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Churches are helping Africa's Aids victims; LETTERS.

SIR - I read with interest Dr Gwyn Jones' article (Magazine, (July 11) on the HIV/Aids epidemic in South Africa in which he asks "...what is being done to help people?" I work at the headquarters of Undeb yr Annibynwyr Cymraeg (The Union of Welsh Independents) - an umbrella body for approximately 450 congregational churches in Wales - and spent two and a half weeks during April/May of last year travelling in the company of Christian Aid's South West and Mid-Wales officer, Reverend Tom Defis, visiting Christian Aid partners in South Africa.

These included Thandanani in Pietermaritzburg, an organisation that assists children orphaned by Aids as well as the multitude of grandmothers who now have to raise these children in the absence of what is referred to as the "lost generation", ie those in their 20s and 30s who are most affected by the virus, and Wola Nani in Cape Town which assists women who are HIV positive, running clinics where they can be tested and provided with antiretroviral drugs as well as providing them with an income by teaching them to produce beautiful papier mache bowls which are marketed in many parts of the world.

We also visited organisations such as AFRA (Association For Rural Advancement) and CLP (Church Land Programme) that deal with the very great problems associated with land ownership in South Africa - at the end of apartheid in 1994, 86% of the land was in white ownership.

As a result of our trip our Christian Citizenship Department spearheaded a fundraising campaign which over the past 12 months has succeeded in collecting over pounds 160,000.

The money will all be transferred to Christian Aid which will in turn distribute it to its partners in South Africa.

By these means the financial assistance goes directly to those organisations involved in aiding those who suffer from disease and discrimination.

During our fundraising we imported some 450 papier mache bowls from Cape Town. They proved to be so popular that we only have about a dozen left. Maybe Dr Jones would like to call at our offices to buy one sometime!

DELYTH M EVANS Parc Busnes Glanyrafon, Abertawe, Swansea
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Aug 3, 2009
Words:359
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