New Zealand Children’s Health & Education Trust has been working with the people of Vanuatu since 2000.
Vanuatu is one of the closest Island Nations to Aotearoa/New Zealand and one of the most impoverished. New Zealand/Aotearoa Children’s Health & Education Trust assists with programmes initiated and supported by the local communities. Our projects focus on improving the health, education, transport systems and sustainable economic enterprises on the remote islands of the Republic of Vanuatu.
Statement from Liane Farry Trustee of New Zealand/Aotearoa Children’s Health & Education Trust:
“There are many different conceptions of what constitutes ‘aid’. For us, it is vital that we are always working to assist the people and the communities we are involved with towards self-reliance and self-determination. The word assist is very important. This means that in practise we get to know the people, sit with them and if possible live with them and ask them what they need and want and then act as facilitators, working with them to make the project happen. We are very careful not to impose our ideologies/values on the people we work with.
In my experience, projects often fail because the projects are imposed on a community rather than initiated by the community. It is a far better practice to ask the people what they require to improve their lives and then put those initiated and supported ideas into action, always continuing to be guided by the people themselves.
I am often asked what I consider to be the major mistakes in the field of aid and I always reply, never go into a village and presume to know what the people need or what they want – ask them what they need and what they feel would improve their lives. Actually the most important factor ensuring the project’s success will be the organisation’s ability to build authentic and meaningful relationships with the people and the community. This means that we have to let go of all of our colonial and racist mindsets and engage with the people from a place of genuine respect, trust and love. Building authentic relationships is about the recognition that the relationship is a two way process. In other words, that the two parties will learn from each other and contribute to each other’s development. I have to say that over the years, as much as we have been able to assist the people in the villages we have worked in to achieve growth, transformation and development, they have assisted us right back in terms of our own growth and development.”
We support our commitment by insuring:
- All donations go directly to the local community.
- All project and programmes are based in health, education and sustainable economic development.
- All project and programmes start with local community initiatives.