Welsh chapels raise £200,000 for Christian Aid
Welsh chapels have raised over £200,000 towards Christian Aid's work in Guatemala.
The Presbyterian Church of Wales' 650 chapels spent last year raising money for the Viva Guatemala appeal.
Fundraising initiatives included chapel members cycling across Guatemala, walking Offa's Dyke, hosting Guatemalan feasts, and sponsored zumba.
Reverend Meirion Morris, PCW General Secretary praised their efforts in the face of tough economic times.
"I must applaud and congratulate everyone who has worked so hard to raise funds for this appeal," said Reverend Morris.
"There are many financial burdens on churches these days and although we had a slow start, the money has flowed in over recent weeks.
"Individuals and congregations have made a heroic effort to raise money, and I'm very grateful and proud."
Jeff Williams, the outgoing head of Christian Aid in Wales, congratulated the chapels on their efforts.
"This is fantastic news at a time of so many economic challenges," he said. "Everyone is struggling at the moment so this effort is very encouraging.
"This amount will make a big difference to people facing an even more difficult situation than us.
"Over the years the Presbyterians have shown great generosity towards our work and churches' continuing commitment to Christian Aid's work is an inspiration.
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"Congratulations to all the people and churches who have worked so hard. "
Mari Fflur, PCW Head of Communications, spent two weeks with Christian Aid's partners in Guatemala.
She witnessed first hand the extreme inequality affecting the country, with three out of every five people living on less than $1 a day.
"A quarter of the population does not have enough to eat and almost half of children under five suffer from chronic malnutrition.
"Storms, floods and hurricanes are a regular threat for many poor communities and violence is a huge problem, particularly in Guatemala City.
"The money will be used to enable some Guatemalans to raise themselves out of their abject poverty," she said.
The Presbyterian Church in Wales raises money every five years towards a particular country being supported by Christian Aid.
Part of Christian Aid's work in Guatemala includes responding to natural disasters, promoting women's rights, and helping young people stay away from gun violence.
Representatives of the Presbyterian Church will present a cheque for the total sum raised for the Viva Guatemala during the denomination's General Assembly in Aberystwyth in July.