Count your blessings – Week 7

Monday 30
Concentration of CO2 has increased by 40% since pre- industrial times. Car emissions and gas and electricity usage all contribute to this.
Give 40p for each car journey and 20p for each journey on public transport you make.

Tuesday 31
If we don’t act fast, climate change could cause a global temperature rise of up to 4.5°C.
Count the number of radiators you have in your home. Give 30p for each one.

Wednesday 1
Today, thousands of people all over the world will go without food as part of the Fast for the Climate movement.
Join in and find out more at christianaid.org.uk/fastfortheclimate

Thursday 2
Maundy Thursday
Galgalo has to find water for his cattle, but it is getting harder because the rains are more erratic.
Give £1 if you have checked the weather forecast today.

Friday 3
Good Friday
Our partners are teaching alternative farming techniques to help farmers cope with changing climate conditions.
Praise God for innovative techniques that allow people to adapt to changing weather patterns.

Weekend 4 & 5
Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday
When Elema was growing up she remembers that the cattle were fat, the children always had milk to drink and it rained regularly so it was good for the area. But now this isn’t the case. ‘We are facing poverty, we are facing hunger because of the ever-changing climate in this area,’ she says.
Pray that more people understand the effects of climate change and demand a stop to it.

Count your blessings – Week 6

Monday 23
Emergencies often leave women alone and vulnerable, having lost men who were either at work or stayed behind to protect their property.
Pray for those trying to rebuild their lives.

Tuesday 24
Long periods of drought plague Zimbabwe. We’re helping communities to build dams to survive.
Give 30p for each way you use water today.

Wednesday 25
In the Philippines, natural disasters happen regularly. Communities are learning to recognise the warning signs so they have time to evacuate.
Give 60p for every smoke alarm you have.

Thursday 26
Emergencies destroy a community’s way of earning a living. We help people to develop sustainable ways to earn money.
Give 40p for each job you’ve had.

Friday 27
Climate change hits the poorest people hardest, yet they did the least to cause it. For the love of your global neighbours, join the movement for climate action.
Act now: christianaid. org.uk/climate-summer

Weekend 28 & 29
In Ethiopia, HUNDEE gives goats and cows to poor women so they can have milk for
their children and a way of earning money. Galgalo says this is how the community used to help each other, but poverty forced them to stop. Our partners work hard to get to know communities and meet their needs. This also helps them to know their way around and reach communities quickly in emergency situations.
Give £1 if you know the route to hospital. Would you know an alternative way if that route was blocked?

Count your blessings – Week 5

Monday 16
Often we take our own voice for granted. Make sure yours gets heard by joining our network of local lobbyists who regularly contact their MPs to demand a fairer world for all.
Visit christianaid.org. uk/locallobbyist

Wednesday 18
Saudi Arabia and Vatican City are the only two states in the world where women are denied the right to vote.
Thank God for all those who have fought for years in order to achieve universal suffrage.

Tuesday 17
Since women have been given a voice at community meetings, Elema has noticed changes that are improving the lives of women.
Give 30p for each group you are part of where your opinion counts.

Thursday 19
We have so many ways to share our thoughts with the world, but for many this freedom of speech is denied.
Give 50p for each method of sharing your opinion you use today.

Friday 20
In 36 countries, women now hold more than 30% of seats in national parliament in at least one chamber.
Give 50p for each female head of state you can name.

Weekend 21 & 22
It is custom in many societies for a woman not to speak in public meetings, but to tell a man what she wants to say and they may say it for her. HUNDEE has worked with Galgalo and his community to change this. Now women attend and speak at these meetings too. Galgalo says: ‘It is a useful thing to do; it helped us to see that women are valuable and they bring a lot.’
Thank God for all the women’s opinions that you are able to hear.

Count your blessings – Week 4

Monday 9
If you take farming out of the equation, only 20% of paid jobs in northern Africa are held by women.
Pray for equality for women in northern Africa, and around the world.

Tuesday 10
In 2013, almost 300,000 women died globally from causes related to pregnancy and childbirth.
Give 50p for each woman you know who has received specialist care during or after her pregnancy.

Wednesday 11
Through our partners, women like Elema have found support networks to turn
to in difficult times.
Give 40p for every woman who supports you in times of trouble.

Thursday 12
In many societies, women can’t leave home without a chaperone. Our partners support income-generating projects to do at home, such as cultivating silk worms in Afghanistan.
Give 30p for each place you go to on your own today.

Friday 13
Thanks to HUNDEE, Galgalo recognises that there shouldn’t be any supremacy between men and women. He shares the household tasks he previously considered ‘women’s work’.
Give 20p for each chore you think is a job for the opposite sex.

Weekend 14 & 15
Mothering Sunday
Elema followed tradition and was proud
when her daughter got married aged 12. Shortly afterwards, Elema watched her die
in labour. With the help of HUNDEE, Elema now campaigns against child marriage and protects girls like Bokiya who flee from it.
‘Not only will my daughters be over 18 when they marry, but I will protect other girls too,’ Elema says. Thanks to her, the community has prevented many child marriages.

Count your blessings 2015 – Week 3

This week’s Count your Blessings focuses on Education.

Monday 02 March
Education opens up opportunities. Bokiya wants to be a doctor when she finished school.
Give 30p for the number of professions you wanted to be as a child. Give 50p more if it became true.

Tuesday 03 March
Elema’s father wouldn’t let her go to school now she’s in her 50s, she feels it is too late.
Give 30p for each qualification you’ve taken as an adult.

Wednesday 04 March
Every year, 14 million girls get married before the age of 18. At school, girls like Bokiya learn about their rights and the dangers of child marriage.
Pray that girls will be courageous and able to stand up for their rights.

Thursday 05 March
World Book Day
Today we celebrate being able to read. But 781 million adults around the world lack basic literacy skills.
Give 5p for the number of books on your bookshelf that you haven’t read.

Friday 06 March
More than one in four children in developing regions are likely to drop out of primary school for reasons beyond their control.
Give 50p for every educational institution you have attended.

Weekend 07 & 08 March
Through community education, HUNDEE helps parents to understand that girls should go to school as well as boys. Bokiya says: ‘I like education because I can be a self-helper, a strong woman who can help herself.’
Visit christianaid.org.uk/reflect and use the weekly reflection to consider the gift of education.

Count Your Blessings 2015 – Week 2

We are a week into Lent and Christian Aid are running their Count your Blessings cause to give us something to think about, while also giving money for a good cause. Beth and I are both raising money again, however, I want to share the resources so that others can raise money alongside us.

The resources are available here:
http://www.christianaid.org.uk/getinvolved/lent/count-your-blessings/

Monday 23 February
It’s Fairtrade Fortnight! Fairly traded products offer better prices to the hard-working producers, and ensure decent working conditions and fair terms of trade.
Give 20p for each fairtrade product you can name.

Tuesday 24 February
In parts of Ethiopia, women don’t traditionally have the right to inherit any of their husband’s or parents’ assets.
Pray for our partners who challenge the structures that keep people poor.

Wednesday 25 February
Where our money goes shapes the world. Ask your pension fund whether your money is invested in risky fossil fuel projects or is funding a fairer future.
Visit christianaid.org.uk/greenlight to take action.

Thursday 26 February
Savings and loans groups provide communities with opportunities to borrow money. When they pay it back, others can then borrow money.
Give 50p for each bank account that you have access to.

Friday 27 February
Our UK state pension helps to maintain a decent standard of living when we retire. For many around the world, if they can’t work or grow their own food then no one will provide for them.
Give 40p for every year that you have paid in to a pension scheme.

Weekend 28 February – 01 March
Galgalo used to make all the financial decisions in his household. He says:
‘If I wanted to sell a cow, I would sell it. Then I would spend the money however I wanted, I might give my wife a bit to spend on the children, or I might not.’ Thanks to the work of HUNDEE, Galgalo sees the importance of involving his wife. Now they go to market together so there is no secrecy in how much money is made and spent.
Give 50p for each time you use a credit or debit card this weekend.

Count Your Blessings – Final 2013

So another Lent has passed. Our easter week saw us away on holiday visiting various places around Colorado. Good Friday we returned back to Denver in the evening but that is all for another post.

On Easter Sunday we woke up at 4:30am to go to Red Rocks which is an amphtheatre built into the foothills to the west of Denver. There we enjoyed a service where the sun broke the plains ahead of us halfway through the service. It was an impressive (if blinding) sight and one worth experiencing. We then headed home, napped for a couple of hours and then hung out with Sarah and Ethan the rest of the day. Playing lots of Settlers of Catan, watching British Touring Cars and eating roast lamb. A good day.

This year Beth and I both once again completed our Count Your Blessings challenge. It was another though provoking activity and it allowed us to raise money for a good cause. Over the last seven weeks the thoughts for the day led me to raise £30.05 for Christian Aid which we will send to them by cheque. It was a worthwhile thing for us to do as it is a chance to take stock.

Count your Blessings – Week 7

We enter our final week of Count Your Blessings 2013, a week for the next generation. It has once again been an interesting journey through Christian Aid's annual charity project and it was good to take part again.

 

Last week I raised an additional £6.20 which brought my total to £28.10

 

And onto the final thoughts:

 

Monday 25

Children born into poverty are almost twice as likely to die before the age of 5 than those from wealthier families.

Give 5p for every birthday you have celebrated.

 

Tuesday 26

One in three girls in Niger are married before the age of 15, and 75% are married before the age of 18.

Give 50p if you have attended a wedding in the last year where the bride and groom were over the age of 18.

 

Wednesday 27

Child marriage often leads to early childbirth, the leading killer of adolescent girls in Africa. 

Pray for safety for all the young girls in the world who will give birth today.

 

Thursday 28

Maundy Thursday

Worldwide, around 215 million children work, many full-time.

Give 10p for each child in your family who has time to play.

 

Friday 29

Good Friday

For the first time since poverty trends began to be monitored, the number of people living in extreme poverty has fallen in every developing region.

Give thanks and praise for the progress that is being made on ending poverty, and for everyone who is involved in this effort (that includes you!).

 

Weekend 30 & 31

Easter

In 2012, Christian Aid partner Ekta Parishad organised one of the biggest non-violent campaigns the world has ever seen. 60,000 people set off to march over 200km across India to hold the Indian government to its promises to protect the land rights of poor dalit and tribal communities. After 10 days, the march ended when the government agreed to the marchers’ demands. This momentous achievement could lift 400 million landless poor out of poverty in India.

Give thanks for this wonderful outcome and pray that the Indian government holds true to its promises. Pray for all those in the world who don’t have legal rights to their ancestral land.

Count your Blessings – Week 6

 

We have just two weeks to go now until Easter, Beth and I are going away for Easter week. We are doing a circuit of Western Colorado. Starting by going south to Great Sand Dunes National Park for a couple of days before heading west to Ouray in the mountains, north to Glenwood Springs and then east back home again. In five days we will do about 800 miles. Hopefully won't be too bad and there will be a lot of nice views.
 
That also means, however, that we are getting to the end of another year of Christian Aid's Count Your Blessings. Last week I added a further £6.80 to the amount that I have raised, this brought my new total up to £21.90
 
The theme for the penultimate week is health and homes:
 
Monday 18
2.5 billion people in the world do not have somewhere safe, private or hygienic to go to the toilet.
Give 40p for every toilet you have in your house.
 
Tuesday 19 
Since the beginning of the AIDS epidemic, HIV has orphaned more than 14 million children in sub-Saharan Africa.
Pray for children growing up without parents because of HIV/AIDS.
 
Wednesday 20
Malaria is a preventable disease, and yet a child dies from it every 45 seconds in Africa.
Give 50p if you know at least one way of preventing malaria.
 
Thursday 21
Over 100 million people around the world have no shelter whatsoever.
Give 30p for each bed in your house.
 
Friday 22
Today, an estimated 863 million people are living in slum conditions compared to 760 million in 2000.
Give 10p for each home you have lived in that has provided you with shelter and comfort.
 
Weekend 23 & 24
Palm Sunday
Governments in the developing world find it difficult to monitor pesticide use. In Ghana, 7 banned pesticides are still sold. Farmers misusing pesticides risk cancer, birth defects and damage to the central nervous system.
Give 20p for each household product you own with a warning label.

 

Count your Blessings – Week 5

We are getting further into lent and further into Christian Aid's Count Your Blessings. Last week I added £2.80 to make a total of £15.10.

Week 5's theme is a week for our precious planet.

 

Monday 11
The world’s poorest people are on the frontline of our changing climate – and they’re suffering first and hardest.
Give 50p for each light turned on unnecessarily in your home and 20p for every electrical appliance left on standby.
 
Tuesday 12
2 million deaths every year are a result of exposure to indoor smoke from cooking fuels.
Give 40p if your oven runs on electricity or gas.
 
Wednesday 13
Deforestation in Haiti is a severe problem. In the 1920s, 60% of Haiti was forested, now just 2% of forests remain.
Give 20p for each local park or green space where you live.
 
Thursday 14
About 20% of the population in the developed nations consume 86% of the world’s goods. 
Give £1 if you replaced an electronic item this year, instead of getting it repaired.
 
Friday 15
More than 80% of sewage in developing countries is discharged untreated, polluting rivers, lakes and coastal areas.
Give thanks that we don’t have to worry about what happens when we flush the toilet.
 
Weekend 16 & 17
While Christian Aid partners delivered life-saving food aid in Ethiopia during the drought of 2011, for many people the most pressing need was to save their livestock,  which are their livelihoods. Hereg Dane (pictured right) had already lost half her animals, but Christian Aid partner Agri Service enclosed a piece of land so her community could grow fodder without it being destroyed by wild animals or livestock. Thanks to this vital enclosure, Hereg has been able to save the rest of her herd.
Give 20p for each pet you’ve had that you could easily care for without worrying about food shortages.