Appeal attracts £ millions in aid to Mayanmar, where Denny’s built ships
Refugees crossing into Bangladesh from Mayanmar and pictures of the ships Dumbarton men built there in the 20th century.
By Lucy Ashton
A Scottish aid agency has raised almost £3.2m through its annual Wee Box appeal, which attracted support from churches in West Dunbartonshire and Argyll.
The Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund (SCIAF) said the money will fund projects across the world.
The total was doubled thanks to UK Aid Match funding from the Department for International Development (DfID).
The campaign focused on Cambodia, but the Glasgow-based charity also recently supported Rohingya families who have fled Myanmar.
Myanmar, formerly Burma, which has a huge Dumbarton connection given that early last century Denny’s shipyard built ships for Burma and sent members of its workforce there to supervise the final elements of construction.
On Tuesday International development minister Lord Bates visited one school which raised more than £1,000 for the appeal. Pupils at Our Lady of Good Aid Cathedral Primary School in Motherwell, North Lanarkshire, supported the campaign through crazy hair days, pyjama parties and other fundraising activities.
Lord Bates said: “SCIAF’s Wee Box appeal will make a positive change to people’s lives by protecting the rights of fishermen and farmers in Cambodia and giving them the tools they need to boost their incomes and support their families.”
“Every donation made by the public across Scotland has been matched pound for pound by the UK government, meaning we have doubled the difference the public have made to those in need.”
The 2018 campaign told the story of SCIAF’s work supporting poor Cambodian families to provide for themselves.
The money from DFID will help 19,000 indigenous and vulnerable people in rural parts of the country to grow more food and improve their access to clean water.
The charity confirmed the final appeal total was £3,198,056.
Nick Harvey, SCIAF’s director of fundraising, communications and education, said: “I’d like to thank everyone, including those in schools and parishes throughout Scotland, for taking part in the appeal and being so generous.
“The money raised will go a long way, and make a huge difference to the lives of many thousands of people who struggle every day due to poverty, conflict or natural disasters.
“This money will provide practical help so they can work their way out of poverty, support themselves and have a brighter future.”
Last year, SCIAF provided long term practical support and emergency aid to over 207,000 people in 27 countries including Syria, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi and Colombia.