NGO’s (Non-Governmental Agencies) are a major source of a lot of the charity work throughout the world. The very large ones you’ve heard of – UNICEF, Red Cross, Catholic Relief Services, etc.- and many thousands you have not. LDS Charities is an NGO. Since many governments (certainly those in “third world” or poorer countries) cannot handle all of the needs of its citizens, the government allows these NGO’s to come in to their country and offer their services and assistance to their people. However, with that allowance, the government still has close oversight of their activities.
Several weeks ago, we met with Catholic Relief Services about working together on some projects here in Indonesia. At that time, Yenni Suryani, the head of CRS here, invited us to attend the next meeting of INGO, a group of the Country Directors of various NGO’s in Indonesia. So today, as Country Coordinators of LDS Charities, we attended the meeting of INGO. In attendance were the Directors of Muslim Aid, Islamic Relief, CARE, Save the Children, and several other smaller groups. We were able to participate in (ok, mostly we just listened) to a fascinating discussion among the NGO’s about the challenges they face in conducting their activities.
The best thing that came out of the meeting was that afterwards, we had a very good conversation with the Country Director of Muslim Aid. LDS Charities has been wanting to expand our work with them, but we did not know the key people. Now we do. Some would say this is a coincidence – but we know there are no coincidences…….
Rohingya Refugees from Myanmar
LDS Charities has a project with CRS working with the Rohingya Refugees in Aceh, Indonesia (Google it). We like to have local Church members involved in our projects if at all possible, but in this case that is not possible because there is no Branch of the Church in Aceh. We had heard a few days ago that some of the refugees had been moved to Medan, where we do have a Branch. This would give the Branch members to provide some service by putting together hygiene kits (or something else the refugees needed). Today we heard that most of the refugees (about 150) had been moved to Medan, so there may be a LOT of opportunity for the Branch to provide service! Stay tuned….