Tearfund Ireland’s history is steeped in a movement of Evangelical Christians in the UK and Ireland who had a conviction of faith to respond to the millions of people suffering across the world due to extreme poverty, injustice, natural disasters and suffering in the late 1960s. The media coverage of the Biafra famine in the late-1960s impressed upon Christians living in the United Kingdom and Ireland the need to support the Evangelical Alliance in sending funds to those faced with desperate poverty and suffering. The Evangelical Alliance Relief Fund had emerged in 1968, with members convicted and determined to merge Christian compassion with practical action, birthing the organisation, Tearfund.

In 2000, The Evangelical Alliance in Ireland, Irish supporters and volunteers, Tearfund and other Christian networks brought Tearfund to a new era in Ireland and Tearfund Ireland was established as a separate organisation. Overseen by a Board of Directors, Tearfund Ireland became operational in 2008.

Since then, Tearfund Ireland has grown from strength to strength and has sought to develop its own distinctiveness, strategic priorities, programme experience and expertise in the field to complement and add value.

Tearfund Ireland continues to work closely with Tearfund in the UK through implementing joint programmes overseas, sharing resources, shared learning, expertise and experience.

Decades of Devotion

Sheila MacDougald of Grosvenor Road Baptist Church Dublin, is a ‘stalwart supporter’ of Tearfund Ireland and was tireless in communicating its vision across Irish churches for nearly 50 years.  Sheila served on the board of Tearfund UK and spoke at churches around the Republic from Dundalk to Cork and from Sligo to Wexford in her trusty black Morris Minor.

Sheila was part of Tearfund Ireland launching as an Irish, independent charity in 2008 and served as a Director for the first years to ensure a smooth transition and strong presence as an Irish-run organisation.

Sheila says it has always been a privilege to serve Tearfund.

"Tearfund has made my life: I have gotten back much more than I ever gave."

Sheila MacDougald

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