What has prompted me to write this letter is my concern over the impact of the ongoing controversy involving Oxfam in terms of the possible reduction in support for charity organisations.
It may be that members of the public will now be less inclined to support the very large charity organisations and that is to be regretted but my real anxiety is that it could also impact smaller charities who do not receive any support from government and depend totally on donations.
After retiring from my post as a post-primary principal, I became involved with Operation Rescue, a small charity working with HIV/Aids orphans and destitute children in Ethiopia.
Operation Rescue, which is registered with the NI Charity Commission, runs three centres in northern Ethiopia working with almost 700 children.
Local trustees channel support to the project and our current commitment is to enable the building of a much needed fourth centre in Maichew. All monies donated to Operation Rescue go straight to Ethiopia and trustees personally cover any administration costs. Operation Rescue itself has very low level of administration costs (only 12% including salaries).
Obviously, my greatest concern is for this Ethiopian charity which won my heart on my first visit in 2005. I have made many visits since then to Operation Rescue at my own expense and, like all those who visit the project, I am passionate about it.
It is because I know there are many others in the province who could tell comparable stories that causes me to express real concern that other smaller charities like ours could be adversely affected.
My appeal is to urge people with any reservations about donating to a charity that they access information on the Charity Commission website or make direct contact with the trustees and are not tempted, in the face of these events, to withdraw support to these charities seeking to reach out to the many poor and vulnerable people in our world.
Kate Doherty, Fermanagh, Chair of Trustees, Operation Rescue UK & Ireland, (NIC 100397), Operation Rescue website : https://operationrescue.ch