Dear Archbishop Martin,
I hope you are well. I wanted to share with you the good news that £2 million in extra funding has been approved by the UK government that will fund a vital life-changing programme in South Sudan. As you know the government had pledged to match public donations in Northern Ireland to Trócaire’s Lenten Appeal earlier this year up to a maximum of £2 million through their UK Aid Match (UKAM) Programme.
We are absolutely delighted that we reached the target for UKAM, in fact we bypassed the target by a good distance and the overall Lenten appeal has actually raised £4,861,548 including the £2m match funding. Once again we asked the people of Northern Ireland to stand in solidarity with those in the developing world and, despite everything going on here in relation to Covid-19, the public stepped up to the plate. The government would only match public donations so this result is purely down to those individuals, parishioners, clergy and school communities that supported the appeal.
These donations are vital for funding for our work all over the world in some of the world’s poorest countries. The extra £2 million we will receive from the government will be used specifically in South Sudan where thousands of people don’t have access to enough food because of decades of conflict and displacement compounded by climate change and gender based violence. This funding will enable us to supply food and water, empower women, facilitate access to cultivated land and provide suitable crops and training on sustainable farming practices. This will help families, like those of Awut and Ajak who featured in this year’s campaign, to become self-sufficient without having to rely on aid.
In Trócaire we never cease to be amazed and humbled by the generosity of people here at home. We are also very aware of the hard work of your clergy and Diocesan staff in helping us to achieve such a great total, by promoting the Lenten Appeal in various ways and by helping us to get the funds in as quickly as possible to meet the UKAM deadline. We very much appreciate that ongoing support.
I wanted to make you aware that we will be sending out press releases this week to thank the general public for supporting the Lenten appeal and will also be sending letters to all the parishes and schools in NI to thank them for their generosity and to let them know that their support really does change lives.
Roisin O’Hara (Interim Head of Region for NI)