Helpers at work (4): long-term support continues

Stichting Corantijn was previously known for responding to small-scale emergencies. But the foundation from the Netherlands is now venturing into larger projects to provide effective and lasting help. The other New Apostolic aid agencies are also funding long-term projects.

A group of women from Germany, Zambia, Malawi, Kenya, South Africa, and South Sudan are sitting together and talking. They often work together, but they have never sat down together before in this constellation—without any men. While watching videos they talk about implementation and long-term help. Their topic? Menstrual health and hygiene.

Searching for solutions together

The main issue being discussed here by the employees of NAK-karitativ, the German aid agency, and its partner organisations was gender equality. And menstruation affects equality. Menstrual health and hygiene is essential to the empowerment of girls. They need access to water and toilets and hygiene products so that they can continue to go to school while they are menstruating and are not disadvantaged.

The women first discussed among themselves how such issues could be better incorporated into the projects financed by NAK-karitativ. “It was such a confident, open, and fun group,” says Tatjana Augustin, the executive director of the agency. “It was such a pleasure to spend time with these women and develop solutions. It really motivated us. We were surprised at how openly otherwise shy colleagues suddenly talked, to see them laugh, to learn what they know and what they could never bring forward under normal circumstances.”

Health for all

Stichting Corantijn, an aid agency from the Netherlands, is working on a completely different but no less important project this year. In Suriname, its main country of operation, many people from the villages have only limited access to medical care. Although the government has planned to build healthcare facilities in some regions, the buildings could not be completed because of political changes and a lack of funds.

Last year, Stichting Corantijn, together with the New Apostolic Church Netherlands and the New Apostolic Church Western Germany, built a health care facility in Dankbaarkondre and two flats for medical staff. The aid agency is now planning to rebuild the half-finished and dilapidated healthcare facility in Companiekreek. It is a challenging project for the small aid agency. They want to renovate the building and equip it with medical equipment. Stichting Corantijn also wants to use its network to find a doctor. “The aim is to offer people a wide range of medical services,” says Marion van Berkum.

Help that lasts

“In order to finalise this project we need financial support,” says Marion van Berkum. Stichting Corantijn realises that this is a significant investment. However, the foundation is convinced that this will have a lasting impact on the health and well-being of the people living in and around Companiekreek.

The annual funding priority of the south German aid agency human aktiv has also meant a major investment to date. In 2023, human aktiv is providing targeted support to projects that help women and children who are victims of violence and abuse. The funds are aimed at projects in Germany, where the charity is based. Just like the many donations for food banks in Germany. “Abroad we are funding projects to help victims of the war in Ukraine. And we are also supporting the training of midwives in Guinea,” Stephanie Rastedter reports.

So far, the annual funding priority for women and children affected by violence has been a great success. “We have received a large number of applications for grants from women’s and children’s shelters and from counselling centres,” Stephanie Rastedter reports. “Almost all applications comply with our funding guidelines and can be funded.” The members of human aktiv are delighted. That is why, at the last general meeting, they decided to continue with this funding priority in 2024.

You can find further information about the aid agencies of the New Apostolic Church around the world, including contact information and opportunities to support them, on their websites:

Great successes do not mean that aid organisations can sit back and rest on their laurels. On the contrary. They all have plans for the final months of 2023 and beyond. The last article in this mini-series with look at these plans.

Article info