Long-term aid for children in need
46’000 tsunami survivors on India’s Andaman and Nicobar islands suddenly found themselves without a roof over their heads in the aftermath. While in other regions aid organizations fell all over themselves, none were present in Port Blair. The Children’s charity ASED (Association pour le Soutien de l’Enfance en Détresse) travelled to the Andamans and to Tamil Nadu in early 2005, distributed school materials, mosquito nets and other necessities and got the fresh water supplies running again in six villages. Collections to finance sustainable aid are underway.
ASED also operates in Romania, Albania, Bolivia, Madagascar and northern India. In Hirlau, Romania, the charity established a day student education center to help integrate young people with minor handicaps in society. In Albania, ASED built several children’s homes to help the handicapped get reestablished. And in Vlöre, also in Albania, it built a college for special-needs children with the support of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and Switzerland’s “Haute Ecole Pédagogique Vaudoise”. Helping the poorest children in Madagascar to a primary school education is the focus of another ASED project.
Providing direct aid to more than 3’000 children in need, many without families or other means of support, ASED is one of the lesser-known aid organizations of its kind. It helps children to a better life where they live, regardless of creed or color. The charity provides emergency help, food, schooling, shelter and child care, financed by membership fees and donations. ASED is certified by the Swiss charities organization “ZEWO” and registered at “Swiss Solidarity”, the humanitarian fund-raising system of the Swiss media finance.
ASED was established in 1988 in Geneva by Jean-Luc Nicollier. The ten members of its committee are all volunteers and its honorary president is astronaut Claude Nicollier. Some 50 individuals currently work on charity projects. ASED intends to continue to provide aid in areas that may receive less media attention but need help nevertheless. “Help is no good unless the right needs are recognized at the right time”, says Jean-Luc Nicollier.