was asked to come to Sri Lanka, I came with that baggage, with those images in my mind. What I am trying here to do is create a continuum of that work – that does not just stay with images of destruction but moves the story onwards.”

Tim wanted to explore how people felt about the ocean, “I was interested in the relationship that people have with the sea. They lived by it; they needed it and used it. When the tsunami came, it challenged that relationship.”

The new online exhibition explains how Christian Aid spent £45 million, the majority donated by the UK public, over five years – rebuilding homes, providing trauma therapy and supporting people to get back to work.  Generous donations from members of the public in the Diocese of Oxford raised over £275,000.

It also examines how the 2004 tsunami triggered a global change in humanitarian response work – including better UN coordination and funding, more emphasis on vulnerable communities preparing for disasters, greater use of local organisations and more accountability to the recipients of aid.

Christian Aid’s head of humanitarian, Nick Guttmann said, “If the world had been better prepared, if early warning systems had been in place, and if vulnerable communities had been prepared to respond to a disaster like this, thousands of lives could have been saved.

“During Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines last year many people survived because at-risk communities were well prepared, early warning systems were in place – alerting them to rising waters and cyclones – as well as comprehensive evacuation plans; ensuring people know when to leave their homes and where to go. These simple techniques make a huge difference and are often the difference between life and death.”’

To find out more, visit www.christianaid.org.uk/tsunami Link to films of Tim at work Tsunami portraits & after the tsunami Hear Nick Guttmann on Audioboom

Meet Stephen and hear about his work supporting women in Kenya

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Stephen Ngugi (with the guitar), raises awareness of vital work to help safe births this Christmas.

Stephen Ngugi (with the guitar), raises awareness of vital work to help ensure safe births in Kenya this Christmas.

FOR women in Kenya, having a baby can be perilous.  They are 40 times more likely to die in childbirth than mothers in the UK.  When hospitals are far away, and transport is too expensive or non-existent, women are often forced to give birth in dirty and dangerous conditions. Around 40,000 newborns die in Kenya each year, most of those deaths could be prevented with basic health education and facilities.

Stephen Ngugi, who works for Christian Aid in Kenya, will be telling people in Oxfordshire and Berkshire about the much-needed work he does supporting women and children with maternal health care as he launches the charity’s Christmas campaign.

The  appeal which sees the UK Government matching every pound raised, will see even more lives saved in childbirth across Kenya and Malawi. Stephen is speaking at Magdalen College Chapel, High Street, Oxford, OX1 4AU at 8pm and hosting an Advent retreat at in Berkshire on Saturday.10.30am to 4pm at Mortimer Methodist Church, near Reading, RG7 3TB.

In rural Narok County, south-west Kenya, Christian Aid’s partner organisations TRDP and ADSMKE train community health workers and traditional birth attendants to support expectant mothers.  They have provided three village motorbikes and ambulances to get women safely to hospital and built three maternity wings at rural hospitals, equipping them with everything from delivery beds to incubators.

This Christmas help us deliver hope by giving more than 68,000 women access to improved health services, providing life-saving immunisations to 130,000 children under five and training more than 1,000 community health workers. We will also work with local authorities to enable them to provide crucial maternal and child healthcare long term.

‘’It’s a privilege to share with Christian Aid supporters how their efforts are helping to bring about change for poor communities in countries like Kenya ‘’ says Stephen.  Until February 2015 the UK Government will double the difference each pound donated makes, up to the value of £5 million, as part of UK Aid Match.

Churches urged to help save lives this Advent

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CHURCHES across the diocese are being given the opportunity to save more lives this Christmas with the news that the UK Government has pledged to match Christian Aid’s Christmas fundraising.

With a strapline of Not every child born in a stable survives, the charity is urging churches to back its Christmas appeal which focuses on the struggle many mothers face – as Mary did – to find a safe place in which to give birth.
Whatever money the charity raises during the three months from 7 November, the Government will match it up to a maximum of £5m which will be spent on maternal healthcare projects run by Christian Aid partners in Kenya and Malawi.
Christian Aid’s regional coordinator for Oxford, Anwen Newman, said: “This is an amazing opportunity for churches and supporters to literally help bring bundles of joy to the world this Christmas time.
“It is the 21st century. It makes me sad and angry that just over the ocean in Kenya, every day, 40 women die in childbirth due to complications in pregnancy. We celebrate the birth of Jesus – but every year, without the care they need, 14,700 babies die on their first day of life. How might they have changed the world? This Christmas, we are inviting churches to place the crib at the heart of their celebrations and be part of this transformational work.
“I am appealing to all churchgoers to work with us so we can use the government’s generosity to deliver hope to thousands of families living in poverty.”

Hear Stephen Ngugi, from the charity’s Kenya Office talk about maternal health work in Kenya, at Advent events:

Afternoon prayer retreat: Amersham
Thursday 27 November at 2pm
Amersham Free Church, Woodside Road, Amersham HP6 6AJ
An Evening with Stephen Ngugi: Amersham
Thursday 27 November at 7.30pm
Amersham Free Church, Woodside Road, Amersham HP6 6AJ

Advent hope service: Oxford
Friday 28 November at 8pm
Magdalen College Chapel, Oxford OX1 4AU
Carols by candlelight with stories of hope in a beautiful setting.

Advent retreat: Berkshire

Saturday 29 November
10.30am – 4pm
Mortimer Methodist Church, Mortimer (near Reading) RG7 3TB
A time to stop and reflect at the start of the Advent season.
Lunch is provided – donations welcome.

For ideas on holding a fundraiser in your church or any aspect of the Christmas appeal contact Anwen on 01865 246818 or ANewman@christian-aid.org

Churches show their Hunger for Justice at Christian Aid’s climate weekend

ON 18-19 October, churches across the UK will act and pray together for our world. Will the Oxford Diocese join them?

This is a powerful moment for Christians to come together and speak out against the injustice of climate change and pray for change. Churches will invite their local MP to an event or service to speak about their commitments to international development, and to hold them to account for their party’s promises on climate change.

The world’s poorest people – those communities who have done the least to cause climate change – bear the brunt of its chaos. Ever more erratic weather is increasing the incidences of storms and droughts, ruining harvests across the globe and eroding the gains made by poor communities as they try to work their way out of poverty.

Jessica Hall, Regional Coordinator from Christian Aid says, “The Hunger for Justice weekend gives churches the chance to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with sisters and brothers around the world, and encourages us all to take steps towards a safer, cleaner future.”

We put our hope into action as we all share the same prayer from Latin America, ‘Lord, to those who are hungry, give bread. And to those who have bread, give a hunger for justice’

 Find out more about taking part and urging your MP to act on climate change by clicking here.

If you would like further information please contact Jessica Hall on 01865 246818 or email jhall@christian-aid.org

God in the Life Of Jess Hall

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Folk singer/songwriter and Christian Aid worker Jess Hall tells Jo Duckles how she came to Oxford from Devon via Swansea and Kenya.(c) John Cairns

Jess is becoming famous for cream teas on the Oxford music scene. Nightshift, the local music magazine and the Oxford Times have made reference to the famous Devon treat in the publicity for Jess’s new album, Bookshelves.

I meet Jess in the News Café for lunch just down the road from the Christian Aid office where she works as Regional Co-ordinator for Berkshire and there was not a scone or pot of jam and cream in sight. There she told me about her work inspiring people to stand against poverty and the role music plays in her life.

Jess was born in Berkshire, but moved to Devon aged five, where she grew up in South Molton and Barnstaple. “I went for a cream tea in Oxford and it wasn’t the same,” says tee total Jess who admits that fizzy drinks and cake are her only vices.

Growing up in a church going family, Jess was a member of Girls Brigade and the church youth group. She was just eight when a friend came round and told her she had become a Christian.

“She went to a church across the road from my house. Becoming a Christian seemed like a good idea which doesn’t sound profound. People say ‘bang’ about when it happened to them, but for me coming to faith was more of a journey. When you are young you are learning about everything and growing up learning about God along the way. I was 13 when I went to Soul Survivor for the first time.”
Jess kept going to the Christian youth event through her teens and says it sustained her in a church where “she was the youth group”. On leaving school at 18 she did a gap year at Soul Survivor’s offices in Watford. “I thought I would discover my purpose and what I was supposed to do next but actually I think that time was about developing my relationship with God. It was more about being than doing,” she says.

After a short stint in London, Jess moved back to Devon, where she worked in the factory where her dad worked, until she figured out she wanted to study International Development. “I didn’t want to do a degree that wasn’t useful,” says Jess, who was aware university meant committing three years of her life and a lot of money. So when the International Development leapt off the page of a list of courses, Jess knew immediately it was for her. She landed herself a place at university, the nearest UK university campus to a beach, where Jess would spend a lot of her relaxation time during her university years.

She says her inspiration for helping others came from a book about Florence Nightingale she was given as a child. “It was about her calling as a nurse and how she went about that much to her family’s displeasure.

They were wealthy and didn’t fancy her hanging out with sick people.”
Jess’s studies took her to Kenya to research responses to poverty, comparing Kenyan students to UK students. Kenyan students felt they needed to be the answer whereas in her sample of UK students, there was very little awareness of global poverty issues.

Jess’s upbringing however had been informed by Tearfund’s children and youth resources and she was switched on to how people in the UK can have a positive impact on poverty. She decided her calling was to campaigning and awareness raising in the UK.

After graduating in 2005 she took a mammoth coach journey with her mum to Edinburgh for the launch of Make Poverty History. “I saw the people handing out the placards and thought ‘This is it, this is where I want to be.’ I wanted to be the person handing out the placards and getting people inspired.”
Competition for jobs in International Development is fierce and Jess started working in the public sector, overseeing a district council grants scheme in Devon for sustainable development projects.

“I had a lovely time working with really lovely people. After three years I started feeling like it was time to move and in a very Jess way it was quite random.”
It was then that a friend told her Oxford was a nice place and a job came up in the probation service in the city. “I got the job and everything fell into place which made me think that God has a master plan. The accommodation got sorted out really quickly,” says Jess, who found her day job was a dull but dutiful role doing administration support for the substance abuse team. When she looked for other work, she discovered there was a Regional Christian Aid Office in Oxford, and landed a job there. “I love public speaking. I get to hand out placards, I talk to groups of people about how they can be involved in justice issues,” she says.

So what about music? “I started singing when I was 10 or 11,” recalls Jess, who says she loved a Carols by Candlelight Service at the Methodist Church where her family worshipped. She volunteered to sing in an open mic section of the service and her voice just came out. “I loved it. I was always in the primary school choir.” She went on to have formal singing lessons, training in classical and opera until she was 16. She got to Grade Eight, which is as high as you can go before considering a music diploma or degree.

She also sang in competitions, but remembers the embarrassment of her very first one. “It was nerve racking. My parents sat there getting nervous with me and the first year I forgot the song half way through and burst into tears.
“The adjudicator was really sweet. They would give comments and helpful feedback and he said he would love me to come back the following year so he could hear me sing a song all the way through.“
She was introduced to folk music when she was young and while the genre can traditionally have dark lyrics, she describes the songs she writes as wistful, hopeful and romantic. Naturally she was involved in church worship while growing up, and thought hard about whether her energy should go into doing music in a church environment or for a broader audience.

“I wondered what the difference was and if you should just do one or the other,” says Jess, who was encouraged not to segment music, or become legalistic about it. She was still in Devon when she first performed at an Open Mic night and when she moved to Oxford, continued regularly playing. While during her teens she mainly listened to worship tunes, she has now become a regular on the Oxford music scene and has broadened her musical horizons while living here. The music Jess enjoys includes Sigur Ros from Iceland and Efter Klang. “Meeting people on the music scene exposed me to more artists,” she says.

She says she is described as folk but feels her sound is closer to Eva Cassidy, more of a blues or jazz version of folk. Since then she has released an EP, an album, as well as local festivals.
Jess worships at St Aldate’s, Oxford.

@jesshallsongs on Twitter, www.jesshallsongs.co.uk

Storm survivors need our prayers

By Jo Duckles
THE Bishop of Oxford has called on Christians to take a long-term approach to prayer and support for the millions affected by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.

As an international emergency appeal was launched for the victims of what was thought to be the strongest typhoon ever to hit land, the Rt Revd John Pritchard, said: “This tragedy leads the news for a few days and then disappears but the personal and social reconstruction will take years.  “I trust that our prayers and our giving will reflect the latter timescale rather than the former. These are brothers and sisters in the human race made in the image of God and loved unconditionally. May we hold that perspective in the aftermath of this disaster as we support them in every way we can.”

Ariel Lanada, Chairman of the Filipino Community of Oxfordshire and a senior charge nurse in intensive care at Oxford’s John Radcliffe Hospital, said there are around 3,000 Filipino people in Oxfordshire alone. As he spoke to the Door he was chatting on-line to his sister back in the Philippines. Ariel is from the small village of Luag Duenas, where out of 100 houses 63 have been damaged and many families displaced. “My nephew and my aunt have both had their houses destroyed and are staying in my house in Iloilo city.

Immediate need

“The immediate need is to get people back into their own homes, to rebuild even just simple, small houses. We have been advised by the Filipino customs to stop sending anything as the airports are clogged up with donations. The current needs are financial in terms of helping people reconstruct their homes.” Ariel, who works with around 20 other Filipino nurses in Oxford, said some of their families are more badly affected by the disaster than others.

He said: “Thank you to everyone for the prayers, compassion and support you have been giving us since the hurricane struck. If you wish to make donations please get in contact with us.” He said that once the transport routes clear, DHL Oxford have offered to send supplies of clothing, bedding and non-perishable food to the Philippines for free. To donate goods or money or email Ariel on chairman@filcom.org.uk. The organisation will be splitting funds donated between Caritas Philippines and the Philippines Red Cross. Last week the Disasters Emergency Committee launched an appeal following the storm that is so far estimated to have killed 12,000 people and torn apart the lives of around 4.3m. Homes were destroyed or severely damaged and vital transport and communication infrastructures torn apart.

Christian Aid and Viva Network, which have offices in Oxford, Habitat for Humanity, based in Banbury and World Vision, which has its head office in Milton Keynes, all have partners in the Philippines who immediately began to assess the damage and make plans to help both the short term relief effort and longer term plans.

In the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan. Photo Christian Aid

In the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan. Photo Christian Aid

Sarah Clay, of the Oxford branch of Christian Aid said: “We have sent three emergency response assessment teams and have partners already there on the ground assessing the damage and working on what needs to be done.” Christian Aid is one of the DEC partners. For posters, resources and gift aid envelopes for your church call the Oxford office on 01865 246818.
Rebuilding

Stefan McNally, from Habitat for Humanity, said the organisation had disaster relief experience from the Asian Tsunami of 2004. “Our team in the Philippines has extensive capacity and experience.” He said the charity was hoping to help around 30,000 families through shelter repair kits and transitional shelters.” The transitional shelters are temporary structures that can
later be adapted to become permanent homes. In the last 16 months Habitat has helped more than 42,000 people in the Philippines and once the immediate disaster response is over, will use its Pathways to Permanence programme to rebuild and strengthen the devastated communities.

Ensuring lives are saved

David Thomson, who is Director of Policy and Programmes for World Vision UK and lives in Oxford, said: “In all of what we do we should ensure dignity for the people that we are there to serve, and so it is actually working with people.

“What’s amazing in these emergencies, I’ve found over the last 20 years in different parts of the world, is that we see these dreadful pictures on the news but actually people are working together, communities come together, they care for each other and there’s lots of capacity already in place that we need to be better at working alongside to ensure lives are saved and to ensure recovery takes place.”

Viva Network’s partner Philippine Children’s Ministries Network is in the Samar province, with the director, Ate Fe Foronda acting as a point person at disaster sites and a government-led committee called the National Child Protection Working Group. PCMN is taking aid workers to survey the situation and has been commissioned by the Child Protection Government Committee to do a rapid assessment on the state of the children and establish child friendly spaces. It is also providing trauma counselling and psycho social support for affected children.

Finding strength

Justine Demmer, Viva’s Network Consultant for the Philippines says, “There are many tears, and the shock is still strong, but the people of God are finding their strength and doing what’s needed. The power of the network and the unity and organisation that flows from their strong, tried and tested relationships is evident in the Samar network and in their response to this crisis.”

Hope in a barren land

AS a Youth and Student Intern for Christian Aid I was lucky enough to witness the work of Dabane Trust first-hand, writes Chris Bright. I met 47-year-old Skha,  who lives in a community that has been working closely with

Chris Bright is pictured with Silindende Gumbo, a gardener in the Asenzi Garden, a nutrition garden supported by the Dabane Trust.

Chris Bright is pictured with Silindende Gumbo, a gardener in the Asenzi Garden, a nutrition garden supported by the Dabane Trust.

Dabane Trust to build a sand dam, which is used to trap water deep within the sand, providing safe, clean water for drinking and agriculture. Skha described to me how she worked with other members of her community to build the dam. They dug the foundations and collected rocks, whilst Dabane Trust provided water and tools to make the cement. The dam took two years to build. I was inspired by the level of determination Skha and her community had shown by enduring extremely hot conditions and digging into solid ground in order to access a reliable water source, which I take for granted every day at home.

Water extracted from the sand dam is used to irrigate crops such as onions and kale grown in a community nutrition garden. Dabane Trust has supported many communities in Zimbabwe to establish nutrition gardens and has offered training in gardening techniques. Nutrition gardens are green pockets of hope amidst an otherwise barren land. Gardeners I met proudly showed me their crops and explained how the garden means they can grow enough food to feed their families and any surplus can be sold for income. Through working alongside Dabane Trust communities have been empowered to lift themselves out of poverty.

The climate, an ageing population, and no secure tenure all pose significant obstacles to achieving water security in Zimbabwe. However Skha and her community have been encouraged by Dabane Trust to change their situation and they are determined to end poverty in their area. If Skha’s community is working hard to end poverty, this Christian Aid Week we must do the same.

Chris Bright is the Volunteer Youth and Student Intern for Christian Aid in Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire and Oxfordshire.

Christian Aid Week: Get involved

Christian Aid Week (12-18 May 2013), Britain’s longest running door-to-door fundraising week, will this year be urging the British public to ‘bite back at hunger’ and ask why, in a world where there is enough food for everyone, one in eight people go to bed hungry every night?

Hunger is the world’s biggest health risk. It kills more people every year than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined. In developing countries, a third of all child deaths are linked to hunger.

But tackling hunger with sustainable solutions has long-term benefits. Nourished women have healthier babies, reducing hunger helps economies grow and it builds a safer and more secure world.

A holy descent

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IF you had been in Central Oxford and looked up on Saturday March 9 you could have had a bit of a surprise. You might have caught sight of a large banana half way down a church tower.
Around £7,000 was raised for Christian Aid when 31 brave individuals aged from 11 to 73 abseiled down the tower of St Mary Magdalen Church. The abseilers included Chris Bright, 22, (right) who is currently working as a Volunteer Intern in Christian Aid’s Oxford office. Since the abseil coincided with Fairtrade Fortnight, Chris abseiled dressed as a banana. On reaching the bottom Chris said “I am relieved to be down – but I hope I have played a small part in raising awareness of Christian Aid and the importance of Fairtrade.”
The curate of St Mary, Magdalen, Richard Frith, (above in red) also took part. Despite being terrified of heights he made it safely down to the cheers of members of the congregation below. He hopes that the church might repeat the abseil next year.

Chris Bright smiles with satisfaction after finishing the abseil.

Chris Bright smiles with satisfaction after finishing the abseil.