The Christian relief and development agency Tearfund has this week announced a major financial milestone in its campaign to tackle HIV through grassroots initiatives.
Since the campaign began in 2006, it calculates that more than £5 million has been raised and thousands of people have become involved, through action and prayer, in working for better services for those affected by HIV in Africa, Asia and South America.
"We’re so grateful for this support," said Paul Brigham, Tearfund’s UK Director.
The agency works especially with the Evangelical constituency within the churches.
"We passionately believe that the most effective way to tackle HIV is to work with local people, primarily through local churches," Brigham explained.
Tearfund launched its Work a Miracle campaign in 2006 to encourage Christians in the UK and Ireland to join with people across the world in campaigning against the spread of HIV-AIDS.
The most recent appeal, called Alive, was launched in September 2008.
"Tearfund’s vision is to halt the spread of HIV and reverse its impact in the communities where we and our partners work within ten years," explained Veena O’Sullivan, manager of the agency’s HIV Unit.
Antiretroviral drugs are increasingly available but too often people cannot get them because of limited health services, lack of information and the fear of stigma.
Ms O’Sullivan added: "Local church volunteers can provide the practical and emotional support needed to help people to access their treatment, and accompany them as they face the daily challenges of taking these medications."
"The support from Christians in Britain and Ireland is helping to make this possible. It is making a practical difference to the lives of people living with HIV, their families and their communities," she commented.