ISHR-Australia has continued to strengthen its links with a number of like-minded organizations who provide emergency and development aid in troubled areas of the World. Our ability to provide tax-deductibility to them has helped them to increase the effective value of their donated funds.
Discussions were held in December with the Minister for Telecommunications, Senator Conroy, to help to clarify our position on tax deductibility for donations to ourselves and our partners for overseas development assistance.
Our membership and contact lists have been brought up to date and attempts have been made to have as many as possible of our contacts on email in order to cut our overhead costs. Our website http://www.ishra.org.au/ is now up and running but needs more work.
Bhutanese refugees in Nepal: We gratefully accepted the contribution by ISHRA to the concert that was organized by Nepalese refugees in Bhutan.
Bhutanese refugee K B has at last been interviewed by Australian government representatives re his resettlement. KB and his family have been in a refugee camp in Nepal for 15 years. In May KB and his family were transferred to Kathmandu in preparation for their flight to Australia. There was an unfortunate delay when their nephew, who was one of the group, contracted chicken pox. The decision is to resettle KB and his family in Cairns at the end of June.. The distance to Cairns from Melbourne will restrict the support that can be given. The delay meant that they spent a further six weeks in a transit camp designed for housing refugees for a few days. They eventually arrived in Cairns on the 11th August. Their case worker has not been pro-active in supporting them in their immediate resettlement needs such as finding suitable long term housing and jobs. We are trying to offer as much support as possible.
Haiti: We agreed to support fund-raising for Haiti after their recent earthquake. There is currently very little news from the orphanage on La Gonave supported for several years by our partners. Money in hand from previous fund-raising has all been used in the first week to feed and house an influx of children from mainland Haiti. The need there is very urgent. It was agreed to approach the World Food Program for assistance.
The possibility was raised of ISHR Internationally appealing to release Haiti from its International debt. The fund raising for Haiti has raised $AUS 7731.00 so far. More funds arestill likely to be contributed.
A submission for funding for terracing land in La Gonave was submitted but the $15000 was not approved. Advice was to re submit next year.
A further submission to World Vision to help feed those on La Gonave for 12 months was not successful.
Architects for Humanity will give skills training to local people required for rebuilding. They have visited the site and recommended a school of 4-6 classrooms be built. They suggested an application for a grant for construction. Discussions have taken place about the use of permaculture and composting toilets with a US farmer who may be able to help. There is the possibility of growing bamboo for construction and for storage tanks.
Cambodia: An Annual fund-raising dinner was held for Cambodia. This raised $AUS 6000.00
Thai Burma Border: Report that there is not enough money to feed children from three schools for refugees from Burma. Appealed for $AUS350.00 per month to continue feeding.
East Timor: Various projects with the help of Rotary.
Afghanistan: AADO project to supply solar lights to enable students to study at night raised $5900.00. Teacher training program is very successful. Supply os sewing machines is also very valuable. Planet Wheeler is supporting projects.
A draft memorandum of understanding (MOU) has been developed and signed between AADO and ISHR-A Similar documents should be developed with other Associates.
Derek Cade bequest: ISHR-A received a bequest which specified a three way split to projects in Flores, Kenya and Thai-Burma border. Funds to go in a trust account while we work out details.
It was agreed that we give moral support to residents of Camp ASHRAF in Iraq by signing their petitions.
There is continuing harassment of camp Ashraf residents.