BY Ian Dunn | June 14 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print

Taking the case against hunger to the G8

Supporters of SCIAF will join those from Justice and Peace Scotland and other organisations as the Enough Food for Everyone IF campaign heads to Belfast this weekend ahead of the G8 summit of world leaders

THOUSANDS of people will travel to Belfast this weekend to demand Prime Minister David Cameron and other G8 leaders get serious about tackling world hunger.

The Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund (SCIAF) is taking 200 of its supporters to a special rally in Belfast organised by the Enough Food for Everyone IF campaign on Saturday ahead of the G8 meeting on Monday and Tuesday.

They will be joined by thousands more from other Scottish charities and across the UK who are seeking action to help the one in eight people worldwide who go to bed hungry every day.

Enough food for everyone

Katrina Shalley, of St Michael’s parish in Moodiesburn, will be in Belfast with SCIAF, an agency of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland, for one simple reason.

“There’s enough food for everyone in the world,” she said. “So why is anyone going hungry? This is an incredibly important issue and this is a really good opportunity to go and make our voice heard.”

Ms Shalley works for a travel agency, and through her travels through Asia and Africa, has seen just how much change is needed.

“I have seen for myself the disparity between rich and poor all over the world,” she said. “That is why I became a volunteer with SCIAF, because I could see people wanted to be able to help themselves and that is what SCIAF does, helps people help themselves.”

She firmly believes that people are willing to help if you give them the chance.

“I absolutely think people what to be engaged with, to learn how they can help others,” she said. “It’s easy to be negative but, since I started helping at SCIAF, I have been amazed at the interest and support I have had from friends and colleagues.”

In an age when many people are disenchanted with politics, she believes that goodness means people still want change.

“Everyone is disillusioned but politicians, they work for us,” she said. “We have a responsibility to take action. The things we want are so basic, even children understand about the need to share. I think you have to engage if you sit back and do nothing you forfeit the right to moan about it!”

SCIAF

For John Sharp, SCIAF campaign’s officer, the G8 event is the largest he has ever been involved with for the charity.

“There will be 10,000 people at the rally in Belfast Botanic garden,” he said. “With speakers and music it is a chance for everyone to show their solidarity with people who are hungry around the world.”

He thinks that, for SCIAF’s supporters, this event is an opportunity they don’t want to miss.

“I see it as very much people putting their Faith into action, living out their beliefs and putting them into action,” he said. “Once every seven or eight years, the G8 comes to the UK and we get a unique opportunity to raise these issues, like we did at Make Poverty History.”

Though some may struggle to believe their action can impact world leaders he believes ‘change is always possible.’

“If you look at history you see people can change things,” he said. “A year before Nelson Mandela was released, most people would have doubted if he would ever be free let alone that he would end up as president of South Africa.”

He believes that the IF campaign can have an impact because of it is common sense approach.

“It’s something that is rooted in Catholic social teaching,” he said. “We do have enough food for everyone, and we are proposing things that tackle the root causes such as big companies not paying tax in developing countries and land being used for biofuels rather than food.”

Justice

Katherine McGrath told the SCO that she was motivated to join the trip to Belfast because there is so much injustice in the world.

“I do feel angry about these issues,” she said. “Big companies go into developing companies and rape them of resources without paying their fair share. People should be angry about that!” A retired teacher from St Patrick’s parish in Kilysth, she visits schools for SCIAF and her Faith is at the heart of her activism.

“The Pope said just the other day that today people are treated as being worth less than money and that’s not right,” she said. “Everyone has a right to a life and to live it to the full.”

Through her work for SCIAF in schools she continues to be inspired by young people.

“The kids are tremendous at rising to the call,” she said. “The amount of money they are able to raise in these times of economic hardship is tremendous as is how they are still thinking about being global citizens.”

One particular incident at St Bridget’s parish, Toryglen sticks in her mind.

“Children from the primary school were doing a cheque presentation after Mass, and afterwards a parishioner came round the sacristy and matched the donation,” she said. “They didn’t want any attention, but it was an amazing gesture.”

When Ms McGrath is in Belfast, she will be representing all those people in Scotland who care about the poor.

“You know in the 1960s, JFK said we want to put a man on the moon and end poverty by the end of the decade, and here we are, in 2013, and poverty is as bad as ever if not worse,” she said. “The G8 leaders can help put an end to that and we need to keep pressuring them until they take action.”

—ian@sconews.co.uk

 

 

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