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Thank you from SCIAF

As we begin 2021, our Chief Executive Alistair Dutton reflects on the incredible support you've given to SCIAF over the last year, and the difference it's made to people living in poverty.

What an incredibly challenging and difficult year 2020 was and 2021 continues to be for us. Coronavirus has disrupted every aspect of our lives, yet throughout your parish has shown love and compassion for our most vulnerable sisters and brothers. And I just want to say thank you.

Despite all the challenges and restrictions we’ve been under, so much has happened in the past 12 months and I would like to reflect on last year’s Lenten appeal. I’m sure that you were as moved as I was by the heart-breaking stories of the brave women from the DR Congo who have suffered sexual and gender-based violence.

I am delighted to say that the project in the DR Congo will begin on 1 February 2021 and this is down to the crucial generosity and kindness of parishes throughout Scotland. The church’s response was overwhelming at a time of great upheaval and uncertainty for everyone. We were delighted that Parishes in Scotland gave so generously during Lent 2020 and through the postponed collections in September of that year. In total parishioners raised £945 218, including match funding, to help survivors of gender- based violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Understandably, coronavirus led much of our work in the last year. Hand washing stations were set up in schools in Cambodia so that children could go to school safely. A project in the DR Congo created jobs for people with disabilities and unemployed women; maintaining their income by making over 26,000 facemasks for their community. Life-saving public health messages have reached over 12 million people in the DR Congo and Rwanda.

Following the explosion in Beirut, donations helped provide emergency food supplies, medicines and shelter. Our ability to serve the poorest and most vulnerable people where and when they are most in need is thanks to you. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

Looking forward to 2021 we have a very busy year ahead. Continuing our fight against the poverty pandemic, the Lenten Appeal will be sharing the stories of children with disabilities and their families in South Sudan. Fighting in the country has left a legacy of fear, displacement and destitution. Together, we will provide a lifeline for these children, so they can overcome the challenges they face and build happy futures.

Another highlight of this year will be the COP 26 Conference coming to Glasgow in November. This is a huge opportunity in the fight against the devastating effects of climate change and a time for the UK Government to show real global leadership. By uniting to build a greener and fairer world, we can start to heal our common home. We will be asking politicians and world leaders to make the care of our world for future generations a top priority and I hope that you will join us in this campaign.

Finally, I wish you and a very happy New Year. Your parish has shown your dedication as a champion against poverty and injustice through your faith and kindness.

Thank you for helping to bring a brighter future for the world’s poorest people.

Alistair Dutton
SCIAF Chief Executive