Nail-biting time at PWRDF

Published December 1, 1998

Canadians have given generously to the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund this year to help Canadian victims of the ice storm and victims of Hurricane Mitch.

Primate’s Fund director Robin Gibson hopes people will remember to donate to its general coffers before the end of the year.

“If everybody remembers to give, we’re not worried,” Mr. Gibson said, adding that “it’s nail-biting time.”

The budget this year is $2.7 million. By the end of September, $1.35 million had been raised.

“We are pretty close to where we were last year in terms of donations,” Mr. Gibson said. “But we had budgeted for more.”

The program’s profile has been raised in various ways. About 1,000 volunteer parish representatives now spread the message of the Primate’s Fund through their parishes, removing that job from busy clergy.

Offering envelopes for Primate’s Fund donations are distributed through parishes and a newsletter, Under the Sun, is issued.

As an example of the kind of work that could be jeopardized by funding cuts, here are some projects approved in October:

  • a $49,000 grant for an income-generating project for Sudanese refugees in Ethiopia;
  • $10,000 for flood relief in China;
  • $40,000 over three years to the St. Barnabas Education Support Program in South Africa to upgrade the quality of teacher education.

Meanwhile, the Primate’s Fund reorganized this year to better tackle its work. While two staff have left program assistant positions this year, three people have been hired into newly created development associate positions.

Jeannethe Lara was a court interpreter for abused women. She works on Americas projects.

Zaida Bastos works on Africa projects. The executive director of the Working Group on Refugee Resettlement in Toronto has worked as a literacy counsellor for UNESCO and for the UN Development Program in Angola.

Bern Jagunos works on Asia/Pacific and emergency and global projects. She was with the Canada Asia Working Group and brings a background in ecumenical justice work in Asia.


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