A CARING Oldswinford woman has encouraged people to donate to Christian Aid after witnessing first-hand how the money is spent.

Jill Stone, the charity's regional co-ordinator, spent two weeks in Columbia last October and saw how Christian Aid's partner organisations help to rebuild communities that have suffered brutal violence and oppression at the hand of armed groups.

She said: “Christian Aid’s partner, the Inter-Church Commission of Justice and Peace, help create humanitarian zones, which are areas where displaced farmers live together for protection.

“These farmers have been displaced due to the internal armed conflict and without these zones they would be unable to return to their land.

“By having these zones protected by international law and promoted by internationals it means that the people are able to live safely in areas where the conflict is raging.”

Mrs Stone spent time living in the jungle with a community that had been displaced by paramilitaries.

She said she was touched to meet four-month-old Milencheri, who was the same age as her granddaughter: “When I compare the life that my granddaughter will have - living in a safe environment, to that which faces Milencheri, with constant threats of violence and displacement, I know I have to make people more aware of what is happening in Colombia.”

Mrs Stone has urged Stourbridge residents to support Christian Aid Week, which runs until tomorrow (Saturday 17), to support communities in countries scarred by conflict.

She added: "Christian Aid Week is so important to all of Christian Aid’s work and so it is vital that you donate as it really does change the lives of thousands of people.

“Not only that Christian Aid week is brilliant at getting churches and communities to come together and speak with one voice against injustice in the world.”

For more information, visit www.caweek.org or or text ‘GIVE’ to 70040 to donate £5.