CAPTION: Adi was one of the poorest of the poor. A widow with no education, no livestock and eight hungry children, she was without status in her community. But for all that, she believed that her life ought to be better. Through a Christian Aid Partner organisation – HUNDEE – Adi was given a cow that opened up a world of possibilities. With that cow, Adi got milk, churned butter, made a little money and saved enough to build a small shop by her home.

Devon aims to raise £200,000 as Christian Aid Week fights discrimination against women

Posted: 4th May, 2015

Volunteers over 170 churches and 80 groups across Devon will be stepping out against poverty this month as they take part in Britain’s longest running door-to-door fundraising week.

Christian Aid celebrates its 70th birthday this month and is asking residents during Christian Aid Week (10-16 May 2015 www.caweek.org), to support men and women living in the world’s poorest communities. Supporters are aiming to transform more lives by beating last year’s total of £165,505 raised in Devon alone.

With coffee mornings, plant sales and special church services as well as the house to house and supermarket collections this year’s Christian Aid Week also aims to raise the profile of how gender discrimination traps many communities in poverty and prevents women from living lives with dignity.

Globally, less than 20 per cent of landholders are women and women do twice as much unpaid work as men. In many countries girls are treated like second-class citizens while boys are provided with opportunities for an education, work, food and even decision making at the expense of their sisters.

South Devon regional coordinator Laura McAdam said: “We cannot end world poverty without addressing the fundamental issue of discrimination against women and girls.

“Almost as soon as girls are strong enough to walk many can spend hours fetching water and doing household chores.  Often forced into early marriages, they can also face the dangers of giving birth before their young bodies are ready.

“Deprived of an education, later in life women have to rely on men for their financial security, with any hope of following their own dreams dashed, leaving them vulnerable to deprivation and research shows that  one in three women across the world experiences physical or sexual violence.

“Christian Aid believes this has to change – for the sake of everyone; for the sake of women, men, girls, boys, communities and societies warped by such an extreme imbalance of power.

“In Ethiopia Christian Aid partner HUNDEE works with both women and men in poor rural communities to challenge violence against women and harmful traditional practices, such as child marriage and female genital mutilation (FGM), to bring about lasting change and ensure women can live in dignity and are treated with respect.

“They also provide the poorest women in pastoralist communities with livestock, raising their status within society, because when they have a cow they have a voice in community decision making, as well as a means to earn a living.

“The public across the Devon has been incredibly supportive in the past and we would love to break the £200,000 barrier this year in a show of solidarity with all those who have no voice and live under the shadow of discrimination and poverty.”

Events across the county will include the Newton Abbot annual sponsored walk at its new venue of Decoy Park on Saturday 16 May.

You can help to change the lives of men and women in places like Ethiopia this Christian Aid Week by donating online at www.caweek.org,  calling 08080 006 006, or texting ‘WEEK’ to 70040 to give £5.

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