WHILE some people have doubts about whether donations to overseas aid organisations get to those in need, Ross and Heather Power of Port Campbell have none.
A two-week stint as aid volunteers in Cambodia left no doubt in their minds of the benefits of their donations to International Children’s Care (ICC) Australia.
During their stay, Mr Power, a farmer, helped build a new house for a separated mother with five young children while Mrs Power, a nurse, worked with a volunteer medical team that held clinics in remote villages in central Cambodia.
Mr Power said the experience had taught him that people did not have to have qualifications to help out.
“I’m not qualified as a builder but I had a go,” Mr Power said.
“I wanted to give to those in need while I could.”
Mr Power said the house he and other volunteers built, with the help of locals, was a primitive one but an improvement on the mother’s former abode that leaked when it rained.
The Powers decided to support the ICC after hearing a representative speak at a meeting of the Warrnambool Seventh Day Adventist Church in which they are involved
Mr Power said the trip convinced him that aid organisations had the knowledge to tackle many of the problems besetting the people he saw but needed more money to do so.
He and his wife were often approached by beggars when they were in Cambodia but they soon realised that with many of the scams operated by people posing as beggars, it was better to support aid organisations than to give to beggars.
Most of the aid organisations had locals involved who knew who those in genuine need were.
“There are a lot of non-government groups operating there and they are all helping in some way or another,” Mr Power said.
Some were teaching former prostitutes handicraft skills so they could earn a different livelihood that would give them more self-esteem, he said.
Mrs Power said the villages where she worked as part of a medical team relied on subsistence agriculture and she saw many children suffering from malnutrition.
The team, which also included two nurses from Portland, treated people for worms, rashes and scabies and gave multi-vitamin injections.