Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) is delighted to announce the success of its #RedWednesday “£100k4Africa” matched challenge, which will help struggling Christians on a continent that has seen a dramatic rise in violent conflict and persecution.
ACN (UK) has reached its £100,000 donations target, unlocking a further £100,000, thanks to pledges by a number of generous benefactors.
The funds raised will provide shelter, food and trauma counselling, as well as other forms of practical and spiritual aid for suffering Christians in Africa.
Nine of the continent’s countries were in the ‘Red’ category – indicating widespread persecution – in ACN’s 2023 Religious Freedom in the World Report.
Patricia Hatton, Head of Fundraising and Marketing at ACN (UK), said: “There has been an explosion of violence in Africa in recent years, prompting ACN internationally to make this continent a priority.
“Christians are displaced and suffering trauma as a result of targeted violence, with countless families enduring the loss of their homes, livelihoods and loved ones.
“The massacre of about 200 people over Christmas by Fulani extremists in predominantly Christian villages in Nigeria’s Plateau State was a tragic validation of ACN’s focus on Africa, highlighting an ongoing but silent crisis.”
Africa was also at the centre of last year’s #RedWednesday – ACN’s annual initiative shining a light on Christian persecution.
Mrs Hatton added: “Our first ever matched challenge was a spectacular success, enabling us to provide vital assistance at a time when so many families are turning to the Church for help.
“Thank you to everyone involved: parishes, schools, various groups and all those who responded to our appeals leading up to Christmas and the new year.”
ACN (UK) launched its “£100k4Africa” challenge at the same time as its call for “100k Decades of the Rosary” to be prayed for persecuted Christians in Africa, inspired by Nigerian Rosary mystic Bishop Oliver Dashe Doeme’s visit to the UK last October.
On #RedWednesday 2023, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak endorsed ACN’s initiative after hearing the heart-rending story of Margaret Attah, a nurse who lost both legs and an eye in a jihadist attack – which killed 41 – on Pentecost Sunday 2022 at St Francis Xavier’s Catholic Church in Owo, south-west Nigeria.
Mr Sunak said at Prime Minister’s Questions on 22nd November 2023: “#RedWednesday is an important moment to demonstrate our solidarity with Christians and all those persecuted around the world for their religion or belief.”
Mrs Attah is the recipient of ACN’s inaugural 2023 #RedWednesday ‘Courage to be Christian’ award.