They’re not heroes, but volunteers with a heart

When the TV cameras move on and the crisis disappears from the headlines, NAC SEA Relief stays and continues to provide relief aid. In its 2019 report, the South-East Asian relief organisation also looks back on a special operation outside its usual jurisdiction.

“We are not heroes and do not make miracles,” District Apostle (ret.) Urs Hebeisen, the president of the charity, writes in the report. “The effect of our work is often minimal, but we care and try to see with our heart. We make an effort to make a difference, even if it is often just for a moment.”

Although the Philippines saw fewer major natural disasters in 2019 than in other years, NAC SEA Relief still had its work cut out. For once a disaster vanishes from the headlines, the relief organisation does not turn away, but is guided by the hearts of its members and helps people locally.

Where does the money come from and where does it go to?

Most of NAC SEA Relief’s 2019 revenue came from private donations, 24 per cent from NAK-karitativ, and 18 per cent from NAK-Humanitas. Local donations account for two per cent. These were collected by the young people from Makati (Philippines), for example, who had gone from house to house carolling during Christmas.

In contrast to previous years, in which much of the money went toward disaster relief, many of the donations collected in 2019 went to long-term community projects. The share for education projects also increased.

New houses, new seeds, new life

In collaboration with other aid organisations, NAC SEA Relief helped to rebuild houses in the Philippines that had been destroyed by earlier typhoons. In Isabela and Cagayan, the charity even helped to rebuild people’s livelihood by distributing seedlings so that farmers could grow and harvest crops again and thus have an income.

The building of a new school in Acmonan posed some logistical challenges: the only way to transport building material to the site was on horseback. Thanks to dedicated people, NAC SEA Relief was able to build the new school and provide housing for the teachers thanks to numerous donations.

When people are left with next to nothing

When Typhoon Tisoy struck the regions of Mindoro and Bicol around Christmas last year it left people in desperate need. NAC SEA Relief reached out to 76 families in Mindoro and to 253 families in Bicol and delivered food packages.

Twice, NAC SEA Relief teams drove to the Davano del Sur region, which had been damaged by an earthquake, to distribute food packages. But since the entire area had been cordoned off for security reasons, the teams had to deliver the food to central depots. Further food deliveries and help with reconstruction are planned.

Gratitude in word and song

In the past year, NAC SEA Relief was present at the International Youth Convention in Düsseldorf in Germany in order to present its cause and work to an international audience. As a special thank-you for the continued support, the IYC Philippine Choir presented a few Filipino songs.

NAC SEA Relief regularly receives financial donations. Among others from human aktiv, NAK-karitativ, and NAK-Humanitas, who provide funding for the bigger undertakings. NAC SEA Relief extends its gratitude to these organisations as well as to the numerous other donors. District Apostle Hebeisen also expresses his thanks to the volunteer workers, the pastoral networks, or partners and other organisations in the field who provide the charity with feedback and reports.

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Katrin Löwen, Tatjana Fröhlich
Aid agencies, Philippines