A message from the President
On the morning of 10 March, 2010, World Vision was shaken by the news that six of our staff had been killed in a cruel attack in Oghi, Pakistan. Four days later, another staff member who was seriously injured in the attack died. That hour of brutality changed our world. A year later, we are still coming to terms with it.
The suffering of the survivors and the sense of loss felt by the families, friends and colleagues of those who were killed continues to be a vivid reality. Those who were injured have all been able to return to work, but the recovery from physical and psychological wounds continues for many.
Our brothers and sisters in Pakistan have shown great fortitude, and have expressed their thanks for the way the World Vision partnership prayed for them and contributed to the support of the Oghi staff. They redoubled their efforts, even though they quickly had to respond to severe floods and a wave of internally displaced people.
The decision that staff took to stay with World Vision after the deaths in Oghi, when it might have seemed easier to give up, is in the highest traditions of humanitarianism. Violent people seek to spread their culture of despair by snuffing out the flames of hope which good development work can ignite. Our Pakistani staff rejected this world view.
World Vision has been able to expand and deepen its programming with a growing focus on advocacy and the promotion of health among those least-able to get the services they need. I pray that this helps the children with whom we work to understand that faith and love are stronger motivations than hatred and aggression, and have better, more lasting outcomes.
We have learned our own lessons about staff safety, in Pakistan and worldwide. Once, conflicts were safer for humanitarian workers than for others, but that has not been true for some time. Our security specialists have led us to reform the way we work, helping us to recognise unnecessary risks and take steps to eliminate some of the dangers.
Working in difficult locations like Pakistan, however, can never be risk free. It will always require character and determination from our staff in the field. They could walk away, but do not, and that enables us to serve the children who cannot escape their situations on their own. These children need to know that they are remembered and loved, even though the world around them sometimes seems hostile and uncaring.
That determination from our Pakistani colleagues is part of the identity of World Vision. So is the willingness of 40,000 staff to pray for the families of individuals who paid the ultimate price for our vision – life in all its fullness, for every child.