Another year has passed. It is a good time for reflection – if one find time in between the season evaluations, newsletters, annual reports, cleaning…out of a sudden the entire year must be wrapped up in one package! What a year it was. Trying to determine the highlights and set backs is not easy.
I appreciate the meetings with the incredible Bhutanese families that were evicted from their homeland, some tortured and imprisoned, and then lived seventeen years in refugee camps before being sent to a country they never heard of. I remember their hospitality and kindness, their gratefulness for being given the chance to start a new life, but also their despair for the loved ones that were left behind.
I remember the excitement at the birth of the FLARE network at the European Parliament in Brussels. The feeling of success and being invincible when we walked together with almost 100,000 others in Bari, Italy taking stand against the mafia.
I recall anger and frustration when a certain ambassador claimed that no- one is being tortured in Bangladesh. I remember the excitement of taking part of history when former prime minister Sheik Hasina entered the House of Lords after almost a year in captivity.
It hurts to think of the pain in the eyes of the families who lost everything, whose child committed suicide after a brutal gang rape and left with no assistance, the human rights defenders who risked their life to report about them, and the frustration I felt so many times that we could not do more to help them in their struggle!
But I can also smile looking back on how 50 children, newly arrived from conflict zones all over the world, were singing and jumping up and down of excitement to meet Sinterklaas and receive their presents!
2008 was the year of survival for GHRD. It was a constant battle to continue achieving results, with no resources. 2009 is the year where we finally have the opportunity to grow, expand our networks and strengthen our capacities.
The year of 2009 will be an important one in GHRDs history. I want to do more, do better. There is enough to do. I am looking forward to share it with you!