Photo: Brian Sokol, ActionAid

For quite some time now, we have been sponsoring a little girl in Bangladesh through Action Aid. She’s still too young to send letters, but we occasionally receive one of her delightful drawings. Here’s one she sent recently.

Child sponsorship is partly about the warm fuzzy feeling that we get from nurturing our ongoing relationship with our sponsored child, encouraging her, and taking pride in her progress, but it’s so much more than that.

Since we joined the sponsorship scheme, Action Aid has sent us regular updates about their work. We’ve learned a great deal about life in Bangladesh, but we have also been impressed by Action Aid’s work in other areas, especially their emergency response programmes. Currently, of course, a great deal of their effort is dedicated to stopping the spread of coronavirus in the world’s poorest countries, by distributing hygiene kits, food parcels and life-saving advice. They also respond to a wide range of other disasters, such as those caused by drought and famine, tsunamis and earthquakes, or refugee and displacement crises.

At the forefront of Action Aid’s work is the need to recognise and respond to the specific challenges faced by women and girls.

“Women and girls often suffer the most during humanitarian emergencies. Typically, more women than men are killed by rapid onset disasters like tsunamis and earthquakes. Violence against women and girls increases during all emergencies, especially in conflict. There is nothing natural about the increased vulnerability that many women and girls face in emergencies. It is the direct result of the gender inequality and discrimination that women and girls experience in their daily lives.”

Action Aid targets their response to these issues by galvanising local women, putting their skills and talents to work within their own communities.

“Our approach in an emergency is to empower local women to lead the response. Local women know best what their communities need, and are able to get life-saving supplies quickly and fairly to those who need it most.”

Action Aid’s emergency funds are often needed to help people who have lost their homes. For example in 2019, ActionAid provided tarpaulins to people affected by Cyclone Fani in India.

Losing your home often means losing every single thing you own, as well as your shelter.

We would love to make a regular contribution to the emergency response fund, so we’ve decided on a plan.

Every time we conduct a valuation at a canalside home, we will purchase one of Action Aid’s emergency shelter kits. They say,

This gift could make a huge difference to a family by providing them with the materials they need to create a safe place to sleep while they rebuild their lives.

You’ll know that we’ve made a purchase on your behalf, because you’ll receive a thank you card from Action Aid. We look forward to helping Action Aid to provide more support, to save more lives, and to provide more shelter to those in need.