CWU Annual Conference delivered a heartfelt message of congratulation to the union’s humanitarian aid charity, CWUHA, on its 20th birthday.
It is now almost two decades to the day when the then fledgling charity delivered its first convoy to war-torn Bosnia in May 1995. To mark the anniversary, delegates in Bournemouth unanimously backed a North West Regional Committee motion instructing the incoming NEC to congratulate the charity, appreciate its massive contribution and continue supporting its initiatives.
Over the past 20 years CWUHA has:
- Carried out over 40 humanitarian aid missions to the poorest countries in Eastern Europe
- Built a special centre for street children in Moldova and a school in Africa
- Renovated foster & adoption centres for disabled children and transformed conditions in the formerly grim institutions where such children were previously abandoned far from the public gaze
- Helped Syrian refugees, street children in Mongolia and earthquake victims in India and Pakistan
- Forged a partnership with CWU Ireland which now plays an integral part in the running of the charity
- Secured the support of BT and Royal Mail
- Helped fund specialist operations and equipment for disabled and desperately ill children in the UK.
In its 20th anniversary year CWUHA will be carrying out two missions to Moldova, building an activity centre for disabled children, providing orphaned children with a holiday to remember and continuing with the development of the school in Africa.
In an emotional debate, CWUHA chair Carl Webb told Conference: “We try to deliver a smile and it’s amazing what we’ve achieved over the years – not just the tonnes and tonnes of aid, worth literally , millions of pounds, we’ve delivered but how we’ve really made a difference.”
Carl emotionally recounted how , the year after CWUHA delivered incubators to a maternity hospital in Moldova, a follow-up CWUHA convoy had been told the incubators had already saved 30 babies’ lives.
“I’ve never before or since seen 20 grown men and women actually bawling their eyes out,” Carl told Conference.
“We’ve achieved so much over the last 20 years with your support…thank you for everything you’ve done.”
Speakers included a number of those who have taken part in convoys over the years, all of whom told of their pride in being part of an organisation that has made a tangible difference to the lives of many thousands of seriously disadvantaged children.
“CWUHA epitomises what trade unions are all about,” said one speaker – and that theme was developed further by deputy general secretary Andy Kerr in his response to the motion on behalf of the Executive.
“To everybody who has been involved in CWUHA , I’d like to congratulate every single one of you for everything you’ve done,” he said.
“CWUHA is a great organisation and a credit to those people who have been running it for a large number of years. What makes it so special is that this work is done by ordinary members. Head office provides support in whatever way it can, but the main people behind CWUHA are ordinary members of this union. The work they put in says something about this union which I think we can all be very proud of.”
Andy revealed that later this year he will be visiting the charity’s anniversary project in Moldova, along with a senior BT manager “to understand more what you are doing for disabled kids in Moldova”. BT is already a major sponsor of the project , having recently donated £10,000 towards CWUHA’s £60,000 appeal.
A major feature on CWUHA’s 20 years of achievement will appear in the May/June issue of Voice.