As we enter the first weeks of the new calendar year, I reflect on what the apostle Paul wrote in Romans 12:21: “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” As we have for decades, World Vision, with its passionate people, like-minded partners, and devoted supporters will continue to serve the most vulnerable children, especially those who have been victims of exploitation and social injustice.
In a five-year anti-trafficking program that ended in June 2016, we educated some 240,000 community members in East Asia about the risk of trafficking. Every participating country had an increase in the number of people who sought information. We supported 17 bilateral or national policies, laws and national action plans fighting child trafficking. We helped more than 400 people who had been trafficked find their way back to a safe and healthy homecoming.
This is only a beginning. Our concerted efforts to fight trafficking continue, and will broaden to include other forms of violence against children.
Needs continue to grow. This region has the world’s highest concentration and frequency of natural disasters. In 2016, World Vision responded to 15 disasters in this region that affected more than 111 million people. With protracted, recurring crises in East Asia (for example, inter-communal fighting in Myanmar) alongside rapid onset natural disasters, one might grow weary.
But we must do our part. Our individual roles may seem small, and available resources may seem insufficient to meet these crises – both natural and manmade – head-on. But as field implementers, we are backed by the entire World Vision partnership (some 45,000 staff) with experts working in almost 100 countries, on topics ranging from urban water systems to mobile cash and infectious disease. We have decades of field research, project implementation and evidence on which we are building, and a growing number of partners both in and out of the trenches.
And when we consider all that, our shared vision of life in all its fullness for every child is much more clear, much more visible, much more in reach. In East Asia, our 265 development programs continue to serve close to 480,000 donor-sponsored children.
Even with limited resources, even in the face of evil and systemic injustice, and especially when disaster strikes, we must rise to the challenge and continue to do good. That is what God has called us to do.
Please join us on our journey this year.Dr. Beng Yeoh, Regional DirectorWorld Vision International - East Asia Office