Ben Walkling’s Christian Aid Work Experience

This Summer I’ve spent a lovely fortnight work experience with Christian Aid in their Cardiff and London Offices. As part of my Geography degree at Swansea University I am conducting a work experience module and thought Christian Aid would be a great experience.

I have always been aware of Christian Aid’s work and appeals due to my background in United Reformed Churches in Rhyl and Pontypridd. My academic interest is the natural environment, especially natural hazards and sustainability. I am keen to use and build on these in a practical and worthwhile way, such as the humanitarian work Christian Aid and other organisations do. Therefore, to have a chance to see Christian Aid work was an amazing experience and a taste of what I might look to do in the future. (I say with only one year of university left!).

Whilst I was in the Cardiff Office, I researched Wales’ long history of welcoming refugees. It was incredible to see the positive attitudes and welcome Wales has given refugees far back as the Belgian Refugees during the First World War. It’s also reassuring to see the work currently going on to support the newly arrived Refugees from Syria.

I also got to spend a day melting in the Royal Welsh Show. It is well worth a visited to the Cytûn tent and Christian Aid stand for a warm welcome, tea and coffee and to see the promising work Christian Aid is currently doing.

During my time in the London Office, I sat in the Humanitarian department within their Resilience team. I helped out with the Start DEPP (Disasters Emergency Preparedness Programme) specifically the Linking Preparedness Response and Resilience project by reading through a few of the case studies of their interventions to natural disasters such as Typhoons and Floods in various countries. The aim was to summarising them into a two page document.

It was fascinating to see the ways Christian Aid and its partners intervene in disasters. The way every effort is made to ensure it is a community lead response. They don’t only want to help the communities back on their feet but help them be resilient against future disasters and struggles.

It has really struck me how responsive Christian Aid’s work truly is. Whilst in the London office, the humanitarian department were responding immediately to the renewed fighting in South Sudan. In Cardiff the Office was pushing for a change in the negative narrative around Refugees through their “Change the Story” Campaign. Christian Aid work doesn’t end at Christian Aid Week.

The whole experience has given me food for thought for my future and I’d like to everyone involved in my great fortnight.

Ben Walkling


*Taken from the United Reformed Church Wales eNewsletter

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