The UK-based international development agency, Christian Aid, is making a special New Year appeal to offset a drop in income. The NGO has been seriously affected by the recession and does not currently have enough funds to help all the people it planned to in 2010.
"Unless circumstances change, on 19 February we will be making some difficult decisions about who to stop helping. Public support in the past has been essential to Christian Aid's work and your support now is vital for this work to continue," a spokesperson said.
The agency receives vital backing from Britain's churches and works on their behalf in relief, advocacy and development - but its assistance is not tied to religious strings and it works without regard for creed alongside both faith-based and secular partners across the world.
The latest appeal is made by the outgoing CEO, Daleep Mukarji, who is being replaced in 2010 by Loretta Minghella, who has been the chief executive of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) for the past five years. She will take up her Christian Aid appointment in April.
Dr Mukarji has been Christian Aid’s director for the past 11 years. Ms Minghella, a former lawyer, says she is very excited about her new job.
"I feel hugely privileged to have been invited to become the next director of Christian Aid," she said recently."Its vision of eradicating poverty, building a world with a commitment to equality and human dignity at its heart, is both challenging and compelling."
This is the work the agency now fears is under threat without a further income boost. Staff redundancies and other cutbacks have also been announced.
In its financial appeal, Christian Aid highlights three particular areas of global concern, as well as its general work.
The agency declares: "Education provides opportunities for people to learn new skills, provide for their families, and transform their lives in the long term. It’s an outrage that just six per cent of children in southern Sudan finish primary school, and in some areas this figure is as low as two per cent.
"We also support projects across the world as they work to bring essential healthcare to those who need it most. As you know, HIV/AIDs is devastating millions of lives. That’s why in Malawi, for example, we’re tackling discrimination, working to get more people tested and diagnosed, and providing access to life-saving medicines.
"Then there's sustainable food. Without knowing where their next meal will come from, many families are struggling to cope. In Afghanistan, for example – 40 per cent of people are not getting enough food. Droughts, floods and three decades of conflict have destroyed the herds and crops many families rely on.
"The harsh reality is, without extra funds, next year we won’t be able to continue some projects that are relying on our help. And people who are currently benefiting from those projects will suffer as a result. We have a vision – an end to poverty – and despite these problems we believe that vision can become a reality." The appeal page can be found here: http://www.christianaid.org.uk/appeals/urgent/index.aspx