The year started with a shock for us. Thomas Öggl, one of our volunteers from Schlanders, Italy, had serious complications after having his appendix removed and went through a long and painful period of recovery. After doing a summer internship in our Brixen office, he is now studying in Vienna.
In January Alessandra Degli Esposti started working in our Brixen office and from June she replaced Katya Waldboth, who left us unexpectedly.
Our board member Anne Delle Mulle had to step down due to personal reasons and was replaced by Bibi Niederkofler. In autumn Christina Kuppelwieser also stepped down because of personal reasons. She was not replaced by anyone. We thank both board members for their active involvement and are happy to have them both with us as members.
In April our President Benno Roeggla received 10.000 Euros and the ‘Preis der Menschlichkeit” (Prize for Humanity) from the Kiwanis Club in South Tyrol.
In spring of last year the situation for the people in Burma improved noticeably. Our initial idea was to set up activity inside Burma/Myanmar, but in the end we decided against this. We saw how, with the opening up of Burma, many other organizations suddenly stopped all activities along the border, in this way abandoning all the refugees there. Because many projects were being stopped or dramatically reduced, the need for help in the border area kept increasing. Therefore, we decided we would stay on the border as long as the refugees can not return to their home country. It will take a few years until this can happen, as the people need to have the necessary documents and must be guaranteed safety.
At the same time we noticed that people were more willing to donate for projects inside Burma, instead of for projects along the border. We needed to try even harder to make them understand that our work along the border was not yet finished. On top of this came the economic crisis in Europe and especially in Italy. It seemed that towards the end of 2012 we would have to stop or strongly reduce our activities.
Thanks to the hard work of our members, board and friends, as well as Mr. Leonhard von Pretz, we managed to stop this from happening. Our 10-year anniversary also had a big impact and many people were keen to show their solidarity with us and appreciation for our work over the years.