26 June 2006

Small miracles, big celebrations

Today, the Methodist Relief and Development Fund (MRDF) is celebrating 21 years of 'small miracles', made possible by its partner organisations overseas and the generosity of Methodist people in the UK. MRDF campaigns for justice and supports small, locally-based projects in more than 20 of the world's poorest countries.

New President of the Methodist Conference, the Revd. Graham Carter, marked the event by blowing out the candles on a 'virtual' birthday cake. Hundreds of Conference representatives then shared in a giant chocolate cake, made with Fairtrade ingredients.

Graham said: 'Over the last 21 years MRDF has shown that small organisations can make a huge difference. We're here to celebrate that even small changes to the lives of the poorest of poor have an impact which can be nothing short of miraculous.'

MRDF also launched its new Small Miracles Harvest Pack, which includes a Fairtrade birthday cake recipe, devised by celebrity chef Jane Asher. It is hoped that hundreds of churches and groups across the UK will hold special services and fundraising activities to mark MRDF's birthday at Harvest time. The free pack provides everything you need to celebrate Harvest with MRDF, including activities, posters, worship materials and stories of 'small miracles' in Nepal, Ethiopia and Cameroon.

Conference representatives each received an identity card on arrival, encouraging them to find out more about an individual whose life has been turned around by MRDF partners. A successful harvest for someone like Radika, who features on one of the 'identity cards', has been life-changing. In a country like Nepal, where 30% of people live in poverty, it means that she now has enough to eat, an improved income and an increased chance of being able to send her children to school. Agriculture training from MRDF partners has made all of this possible.

MRDF also has a newly designed website for its 21st birthday. All Small Miracles Harvest resources are fully downloadable from the new site and it provides an up-to-date, comprehensive and uplifting overview of MRDF's work.

MRDF's Director, Kirsty Smith said: 'This celebration is not so much about the charity itself, but about the lives and futures that have been transformed through the work of our partner organisations. This is an opportunity to see how much has been achieved in just 21 years, but it isn't the end of the story. With the help of our UK supporters, we need to continue bringing hope to people in desperate situations.'

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