Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) leaders recently met to assess the needs among members and the community at large in the Caribbean. Many residents are still trying to restore their lives after being hit by hurricanes or natural disasters in recent years. ADRA Board members from throughout the more than 25 islands comprising the Caribbean Union Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church met to discuss receiving endorsements from top government leaders in the English-speaking Caribbean region.
“God has placed us in the hands of humanity to be an agent of change and to give hope and a future promise to all whom we serve,” Alexander Isaacs, ADRA Caribbean Union director, said.
ADRA has drawn significant national attention and received governmental affirmation for its ambitious campaign in Dominica. There, it launched projects focused on long-term sustainability in collaboration with ADRA United Kingdom and local community partners, Isaacs reported.
The Honorable Roosevelt Skerrit, prime minister of Dominica, praised the work of ADRA in leading in recovery efforts throughout the island.
“In recent times, we’ve been affected by multiple natural events, and ADRA has been one of the first groups who really has come forward to be part of our rebuilding efforts,” Skerrit said. “ADRA has done a remarkable job. Thank you very much for all your support, your help. I have no doubt that ADRA has spent the money wisely, as you would’ve seen on display the reactions of the beneficiaries and on the ground in Dominica.”
The Caribbean is gearing up for an Atlantic hurricane season, which starts June 1, Isaacs said. Several families on the island of Dominica had been living in temporary shelter on their property after Hurricane Maria destroyed theirs and hundreds of other homes and buildings in 2017. The category 5 hurricane killed dozens of people, damaged roads and bridges, and left residents with harsh living conditions. ADRA has been able to move vulnerable families into better dwellings, giving residents security, comfort, and a better way of life, Isaacs said. Hurricane Maria also caused severe damage to other islands throughout the Caribbean Union, and ADRA mobilized relief efforts to assist the thousands of families affected by it.
“ADRA’s approach to development has long been partnership-based. Rather than funneling resources toward hit-and-run relief projects, ADRA focuses on empowering the local community,” Isaacs said. “When it enters a region, ADRA gives community partners the tools and resources they need to improve their own living standards and provide economic independence and dignity.”
Local ADRA directors reported on the funds channeled to assist in the transportation needs of migrant Hispanic families in Tobago, while in most of the territories ADRA continues to serve by offering support to homeless individuals, providing for hurting families, supporting back-to-school initiatives, and working with local church community services departments to relieve the needs of affected individuals.
“We want to strengthen our organization to better position ourselves to take on the development role,” Isaacs added.
Leaders celebrated the success achieved in having ADRA registered in most of the islands of the Caribbean Union and voted to enroll in a grant-writing initiative to connect with beneficiary partners and other stakeholders who would want to support the ministry of ADRA.
“Securing sustained funding opportunities, broadening communications and marketing opportunities, and further developing new and relevant thematic areas of concentration are a number of things that ADRA will continue to pursue moving forward,” said Kern Tobias, chairman of the ADRA Caribbean Union Board. He also serves as the president of the Caribbean Union Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
Tobias affirmed the collaboration and integrity of ADRA Dominica, which continues to access funding from its European partner in building homes for people. “They represent an international organization, and, because of their accountability and transparency, they have been able to maintain the integrity of their partner,” Tobias said.
ADRA Dominica, through its local director Priscilla Prevost, reported on the recent successful visit of their ADRA United Kingdom partner to the island in May.
Leaders agreed on the need to have a national emergency plan across the territory and underscored the urgent need for territories to prepare for hurricane season.
ADRA is officially recognized in many of the islands of the Caribbean as a respectable humanitarian organization sharing the love of Jesus in communities. ADRA is a global humanitarian agency that delivers relief and development to individuals in more than 107 countries.