Bishop Richard inspires pupils to give the precious gift of life this Christmas

Bishop Richard visited St Marys and St Thomas CE Primary School, St Helens, as they raise funds for Christian Aid

The school held an Enterprise week where each class harnessed their entrepreneurial skills to make gifts and games to sell at their Christmas Fayre. Each class was given £30 to make crafts and gifts to sell at the fayre in the hope of raising money for charity. 

The school has decided to donate some of the money raised to Christian Aid’s Christmas Appeal after the children learnt about how they could help families in Nigeria combat Malaria when Bishop Richard visited last week.

The Diocese of Liverpool is supporting Christian Aid’s Christmas Appeal which has been awarded UKAID match funding. This means that even more people’s lives could be saved from the devastating effects of malaria in Nigeria.

At a time of year when Christians around the world celebrate the birth of the baby Jesus, thousands of children in Nigeria are longing for a precious gift, that of life.

Worldwide a child dies of malaria every 60 seconds. Malaria cases in Nigeria, in West Africa, account for a quarter of all malaria cases across the continent, killing an estimated 250,000 children under the age of five every year.

Pregnant women who contract malaria are particularly vulnerable: the disease can result in a higher risk of miscarriage, premature delivery, stillbirth, severe anaemia and babies being born with low-birth weight – a leading cause of child mortality.  In addition, pregnancy also reduces a woman’s immunity to malaria, leaving her three times more likely to suffer serious consequences as a result of malaria infection than a non-pregnant woman. A lack of knowledge and poor access to information means malaria accounts for 11% of all maternal deaths in Nigeria.

Loretta Minghella, Chief Executive of Christian Aid, said: “No child should die from a preventable disease.
“We are delighted to receive the support of UKAid Match again this year, which will double the amount donated to Christian Aid’s Christmas Appeal and help save more lives.”

In Ora-Eri, south-eastern Nigeria, Christian Aid partner organisation Aguata Diocesan Community Human Services (AD-CHUS) is providing life-saving mosquito nets and a public education programme delivered by trained community health agents.  Community Development Committees have been set up to ensure the government provides quality healthcare and free malaria treatments to clinics.

International Development Secretary, Justine Greening said:  “A quarter of a million children under five die needless and preventable deaths from Malaria each year in Nigeria.

“By matching the UK public’s donations to Christian Aid’s Christmas Appeal, we can double the number of community health workers who we educate, train and equip in Benue State in Nigeria.
“That means 600,000 children and young women will receive advice, information and treatment for malaria and other preventable but potentially life threatening diseases.

"By tackling these problems at their root, we will not only save many lives but take some of the pressure off overstretched health facilities. We can help create a safer and more prosperous Nigeria.”

Your donation could help Christian Aid prevent many thousands of unnecessary deaths from malaria. Just £3 could buy a life-saving net and £60 could train three community health workers to deliver the nets and life-saving health advice in their local area.

Until 5 February 2016 the UK Government will double the difference each pound donated makes, up to the value of £5 million, as part of UK Aid Match.

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Find out more about the Christian Aid Christmas Appeal here.