Helping others this Christian Aid week

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Christian Aid Week will be taking place in Scarborough from this Sunday, with door-to-door collections and a number of events taking place.

This year’s event will focus on partners working to build peace amid conflict in South Sudan, Columbia and Iraq.

One of these areas of conflict is in the remote Acholiland region of Northern Uganda. Much work is needed to repair what has happened in communities here.

The Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), led by self-styled messiah, Joseph Kony, who bases his fanatical movement on a twisted version of the Ten Commandments, has led an insurgency against its own government, and its subsequent reign of terror over Kony’s own Acholi people, lasted for nearly two decades.

Between 1987 and 2006, the LRA killed tens of thousands of civilians, maimed hundreds more, abducted at least 20,000 children, and forced nearly two million people to subsist in camps.

Driven out of Uganda in 2006, the LRA continues to inflict terror in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic and South Sudan.

A former child soldier, Norman Okello has chosen to speak about his traumatic experiences.

He was abducted by the LRA when he was just 12. For more than two years he was forced to kill and maim.

A small team from Christian Aid travelled to Northern Uganda to see how one organisation is building peace and reconciliation.

They visited the ground-breaking National Memory and Peace Documentation Centre – run by Christian Aid’s long-standing partner the Refugee Law Project – to film and interview survivors.

Norman welcomed the Refugee Law Project’s initiative, saying: “I am thankful for the opportunity to talk about what happened to me, because I need people to understand that I never wanted to do any of those terrible things.”

His parents had given up hope of seeing him again and said that he found it hard to adjust once he was back with his family. Gradually he began to improve and is now teaching the little ones at the centre to grow up in a good way.

Events in Scarborough include:

Sunday May 11: Sponsored Walk from St Michael’s along the seafront to St Mary’s and back along the cliff top. Please assemble at 1.45pm for a 2pm start. Also on this day, at 11am, a Christian Aid service will be held at Burniston Methodist Church.

At 6.30pm on Sunday, Jenny Brown, Senior EU Relations Advisor for Christian Aid, will give the address at an evening service dedicated to Christian Aid at Westborough Church. The service will be conducted by the Rev Mark Haynes, chairman of Scarborough Christian Aid.

Tuesday May 13 to Saturday May 17: Cake Stall at Boyes Store. Contributions welcome and may be handed in at the stall between 10am and 4pm each day.

House-to-house collections: These take place all week when around 100 volunteers deliver and collect envelopes at their own convenience. This activity is the main fund raiser for Christian Aid providing 75 per cent of its funds for the year. Please enquire at Westborough Church if you would like to help.

Saturday July 12: Open Garden at Scarcroft, 41 Red Scar Lane, Newby, from noon. Soup and sandwiches from 12.30 pm, tea and scones from 3.30pm to 5pm. Entry by donation.