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Have Confidence In Aid Agencies

12 January 2004

Have Confidence In Aid Agencies, Says Save The Children

The New Zealand public should have confidence in the professionalism of established aid agencies at times of immense humanitarian need, said Save the Children today.

Executive Director of Save the Children New Zealand John Bowis recommended that people who are financially able, yet reluctant to donate to tsunami or other emergency appeals for fear of inefficiencies,
do their research first.

“Many aid agencies in New Zealand have a strong global network, with offices and professional teams already operational in developing countries, which facilitates an immediate but co-ordinated response to emergencies in those areas,” he said.

“While Save the Children and like-minded organisations are financially transparent, it is up to prospective donors to ask an agency how much of their donation will reach the intended recipients and how quickly it will get there.”

Save the Children New Zealand guarantees that every dollar donated to its emergency appeals reaches children in need, with no deductions for administration. The same is also true for some other agencies.

Mr Bowis said donations to Save the Children New Zealand’s tsunami appeal are making a real and tangible difference to children’s lives.

In Sri Lanka, Save the Children has distributed family packs of food, basic medical supplies and household items to over 28,000 families to date. Meanwhile, in Indonesia, a 12-truck convoy carrying thousands of hygiene items, jerry cans, tarpaulin, buckets, matches, cooking utensils and sarongs left Medan yesterday, bound for the worst-hit province of Aceh.

Beyond the distribution of emergency supplies, Save the Children’s child protection teams are conducting equally important work, said Mr Bowis.

“While this week marks the start of the new school term in some tsunami affected countries, hundreds of schools have either been completely destroyed or are now being used to shelter families made homeless by the disaster. Save the Children is establishing safe spaces at temporary camps to organise play and learning activities for children, which will help them to overcome the trauma and restore a sense of normality to their lives,” he said.

Volunteers from local communities are trained by Save the Children to use play to help the children deal with issues such as loss of family and friends and the fears borne from the tsunami. Activity kits for children containing art supplies, soccer balls and skipping ropes are being dispatched to support play therapy.


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