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Haiti Earthquake Orphan Appeal: thanks to the BBC

thoughtful in Haiti

Thank you, BBC.

See Haiti Earthquake Orphan Appeal and Sponsor an Earthquake Orphan

This evening BBC Look East again featured our work following the Haiti Earthquake, with video footage from Haiti of our aid convoy unloading emergency supplies at our Village in Santos, together with an interview from Johann Denk who is running our operations on the ground in Haiti. They also featured interviews at our office in Cambridge where we explained why we felt orphans in Haiti needed longer term commitment from donors rather than just a quick fix. Yesterday the BBC again featured video we took from a helicopter surveying the planned convoy route from the Dominican Republique into Haiti and interviews from our office in Cambridge where we discussed the urgent need for food and water.  At the weekend they hosted Kathie Neal, our Development Director on BBC Breakfast TV so that we could explain our role providing specialist care focusing on orphans and explain how children suffered in particular ways in these circumstances.

We are hugely grateful to the BBC for this coverage. As many people realise, our of respect for privacy and desire to keep costs low mean that we do not really do Direct Mail, telephone appeals, street canvassing or run TV adverts. The benefit of this is that a very high proportion of the funds which we raise (including 100% of sponsorships) can go abroad. We also do not get involved in politics, which can get quick public attention, because the long term care we provide to our children requires us to maintain good relations with 124 governments where we care for the children through thick and thin. This low profile means most of our donations and support come from people who hear about us by word of mouth, because they find us online or have seen what we do in the field. We have grown in the UK by a factor of five over the last five years with this "low profile" approach because donors and sponsors enthuse about it. But coverage in the media is therefore especially important and we have seen a big surge in donations and sponsorships each time our work is covered.

We were a little concerned that the BBC's formal collaboration with the DEC, who provide short term emergency response, meant that the longer term needs of the children orphaned by the Earthquake in Haiti might not get coverage. There is no comparable organisation to the DEC for longer term aid. We have to say, however, that the neutrality and fairness with which our work, as the world's largest orphan charity, has been covered has been admirable. Thank you to the BBC for maintaining such high standards in news selection and broadcasting. And thank you to everyone who has learned about our work from the BBC and reacted by helping our work for Haiti's orphans, especially the hundreds of new child sponsors.