“People’s happiness makes all the effort worthwhile”

Felix Neuhaus was personally affected by the earthquake in Nepal. Nevertheless, the AWO International staff member immediately launched an emergency relief campaign.

First of all, dust and plaster began falling from the ceiling. Then an enormous crack tore through the walls of our house and it began to shake. It was a Saturday in April 2015 when a severe earthquake shook Nepal. I quickly ran into the garden with my family. At the time I was head of the regional office of Arbeiterwohlfahrt (AWO) International in Nepal. As a social welfare organisation, AWO Inter­national works in the fields of development cooperation and humanitarian assitance. After I had recovered from the initial shock, I spoke with our headquarters in Berlin on the phone. Within a few hours we launched a first emergency relief campaign together with colleagues from the Aktion Deutschland Hilft (ADH) associ­ation. AWO is very well networked in Nepal. That is also because we have our own office there. We know the structures very well and collaborate with lots of national partners. Together we were able to provide victims with relief supplies in the following days and weeks. In all, AWO helped 50,000 earthquake victims in Nepal and provided 1,300 households with temporary accommodation. Our staff and helpers were deployed every day for many weeks. People’s happiness about our help makes all the effort worthwhile. Even now months after the earthquake we still have a lot to do. Earthquake victims often flee to other countries to build a new existence. In the process they frequently face great dangers: many people are abducted on their journey or forced to work in inhumane conditions. We campaign for better working conditions and protection against human trafficking in many of our projects worldwide.” ▪