It’s hard to believe that this is my third Lenten period as SCIAF ambassador for the diocese of Argyll and the Isles.

Two years ago, SCIAF appointed ‘ambassadors’ for each diocese in Scotland and during Lent we were all busy raising funds through talks and walks to enable us to visit some of SCIAF’s projects in Kenya and Tanzania.

It was a fascinating trip which took us to the slums of Nairobi, the shores of Lake Victoria, and villages around the Arusha in Tanzania.

                           One of the Nairobi slums visited by the SCIAF team.
                           The area is affected by the recent troubles in Kenya.

Since then, I have visited a number of parishes in Argyll and the Isles to tell congregations, schools and groups about SCIAF’s work around the world and here in the UK.

As Scotland’s biggest overseas aid agency, SCIAF not only funds projects which help people who are affected by hunger, disease, disaster and injustice (and in 2007, from a population of 5 million, SCIAF raised an amazing £5 million!). It also has an advocacy role, petitioning our government and governments around the world for a fair world.

When the Scottish bishops set up the Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund over 40 years ago, a very important facet they insisted on was raising awareness of the kind of situations in which SCIAF would be involved.

That’s where we come in. As ambassadors, we are volunteers who see the work done by SCIAF, are informed about its campaigns and strategies, and then go out and let people know on our own patch (in my case, quite a big one stretching from the tip of Kintyre to the Island of Lewis).

I am here as a resource when YOUR parish wants someone to talk about SCIAF. I can offer you anything from a two-minute talk after Mass to a bells and whistles presentation.

Contact me through SCIAF www.sciaf.org.uk or 19 Park Circus, Glasgow, G3 6BE.
(Tel 0141 354 5555) or direct at marian.pallister@zen.co.uk.

               Below: SCIAF ambassadors with members of a project in Tanzania.
Marian is second from right in the middle row.

Read about Marian’s work with Zambian children