Canon Stuart Lloyd trekked through the centre of Ballymena on Friday to raise the profile of Christian Aid Week.
The rector of St Patrick’s Church, Canon Lloyd has been occupied over these last days with the situation in Nepal. He has made many mission visits there with parishioners over the years and partnerships have been formed and the parish is seeking to respond to the needs identified by those partners.
Nevetheless, he took time out on Friday to carry a huge load of firewood on his back through the centre of town in a bid to highlight the particular plight of women in Ethiopia.
Quite simply, if they want their children to eat just one small meal a day, they must walk long, back-breaking hours collecting and carrying firewood to sell.
Canon Lloyd is a long-time supporter of Christian Aid and his church, St Patrick’s Church of Ireland, is involved in the charity’s collection across Ballymena to help fund essential work with the poor overseas.
He said: “I’ve been moved by the story of a 29-year-old mother called Loko who lives in a remote part of Ethiopia. Four times a week Loko has to make a back-breaking eight-hour trip to find and gather wood. When she sells the firewood she earns just £1 – barely enough to feed her children.”
In the Borena community, girls are expected to fetch and carry wood and water to provide for their family. Denied a good education and the respect of their community, women are trapped in a life of poverty.
Christian Aid want to give Loko, and other women like her, the means to earn a decent living.
“A cow, for example, will mean that Loko can sell the milk and butter to earn enough money to feed her children properly – and send them to school,” says Canon Lloyd.
He is appealing to everyone in Ballymena and in Antrim to show their support this Christian Aid Week, May 10-16.
He says: “Please put what you can into the Christian Aid Week red envelope when it comes through your door. All the envelopes are delivered and collected by volunteers.”
He added: “If we don’t get around to your house, then please still consider giving online at www.caweek.org or phoning in a donation to Christian Aid at (028) 9592 2015. Thank-you”.