|Posted on:||Tuesday, 26th July, 2016|
Kirsty Smith is Chief Executive of CBM UK.
One month ago, the UK voted to leave the EU. For some, this decision is a cause for celebration; for others a devastating blow. Whatever your personal perspective, it’s clear that this is a time of great change and with that comes uncertainty. At CBM UK, we have been reflecting on what Brexit means for us, for our country and for the people we serve.
Sadly, one result of the intense and often bitter referendum campaign has been a sense of division in the UK. We have been deeply disturbed by reports of increased hate crime. As Christians, we believe that every person is equally precious – we are all equal in God’s sight, regardless of race, nationality, disability or other differences. Discrimination and racism have no place in the UK, or anywhere in the world; at CBM we dedicate ourselves to building an inclusive world where every person is loved, valued and accepted. Now, more than ever, it is important that we seek to understand one another and work together – within our own country across different sections of society and internationally, to build the kind of society, and the kind of world, we want to see.
We do not yet know what the consequences of Brexit will be for the UK’s relationship with other countries. But one thing is clear: the UK must continue our long history of actively engaging with the rest of the world. I am immensely proud of the leading role the UK has played in tackling extreme poverty. We welcomed the commitment of the last Government to spend 0.7% of our national income on Aid because, as one of the world’s richest countries, we have a responsibility to help those who have none of the opportunities we take for granted. For us in the UK, it’s hard to imagine what it must be like to have no access to clean water, medical care or education. But that is still the reality for millions of men, women and children. We look forward to working with the new development ministers to make sure the UK remains committed to helping the poorest and most marginalised people in the world. We must not turn our backs on them.
We know that there may be difficult financial times ahead. For us at CBM UK, the immediate challenge is the drop in the value of the pound against the US dollar – as the pound is now worth less in most of the countries where we work, we need to raise more money to fund our life-changing programmes for people with disabilities. We are working hard across CBM and with our partners to ensure that our work is not affected and that the men, women and children we serve do not suffer as a result of these changes in the UK.
So at this time of change, we pray for wisdom, tolerance and understanding in our country. We are thankful for our wonderful UK supporters, who show such steadfast dedication to helping the world’s poorest people, through times of prosperity and financial difficulty alike. And we renew our commitment to building a world as God intended - where all are loved, valued and accepted.