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Guilt free chocolate this christmas

This Christmas, Present Aid offers an alternative gift for chocoholics that is not only calorie free but also helps poor farmers cope with the impact of climate change.

The chocolate kit, which costs £47 from Christian Aid’s virtual gift service, consists of cocoa seedlings and training for Nicaraguan farmers to help them adapt to global warming by switching from growing coffee to cocoa that thrives in hot climates.

Fourteen million people worldwide depend upon cocoa for their livelihoods, almost 90 per cent  of whom are on small family-run farms in developing countries. Aurora Picado, 45 year old coffee farmer, said: 'We just used to grow coffee, now we grow bananas and cocoa. Everyone has seen their coffee harvest fall… If it is very hot, the plants get many diseases. That is why cocoa is a good alternative. It likes a hot climate.'

Other new Present Aid gifts include a soap making kit from Burkina Faso for £13, equipment that helps women make high quality soap to sell; a flooding survival kit in Latin America for £20; a nutritious meal for 80 children in Bangladesh for only £10; and a school kit for £22 consisting of exercise books, pencils, pens, and erasers for 30 students for one year. The Present Aid catalogue and website www.presentaid.org contain 40 gift ideas, ranging in price from £5 to £1,400.

For the first time this year, Present Aid buyers can personalize the Christmas cards they will receive – they can choose between seven different images and insert a personal greeting. If you spend more than £40, you will receive a Present Aid calendar with stunning photography for FREE. Alternatively, you can get one in exchange for a donation.
Ruth Ruderham, Christian Aid’s Head of Fundraising, said: ‘Through Present Aid, people can purchase unusual and meaningful gifts that make a lasting difference to some of the poorest communities in the world’.

As a Present Aid buyer you receive a card with more information about the gift you have ‘bought’ which you can send to your loved one you have bought the present for, and the actual gift goes to help someone in a poor country. The money goes to one of the following project funds relevant to the gift from where it gets distributed to Christian Aid partner organizations:

- agriculture and livestock
- emergency and disaster preparedness
- healthcare inc. HIV/Aids
- training and education
- water and environment

The deadline for Christmas gift purchases is 15 December. Call 0845 3300 500 to order a catalogue.

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For images, video and interviews with Christian Aid representatives contact Kati Byrne on 020 7523 2419 kbyrne@christian-aid.org  or Karen Hedges on 020 7523 2404  khedges@christian-aid.org

Notes to Editors:

1. The printed Present Aid catalogue and updated website www.presentaid.org will be available from beginning of October.
2. Christian Aid works in some of the world's poorest communities in 49 countries. We act where the need is greatest, regardless of religion, helping people build the life they deserve.
3. New Present Aid gifts include:

< £20:

£5 >> 50 fruit trees – to provide food for families and prevent soil erosion
£8 >> beekeeping hats – for farmers in Bolivia where bees are a lifeline
£10 >> A nutritious meal for 80 children in countries such as Bangladesh
£12 >> juggling clubs to get boys out of gun crime ridden gang culture in countries such as Guatemala
£13 >> soap making kit – equipment that helps women make high quality soap to sell, Burkina Faso
£15 >> 3 torches – for night rescues and evacuations in countries such as El Salvador
£20 >> flood kit – rescue equipment used during floods (machete, saw, pliers, pick, spade, wire cutters)

< £50:
£22 >> school kit – exercise books, pencils, pens, erasers for 30 students for one year in Bangladesh
£24 >> woodwork training – Bethlehem nativity scene
£43 >> 5 football games (“kick HIV”) raising awareness of HIV/AIDS in Sierra Leone
£41 >> Tap, toilet and sink for a household – to bring clean water to poor communities in countries like India and to reduce the spread of illnesses
£47 >> Chocolate starter kit – cocoa seedlings and training for coffee farmers helping them adapt to global warming with the help of growing cocoa
£51 >> Furnish a classroom with tables, benches, and chairs in countries like Bangladesh

< £80:
£55 >> megaphone to help evacuate communities in the event of a disaster

> £100:
£117 >> nurses monthly salary – to provide crucial medical help in the aftermath of a flood in countries such as the Dominican Republic
£176 >> doctors monthly salary – to provide crucial medical help in the aftermath of a flood in countries such as the Dominican Republic
£780 >> primary education for 30 children for a year in countries such as Bangladesh
£977 >> community agricultural project – providing tools to make unusable land usable for farming in the steep Andean slopes, Bolivia
£1,400 >> Bridge in countries like Honduras where villages can get cut off during winter or flooding