Diocesan press releases

Teacher John’s Diamond Award for innovative Christian Aid work

John Meredith, a teacher at St Mary’s CIW Primary School in Brynmawr, has been awarded a Diamond Award for his dedication and innovative schools work for international development charity Christian Aid. 

As Christian Aid marks 60 years of its annual fundraising drive, Christian Aid Week, the charity is celebrating the incredible dedication of its supporters by awarding Diamond Awards across the UK.

The award was presented to John at the school assembly by headteacher Darren Jones and Christian Aid’s regional coordinator Mari McNeill.

The award came as a surprise to Mr Meredith, who has been championing Christian Aid’s work and its educational resources at the school and in many other schools across South Wales over the past several years.

Each Christian Aid Week, Mr Meredith prepares a week of learning about global issues so that each class is involved. This May the students spent a week learning about the refugee situation worldwide and how as a school they can help.

Darren said: “Mr Meredith has been a driving force behind the school’s learning about values, global issues, sustainability and Christian Aid’s work. Each Christian Aid Week it is great to see the students learning in depth about issues of global poverty and getting to grips with the role they can play as global citizens. The students were very excited to see him receive this award. He is a constant encouragement to us all, teachers and students alike, and well deserving of this award.”

John said: “I want to thank Mr Jones and all the students for nominating me. It is a great privilege to receive this recognition.

“I firmly believe in the work Christian Aid does and it is great that we can be a part of that work of insisting that the world can and must be swiftly changed to one where everyone can live a full life, free from poverty.  

“I am a firm believer that one of the key ways to see this realised is through education. The resources that Christian Aid produces for schools help us deepen our understanding of our values as church schools, such as love, solidarity, dignity, respect, justice and stewardship. Christian Aid Week also gives us a wonderful opportunity to link with local churches and groups in the community to help raise funds to help many lives out of situations of hardship and poverty.”

Every May, thousands of supporters take the streets – for door-to-door collections, bake sales, sponsored walks, abseils, among many other events – to raise money to support people around the world living in poverty. 

Mari McNeill said: “Without the dedication of our supporters year on year, like John and the students at St Mary’s CIW Primary School, we wouldn’t be able to do the work that we do.

“It is vital that young people learn about current world issues and the role they can play in tackling big issues such as the refugee crisis and the impact of climate change on the worlds’ poor. Right now, Christian Aid is tackling poverty in around 40 countries around the world, including providing support to refugees and food and water to those on the brink of starvation across East Africa where the lives of 16 million people hang in the balance.”

“It is no exaggeration to say that it is thanks to the dedication and vision of supporters that we are able to respond and not only reach these people in desperate need but also challenge the causes of poverty at the same time. Their commitment changes lives and it is a privilege to recognise their contribution towards a world where people not only survive, but thrive.”

Christian Aid was born in the aftermath of World War II, when a generation of Christians decided they would not stand by while people suffered in refugee camps, and continues to support people seeking a safe place to call home.

Today, tens of millions of people across the globe are forced from their homes due to war, conflict and disaster.  Many are forced to make life-threateningly dangerous journeys in search of a safe place to call home.  

Christian Aid Week unites over 20,000 churches every year to achieve incredible things to support our global neighbours in need, who are suffering through no fault of their own.  With their support, Christian Aid and its global partners continue to provide support for people seeking a safe place to call home, with essentials including food and shelter, as well as advocating for policies to protect them and help them on the ground.

You can help to change the lives of people fleeing conflict and crisis this Christian Aid Week by donating online at www.caweek.org calling 08080 006 006, or texting ‘GIVE’ to 70040 to give £5.