St Luke’s with St Mark’s Church Inspired by Visitors from Christian Aid Burundi

St Luke’s with St Mark’s Church Inspired by Visitors from Christian Aid Burundi

The community at St Luke’s with St Mark’s, which serve the people of Stanmore, Badger Farm, Olivers Battery, and Winchester Village, were delighted to host a lunch last week with guest speakers from Christian Aid Burundi: Philip Galgallo, Country Director in Burundi, and the Revd Felibien Nditore.

The parish have a long relationship with Christian Aid and many local people have given generously to their campaigns over the years in response to leaflet drops from church volunteers. Many from the wider Winchester community joined the event to learn about the impactful work of Christian Aid in Burundi, especially in the areas of building resilience to climate change, gender justice, microfinance, and peace building & conflict resolution.

I was deeply moved by the profound impact of Philip and Felibien’s visit to our parish. We learned about the remarkable work of Christian Aid Burundi and the visit has strengthened the bonds of friendship between our community and theirs. I hope this visit serves as a beacon of hope as we continue to walk hand in hand with Christian Aid, fostering a lasting relationship built on compassion, understanding and a a shared commitment to creating a better world for all.

Revd Marianne Foster, Curate in Charge

Christian Aid has been working in Burundi since 1995, and it is also the country of focus for Christian Aid Week 2024 (12-18 May). Burundi is also one of the Diocese of Winchester’s mission partners where we have to committed to developing relationships – last summer 2023 Bishop Debbie led a team to revive the link and spend time with Burundian clergy and their communities.

Burundi is one of the poorest and most densely populated countries in the world. Heavily reliant on agriculture, it’s also one of the least prepared to combat the effects of climate change, including droughts, floods and landslides. The global cost of living crisis has intensified the challenges: more than 70 per cent of the population live in poverty and more than half of children are chronically malnourished. In response to this, one of Christian Aid’s projects has been to establish Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLAs). These community-led groups mean people can save and borrow money, making small businesses possible, offering reliable and diverse incomes so families can eat regularly, get medicine when they need it, and build safer homes.

Case Study

Aline Nibogora is the chairperson of a VSLA who was first helped by the scheme. Aline escaped an abusive marriage only to find herself on the streets begging for a place to stay. Her life changed when she went to a three-day, Christian Aid-funded community workshop. With a small start-up loan, Aline began trading avocados and peanuts locally. She’s now a grocery wholesaler and living on her own plot of land where she’s building a home for her family.

Could your church consider getting involved and supporting Christian Aid Week 2024 (12-18 May)? There are many creative fundraising ideas and resources here.