Globally-known Scottish singer Susan Boyle and Paralympic gold medal winning rower David Smith have launched a Lent campaign to combat global poverty.
The Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund’s 2013 'Wee Box, Big Change' initiative has also been backed by other high profile Scots including actor Robert Carlyle, Rangers football manager Ally McCoist, and broadcaster Kaye Adams.
They will give up a favourite treat such as coffee, chocolate or wine for the 40 days of Lent, put the money they save in a SCIAF Wee Box, and then donate it at Easter to help the aid agency's live-saving work in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
Last year the campaign raised over £830,000 to help people affected by hunger, poverty, war, disease and natural disasters in some of the poorest countries in the world including the Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi and Haiti.
Long term SCIAF supporter Susan Boyle has publicly supported the campaign for three years now. She explained:
“It’s important that we all have dreams. I’m very fortunate to be living mine. For other people, affected by terrible poverty, war or disease, they dream of peace, good health and having enough food to eat."
Gold medallist David Smith travelled with SCIAF to Burundi in December to see their work up-close. He is making a video diary throughout Lent. Speaking at the launch he said: “I’ve seen for myself the amazing work SCIAF does in extremely difficult conditions in Burundi."
"With money donated by the Scottish public SCIAF is helping so many people become free from hunger and poverty by giving practical help such as agricultural training, seeds and tools. When you see the difference SCIAF is making to the lives of extremely poor people every day, you have to help,” concluded Smith.
SCIAF Director Patricia Chalé is enjoying her first Wee Box campaign: “We are extremely fortunate to have high profile Scots including Susan Boyle, Robert Carlyle and David Smith, and thousands of Scots across the country taking part in the campaign," she said.
Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, which in 2013 fell on 13 February, and finishes on Holy Saturday (which falls on 30 March), the day before Easter. Lent is a time of repentance (turning around and heading in a new direction) and self-examination ahead of Easter.
* Full details of the 'Wee Box, Big Change' campaign: http://www.sciaf.org.uk/the-wee-box/the-wee-box.html
* Ekklesia's Lent 2013 news, resources and commentary can be found here: http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/Lent2013