History

In 1970, Inger Nilsson, who portrayed the beloved Swedish children’s book character Pippi Longstockings on film, visited two children’s parties organised by FCA in Helsinki. The events raised 45,000 Finnish markkas, which were used to provide medication to malnourished Nigerian children. Photo: Jouko Kesäläinen.
In 1970, Inger Nilsson, who portrayed the beloved Swedish children’s book character Pippi Longstockings on film, visited two children’s parties organised by FCA in Helsinki. The events raised 45,000 Finnish markkas, which were used to provide medication to malnourished Nigerian children. Photo: Jouko Kesäläinen.

Finn Church Aid (FCA) was founded on 25 September 1947, when the Lutheran Church of Finland officially joined the international assistance network of churches – at the time, as a recipient of assistance.

After the Second World War, Finland was in ruins. There was a shortage of food and clothes as the country had been impoverished by war. Over 400,000 people migrated from the Karelian territory, which Finland was forced to surrender, to other parts of the country.

Money, clothes and foodstuffs, mainly from Sweden and the United States, were delivered for the needs of the poor country through the Lutheran Church of Finland. Finnish expats living in the United States were particularly active in handing donations.

Descriptions of the Finnish conditions and needs, letters of gratitude from recipients of assistance, and stories of how the assistance had affected lives were sent to American sister churches to help fundraising campaigns. In addition to administering emergency assistance, social work of the church was strengthened which, in turn, developed the capacity of Finns to help themselves.

From recipient to provider of assistance

Moving from the 1950s to the 1960s, the Finnish Church matured from a recipient of assistance into a provider of assistance. For example, over one third of the funds collected through the Common Responsibility Campaign were directed towards helping “the vulnerable people of the world.” Today, Finn Church Aid channels 60% of Common Responsibility Campaign revenue to the poorest people in the world.

In the 1960s, issues of the Third World and international justice became more prominent in the work of inter-church organisations. At the time, shocking pictures of starving children in Biafra dominated the headlines.

When attitudes towards international aid became more positive, the importance of the aid work conducted by the church became more highlighted, as did the position of Finn Church Aid.

Finn Church Aid today

From the 1970s, FCA funding and staff have grown steadily. FCA was part of the international department of the Church until 1995, when it became an independent foundation with a Board of Directors appointed by the Council for International Relations of the Church.

Today, Finn Church Aid is one of the largest Finnish providers of development cooperation and emergency assistance, and a member of ACT Alliance, a network of church affiliated aid organisations. Finn Church Aid operates where the conditions for life are poorest. We work for human dignity and international justice.