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Saturday, December 10, 2016
Gordon Brown praises SCIAF
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¬†Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown MP, paid tribute to leading Scottish aid agency, SCIAF, on Friday, at the agency's 40th anniversary lecture. Addressing over one thousand SCIAF supporters, at St Mary's Cathedral in Edinburgh, he said: "It is a privilege to be here because it also gives me the chance to thank SCIAF - not just for the work done in a month or a year but as you celebrate your 40th anniversary for the work done over four great decades of achievement. "From small beginnings in 1965 in a small school classroom in Rutherglen with funds of just £8,000 growing with now 88 projects in 24 countries into Scotland's leading international aid charity. Whenever help is needed, whenever and wherever there is disease, illiteracy, poverty and need, SCIAF is there, ready to help." SCIAF, the official aid agency of the Catholic Church in Scotland, has grown over the years and its income in 2004 was nearly £6 million. Paul Chitnis, SCIAF's Chief Executive said: "Today is a day to celebrate 40 years of SCIAF and also the commitment of the people of Scotland to SCIAF, and through the agency, to the people of the developing world. "Over the last 40 years, SCIAF has built a reputation for working with some of the poorest people in the world, of all or no faiths, in a professional and effective way. We have moved from being an agency that is perceived as being only concerned with aid to one that is also advocating for justice." SCIAF played a leading role in the MAKEPOVERTYHISTORY coalition in Scotland and at the rally in Edinburgh on 2nd July, making repeated calls for the dropping of debt, provision of more and better aid, and trade justice. Whilst acknowledging the progress already made this year, the agency confirmed there was much still to be achieved and that they hoped to mobilise supporters to campaign around the Trade Justice lobby in November and the meeting of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in December. Confirming such challenges, the Chancellor said: "And as we look to the future, and recognise not just what we have done together but what we must now campaign upon in the coming years, the world still needs a summons to action. That our cause requires more than a week's work at Gleneagles but a lifetime's work crusading for social justice." Cardinal O'Brien, Chair of SCIAF's Board, thanked the Chancellor for his contribution and Bishop Peter Moran, SCIAF's President gave the closing prayer.
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