A Response to Inaccurate Reports on Haiti Relief
Lately, there have been a number of media reports on World Vision’s then relief work in Haiti, which have triggered further enquiries from the general public. As we try our best to answer those queries, I would like to take this opportunity to share a few things with you.
by Kevin Chiu, Chief Executive Officer of World Vision Hong Kong
There were indeed incidents of sexual exploitation in our relief work in Haiti back in 2010. But those involved were community volunteers and beneficiaries of the cash-for-work programme, rather than World Vision staff as initially reported. After our clarification, the media concerned have publicised truthful reports as a follow-up.
As soon as the earthquake in 2010 occurred, I went to the spot and witnessed the massive destruction the earthquake had caused. Many people lost their loved ones and lacked food and necessities, while children were traumatised and in dire need of assistance. With over 2 million people affected (which is about one-third of the population of Hong Kong) in front of us, we had to battle against time and engaged local volunteers to join the rescue. These people were invited because they were familiar with the local language, culture and geography, an advantage which enabled us to efficiently reach out to the needy.
Just like you, we were indignant and saddened when we learned that people had been exploited in the aftermath of the disaster. Subsequently, World Vision has taken all kinds of measures, which are already yielding results, to ensure that similar incidents do not happen again. For example, we have set up a reporting mechanism, established a protection unit to investigate allegations of abuse, and conducted training sessions on the prevention of sexual exploitation. We are deeply sorry to anyone who we failed to protect or feels let down by us.
We promise to do our utmost to improve our policies and protocols in place, strengthen communication with our partners and provide adequate help for the world’s most vulnerable. We often remind ourselves to be good stewards and use your donations wisely. Indeed, it is because of your support that many people afflicted by disaster have been able to start a new life again.
We look forward to continuing our partnership with you to build a better world for children.
May peace be upon you!