Concern Worldwide has thanked the people of Ballymena for supporting its Hunger Stops Here appeal - with local donations topping more than £20,000.
In all, the UK public gave £1.4 million to last autumn’s campaign – and match-funding by the government means that every penny donated to the international development charity has been doubled, taking the total to £2.8 million.
The money will go to programmes tackling malnutrition in some of the world’s most marginalised communities helping thousands of vulnerable people to escape the trap of hunger.
“We are very grateful that the people of Ballymena have shown their generosity by backing the appeal,” said Peter Anderson, NI Director of Concern.
“The public have been motivated to do all sorts of things to raise money, such as organising street collections, bake sales and quizzes, fasting for 24 hours, donating items to our shops and taking on a challenge.
“A massive high point was when two people, inspired by the opportunity to have their donation doubled by the UK government, made an incredibly generous donation of £500,000 to the appeal.
“The matched funds will have a huge impact for thousands of mothers and their children in rural Zambia, helping to free them from a life-sentence of hunger through a combination of nutrition and health training together with agricultural support.”
As part of the appeal, Antrim and Ballymena Times journalist Lorna McKay visited Zambia to report on Concern’s work and the project that will benefit from matched funds. She travelled to one of the poorest regions, where more than half of all children suffer from chronic malnutrition. The RAIN project, which recently won a major international award, has been addressing the nutritional crisis in the area for the past three years. Working with Zambia’s health and agriculture ministries, it gives women the seeds, tools and know-how they need to create small vegetable gardens to provide a more varied and nutritious diet for their families. That is combined with health and nutrition support for both mother and child.