The Priory 900 logo is based on a pilgrim’s cap badge which was found in the mud of the Thames in London. This modern day pilgrimage was part of the Priory 900th Anniversary Celebrations which continued throughout much of 2013. In fact, there were two pilgrimage events in late August, culminating at the Priory on 28th August, the feast day of St Augustine of Hippo. One was from Beverley to Bridlington. The other started at York on 22nd August 2013.
The Eckersley walking duo began a little earlier than that…
Starting from Carlisle Cathedral (Augustinian) with a blessing for the journey, we walked along the route of Hadrian’s Wall through Lanercost to Hexham arriving there to take part in their worship on Sunday 4th August. Then we followed footpaths and rail trails to Durham, visited the Cathedral and headed south to cross the River Tees at Piercebridge.
We walked through the Yorkshire countryside to Osmotherley, Thirsk, Easingwold and then began the main pilgrimage (with others) from York to Bridlington Priory.
As this was a pilgrimage, we visited as many churches as we could en route and joined local worshippers or prayed in the churches. Details of how we got on are on the blog with maps and photos showing our progress.
The Christian Aid Project
Total amount so far donated (9th Sept) £1297.50
All donations made on our Pilgrimage Walk from Carlisle to Bridlington will be given towards a Christian Aid partnership project in Afghanistan. Christian Aid and our local partner the Afghan Women’s Educational Centre (AWEC) are embarking on a three year program to help over 1,000 women and young people speak out for change in their country – through adult education, literacy training and participation in local and national decision making.
The European Union has pledged to support this three year project and will provide match-funding at a ratio of 3:1. Christian Aid ask that we raise £5,000 in ‘new money’ over the next two years. With the 3:1 match-funding, this will make our £5,000 worth almost £20,000 (there is a small amount deducted for administration costs). So, in effect, every £1 we raise will be worth £4 towards the project.
We still hear a great deal about the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan but we hear much less about the plight of ordinary people. Here are some basic facts that we should know:
- Today Afghanistan is the poorest country in the world outside Africa; it is classed 172 out of 187 countries in the world according to UN Human Development Index
- More than 1 in 3 people live below the poverty line
- Less than 50% of the population has access to clean drinking water
- Afghanistan has the worst maternal mortality rate in the world
- The country also has the worst infant mortality rate in the world
- The national Literacy rate is 28.1% (for women it is only 12.6%)
Before 2001 the Taliban, an extremist Islamic movement, controlled Afghanistan. Under their rule, women were denied education and employment as well as political participation and representation. Since the Taliban were deposed by the US-led invasion of 2001, a new constitution guarantees women and men equal rights – at least in theory. However, many Afghan women fear that if the Taliban are given power in any peace process, women’s rights will again be curtailed.
The Christian Aid-AWEC project aims to achieve the following:
- Set up 80 women’s ‘shuras’ (local community councils) and 24 youth councils
- Provide literacy and adult education training
- Establish 40 community funds for local projects such as starting small businesses
- Provide training in women’s rights, peace-building and governmental transparency
The project will work in eight districts in three of the country’s most vulnerable provinces. Over 1,000 women and young people will benefit directly and the idea is that their experiences will then be able to benefit their local communities. Indeed, it has been calculated that the ‘cascade effect’ will reach an extra 264,378 people.
Christian Aid has been working in Afghanistan for nearly 30 years. It believes that it is vital to empower women and young people; through literacy and education and community involvement; so that they can take responsibility for their own future development in the years ahead.
Details of John and Nancy’s journey can be found on this website. Click on Blog to read about their venture.