A Scarborough-based mum recently travelled to Southern Africa to see how development projects are transforming lives.
Laura Cooper, from Burniston Methodist Church, swapped North Yorkshire for Zambia to see first-hand how Christian Aid supporters across the town are helping people.
Laura, who is Scarborough’s lead volunteer for the Refugee Council, met with miners who are joining together to secure a fair deal for the silica stones they sell, as well as seeing projects tackling gender-based violence and helping small-scale farmers develop secure livelihoods from agriculture.
Laura was one of nine supporters selected from across the East Midlands to North Yorkshire to travel over 5,000 miles for the ten-day trip visiting various Christian Aid projects.
In 2018 Christian Aid supporters across the area raised thousands of pounds for the cause, including events such as sponsored walks, cake sales at Boyes, funds raised from Burniston Chapel’s Coffee Stop, individual donations and church collections.
Laura, who leads the grassroots social activist group Scarborough Friends of Refugees, applied to go on the trip to gain first-hand experience of projects and bring back stories which she can share with schools and churches across the area.
She said: “I have long been a supporter of Christian Aid and the way it lives out its values of dignity, equality, justice and love by helping people in poverty discover their voice and develop the ability to change their own lives and those of others.
“Being part of Christian Aid is being part of a global movement that not only believes change can happen but is making it happen.
“In these days of climate emergency and division, it feels acutely important to love our global neighbour, to narrow the gap between ‘us’ and ‘them’ and work together against injustice for a better world.
“I am a mother of three boys and the future of the world they are inheriting is extremely important to me.
“I run two weekly children’s groups because I believe in the benefits of linking people and encouraging the feeling that we are all part of one community. In my experience of meeting like minded folk through my activities with Scarborough Friends of Refugees I see the evidence of how much our town cares about others, wherever they are from.
“Scarborough is a town that understands the value of community and I hope this trip will help us all develop our sense of global community that little bit more.”
Laura is available to speak to groups about her experience and can be reached via the Facebook group Scarborough Friends of Refugees.