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Concern Worldwide works with the world's poorest people to transform their lives.
We are an international humanitarian organisation dedicated to tackling poverty and suffering in the world’s poorest countries.
We work in partnership with the very poorest people in these countries, directly enabling them to improve their lives, as well as using our knowledge and experience to influence decisions made at a local, national and international level that can significantly reduce extreme poverty. In 2015, we positively impacted the lives of 22.5 million people.
For more than 45 years, Concern has been dedicated to reducing suffering and fighting hunger and poverty. Today, Concern’s work is needed more than ever.
John and Kay O'Loughlin with President Mary McAleese on the 40th anniversary of Concern's foundation.
Concern was founded by John and Kay O’Loughlin-Kennedy in 1968, as a response to the famine in the Nigerian province of Biafra. The famine was largely precipitated by the conflict that followed Biafra’s attempt to secede from Nigeria.
John’s brother, Father Raymond Kennedy, a Holy Ghost Priest, had returned to Ireland from Nigeria with news about the plight of people in Biafra where widespread famine was becoming a reality due to the Nigerian blockade of food, medicines, fuel and basic necessities.
John, Kay and Raymond held a press conference in the Shelbourne Hotel to raise awareness and funds. This allowed them send the first ‘mercy flight’ to Biafra.
But much more was needed, some weeks later a larger meeting was called in the home of John and Kay, Africa Concern was formed and the fundraising continued.
Send One Ship
Africa Concern with the Knights of Columbanus launched an appeal in June 1968 for the famine in Biafra with the slogan "Send One Ship".
On 29 September, a 600 tonne ship named the Columcille arrived at Sao Tome, a Portuguese island off the coast of Biafra, filled with vital supplies of powdered food, medicines, and batteries. In 1970, a huge cyclone hit East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) and the public were asked to respond. Africa Concern simply became Concern.