Prime Minister Gordon Brown and the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams paid moving tributes this week to the work of Christian Aid’s Director, Dr Daleep Mukarji, who is standing down after 12 years.
In a letter read by Douglas Alexander, Secretary of State for International Development at a service of thanksgiving for Christian Aid’s work under Dr Mukarji, the Prime Minister said: ‘I know that your work at Christian Aid will have changed, improved and saved the lives of thousands of people whom you will never meet but who will remain forever indebted to you.
Mr Brown praised Dr Mukarji for being ‘central in keeping justice and the fight against poverty at the top of the political agenda’ over the last 12 years, and cited the Jubilee 2000 and Make Poverty History campaigns as ‘just two examples of Christian Aid’s reach and influence’.
The Prime Minister, whose personal commitment to fight global poverty is well known, also praised Dr Mukarji and Christian Aid for campaigning on the devastation caused by climate change in poor countries.
‘It was your work that helped to link development and climate in a way that no person and no agency had managed to do before. The world owes you a great deal in this regard,’ he said.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, also contributed to the service on Monday held at St John’s Church, Waterloo, close to Christian Aid’s London headquarters.
In a video message, he thanked Dr Mukarji for his ‘wonderful work’ over 12 years at Christian Aid. ‘We have a great deal to be proud of in Christian Aid, the churches’ agency for development,’ he said.
The service also gave thanks for the supporters and staff of Christian Aid. The sermon was given by The Right Reverend John Gladwin, former Bishop of Chelmsford and also former Chair of the Board of Christian Aid.
'It is not often that we can say that the communities of poor and marginalised have been given hope because of the work of one man, but that is what you got when you appointed a prophet as director of Christian Aid,’ he said.
Dr Mukarji urged Christian Aid to remember its passion for social justice and a world free of poverty. ‘For us as Christians, that is a vision of the Kingdom of God,’ he said.
‘The work of Christian Aid, day after day after day, is about people who are not often in the room and who are not often at the table. It’s about people who have been genuinely disempowered because of their caste or their ethnicity of their gender or their location or their other factors that we do know that keep people excluded or marginalised. That is what has kept me in my work - and must keep Christian Aid going.’
Dr Mukarji also wished his successor, Loretta Minghella, every success. She will take over as Director of Christian Aid in April 2010.
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Notes to Editors:
1. Christian Aid works in some of the world's poorest communities in around 50 countries. We act where the need is greatest, regardless of religion, helping people build the life they deserve.
2. Poverty is an outrage against humanity. It robs people of dignity, freedom and hope, of power over their own lives. Christian Aid has a vision – an end to poverty – and we believe that vision can become a reality. We urge you to join us.
3. Follow Christian Aid's newswire on Twitter: http://twitter.com/caid_newswire
Christian Aid has a vision – an end to poverty – and we believe that vision can become a reality. We work with the world’s poorest people in around 50 countries, regardless of race or faith. We are part of ACT Alliance, the ecumenical relief and development network.
The Christian Aid name and logo are trademarks of Christian Aid. Poverty Over is a trademark of Christian Aid.