Henderson Group, owners of the SPAR, EUROSPAR and ViVO brands in Northern Ireland are thanking local shoppers for their generosity as the total fundraising amount for the annual Tearfund appeal has been announced.

In total, £462,000 was raised – over £60,000 more than the retailer’s original target – which will go straight into the groups and initiatives Tearfund have set up to help the people of Burundi who are recovering after decades of conflict.

Jayne Ross, Tearfund’s Partnership Executive in Northern Ireland, says; “We are so grateful to SPAR, EUROSPAR, ViVO and ViVOXTRA for their generous collaboration throughout the appeal. Thank you also to all who have donated. Your gifts, made in store and online, will make a significant difference in the lives of many across the world, including people like Jacqueline.

“After fleeing to Rwanda to escape the violent conflict in Burundi, Jacqueline decided to return home. But the return was painful due to the reminders of the horror that claimed her father’s life and later caused her to flee, but also because of some new challenges. She came back to find her farmland had been given away, making it difficult for her to feed her family. ‘There are times that my children get very hungry,’ Jacqueline said. ‘But I have nothing to give them apart from some food left over from last night. The biggest problems I face are hunger and raising my children on my own.’

“Joining a Tearfund-supported self-help group was a huge support to Jacqueline. Since joining the group, Jacqueline has been able to save and buy a goat and a bicycle, which one of her children uses to go to school or to collect water. In these groups, people tackle their problems together, as Jacqueline says, ‘I like the way we sit down and share, it makes me happy.’ Through this support, she is better able to feed and provide for her children.

“Thank you to the Northern Irish public for bringing hope and support to people like Jacqueline around the world.”

Bronagh Luke, Head of Corporate Marketing at Henderson Group added; “I have seen first-hand how our collaborative appeals with Tearfund can effect change for families like Jacqueline’s.

“I am also so proud that our shoppers have helped us raise approx. £1,500,000 for Tearfund in the past three years alone, which is an incredible achievement considering how challenging those years have been.

“I would like to echo Jayne’s thanks towards our shoppers and retailers who have embraced this campaign and taken stories like Jacqueline’s into their hearts.”