Oxford Town Hall resounded to choirs from 21 primary schools across Oxfordshire this week (Thursday 29th November – Thursday 1st December) as they sang to celebrate Christmas and support Malawians facing hunger.
The concerts, organised over three evenings by the Oxfordshire County Music Service are expected to raise over £2,000 for Christian Aid’s work responding to the climate crisis in Malawi that is leaving families facing hunger this Christmas.
In front of packed crowds of family, friends and local councillors, each choir sang a Christmas favourite before rounding off each night with all the schools on stage for a rousing finale of ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’
The concerts have grown in popularity since 2008 and have raised well over £25,000.
Christian Aid is warning the climate crisis in Malawi has left food crops shrivelled by drought and drowned by floods. Right now many families are struggling even to have their staple food of maize porridge to eat.
In Malawi, most people depend directly on rain-fed, small-scale farming for the food they eat, and for any surplus they can sell. This makes families extremely vulnerable to weather-related shocks, which are becoming more frequent due to the climate crisis.
Fyness Tembo is 50, a farmer and is married with five children. Fyness knows what a Christmas with no food is like.
In the past, I was lacking food. I struggled to find food. “But now, with farming, I have food, and I am able to take care of my children.”
Working through local partners, Christian Aid is helping teach people new farming skills, providing seeds to grow vegetables, providing fuel-efficient cookstoves that take pressure off the environment and creating village savings and loan groups so people can access the funds they need.
Debbie Rose, OCMS Vocal Development Leader and musical director of the concerts, said:
The Big Christmas Sing marks the beginning of the Christmas season for many Oxfordshire primary schools. It is a wonderful evening where several hundred children experience the joy of singing with others in a beautifully decorated Town Hall with all the magic of the season. Amongst the festivities, they hear of children around the world, and especially in Malawi, who are facing hunger at this time and help to raise money to support them.”
Phil Evans, Christian Aid’s representative for Oxfordshire, added:
The response to humanitarian needs in Ukraine has been remarkable. We must now urgently act in that same spirit for people in Malawi facing hunger this Christmas.
By donating today, we can give lasting hope, stop this widespread malnutrition and hunger and help people build a life free from poverty and injustice.”
Christian Aid has confirmed £10 could provide four kilograms of bean seed or five kilograms of maize seed, £15 could provide five fuel-efficient cookstoves, £50 could provide 12 chickens and £100 could provide 100 fruit trees.
To donate to the appeal, please visit www.christianaid.org.uk/appeals