‌NAC SEA Relief: no extreme events, but plenty of hardship

Local and individual needs were addressed by NAC SEA Relief in 2023. This was possible because there were no major storm disasters in the Philippines in the past year. In its annual report, the aid organisation reports on the fates of individuals and reaching out to them.

The foreword by Urs Hebeisen, the retired District Apostle and president of the aid organisation NAC SEA Relief, starts with good news, “There were no major natural disasters which would have called us to the frontline with major investments.”

This does not mean that the staff of the aid agency of the New Apostolic Church South-East Asia twiddled their thumbs all year. As a matter of fact, the donations were channelled into emergency aid and reconstruction to help people affected by individual misfortunes. Money also went to sustainable projects.

Community spirit across oceans and continents

“We say thank you to all of you,” the retired District Apostle writes in his foreword. “Donors and supporters, whether institutional or private, big or small. It is amazing how far a Euro or a US dollar or a Swiss franc go to make a difference.” This shows that support for the aid agency is international. The majority of donations in 2023, over forty per cent, came from private donors and organisations from all over the world. The Swiss aid agency NAK-Humanitas, who has been supporting NAC SEA Relief with school construction projects for years, also donated a large amount in the past year. There were also local donors who willingly supported the charity’s activities. In fact, almost twelve per cent of donations received in 2023 were from local donors. In addition, the Unfried Foundation once again made donations to the NAC SEA Relief scholarship programme. These donations accounted for around seven per cent of revenue.

Emergency and long-term assistance reaches those who need it

Thanks to the foundation set up by Klara and Adolf Unfried, a German couple who died childless, twenty-three young men and women received educational support during the reporting year. Around 32 per cent of the aid agency’s expenditure went towards the scholarship programme. The students receive tuition and an allowance during their studies.

Odette, Yolanda, and Covid … In recent years, the aid agency had its hands full trying to alleviate the indescribable hardship caused by such disasters. In 2023, NAC SEA Relief was able to focus on the blows of fate that attract less attention but also require attention. For example, people who had to deal with house fires and coconut trees that fell on their humble shelters. “Hardly anybody notices, yet for the individual families affected it is always a painful experience in a life already marginalised under normal circumstances. We helped as far as possible.” For example, on 24 March 2023, there was a fire in the immediate vicinity of the NAC SEA Relief offices in Dulo Barcelona. A few days later, 150 affected children had school bags filled with writing and drawing materials so that they could continue to attend school and do their homework in the emergency shelters. Aid measures such as these accounted for a rather small percentage of expenditure of just over six per cent in 2023.

The smallest cost item was administrative costs, which to the great delight of the employees amounted to just under two per cent.

The largest expenditure in 2023 was on school building projects: almost 47 per cent. The annual report mentions the primary school in Puting Bato. It was NAC SEA Relief’s biggest school project in the reporting year and could be realised thanks to a large individual donation from a private individual and support from NAK Humanitas. The building has two classrooms, a staff room, and three sanitary facilities for around eighty children. The building for the Mantukdo Jerusalem Elementary Shool, a one classroom building, was also completed in the reporting year. On 21 September, NAC SEA Relief turned the building over to the Department of Education.

The last major expense item, according to the annual report, was for specialised medical care. Occasionally, a donor will ask the humanitarian organisation to help a particular individual. The annual report mentions a young mother who needed chemotherapy because of cancer. NAC SEA Relief staff accompanied her to various healthcare providers. She has recovered and is well today.

The work is ongoing

Even if hopes are high that 2024 will remain as calm in terms of disasters as 2023, the aid agency is getting ready to respond should it be required. Classrooms projects are being planned in South Cotabato, and Iloilo, and Kiabog. The latter is co-financed by the Canadian aid organisation NAC Foreign Extension. The scholarship programme is also set to continue, possibly with additional coaching and guidance, if at all feasible for the charity. NAC SEA Relief also plans to put greater emphasis on sustainability. They will be guided by the 17 developments goals of the United Nations.

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