The Austrian aid organisation „Kindernothilfe“ helps children in economically weaker regions of the world to grow up in dignity and with basic needs and education. Recently the organisation celebrated its 15th anniversary.
As wombats, for some years now, is supporting projects of the “Kindernothilfe” around the world, we think this anniversary is a good opportunity to present the organisation to our womBlog readers. Therefore we asked the “Kindernothilfe” secretary Luzia Widibal for an interview. She told us about the cooperation with wombats, about travelling as a luxury good and what travellers can do to support the people in indigent regions.
Hi Luzia! Since when are you cooperating with the wombats City Hostels?
Hi. It was in 2008, when Doris from the wombats contacted me and asked for cooperation. The idea was that every hostel sponsors one of our projects to achieve an enduring support. The wombats projects are situated in Africa, Latin America, Asia and Eastern Europe, mostly helping orphans and kids in situations of grave poverty.
How do your projects help children fulfilling their basic needs?
Firstly our projects have two focuses: Securing nutrition and medical aid on the one hand and education on the other hand. Beyond that we plan to improve regional structures and the incomes of the families. This causes permanent improvements for the whole life of the growing child.
Travelling is something that we, central Europeans, take for granted, something that many of us do from our childhood on. But isn’t it more like a privilege or a luxury good? Something that’s not available to all children around the world?
Indeed. Children in poverty have totally different needs. They strive for regular nutrition or medical aid, for them it is a privilege to attend a school. Travelling is something that comes rather on the top of the “pyramid of needs”.
Tourists often spend their holidays in poor regions of the world, but without getting in contact to the local people and their poverty. What can a traveller do to support the local people and communities?
It depends on what kind of trip and aid you choose. Basically it is always good to travel off the beaten track and avoid “classic” touristy places. This way you visit more indigenous places and support the local communities through your travel expenses.
Another important point is to show responsibility and respect to the people, the culture and the environment of the country you are visiting. Beyond that you can help by supporting aid organisations that are working in the country you travel, for instance by taking child sponsorship.
Is it also possible to support projects personally? Can travellers work in projects of the “Kindernothilfe”?
Sure it would be possible, but it’s probably not reasonable. The “Kindernothilfe” always aims to work with local partner-organisations and employees. This proved to be the best way to improve the local communities in the long run. Therefore, a short-term collaboration of a traveller would just take away tasks from the natives. But it’s always possible to visit projects; we also like to help travellers to find projects along their travel route!
Everyone in Europe is currently talking about the economic crisis. How does the crisis affect the willingness of people and corporations, to support aid organisations or donate to charity projects?
In times like these you see who is serious about supporting the poor. The “Kindernothilfe” has the advantage that many of are projects are based on permanent child sponsorships. These donators have a special relationship to the kids and know much about their life conditions. Therefore they know how hard the crises affects people in economically weaker regions and are willing to support them.
That’s why I want to take this opportunity to thank all of our supporters!