Hostage International needed as much as ever during Covid-19 pandemic
As lockdown eases, our President and Co-Founder Terry Waite CBE has highlighted the increased need for Hostage International as more former hostages and their families have reached out for support during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Speaking at a private online event to thank the Worshipful Company of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (Chartered Accountants’ Company) for their recent donation to Hostage International, he explained that the effects of Covid-19 have put a terrific strain on the charity with its income streams being hit coupled with an increase in beneficiaries affected by this time of uncertainty.
However, on a personal level Terry has described the lockdown as a ‘blessing in disguise’, giving him more time to speak with hostages, who find it particularly helpful to speak with someone who has been through similar experiences.
“Currently, this is where this lockdown, for me, has been a bit of a blessing because it has given me an opportunity to have a meeting [online] with three people every week who all want to talk and we now have an hour a week.”
Alongside Terry, Hostage International offers 18 expertly trained caseworkers – including some previously affected by hostage-taking – who are assigned beneficiaries to whom they provide dedicated support through regular (remote) interaction for as long as they need.
“When someone is assigned to a family, or a released hostage, we stay with them for as long as necessary and in some cases for many years,” explained Terry.
“I can think of one person who was released who said – as is so common after release – that he was fine and didn’t need help, but twelve months later the dreams, nightmares and flashbacks began to surface and they came to us and have made real progress.”
It was the families of hostages and former hostages contacting Terry for support that led him to set up the charity. As the number of cases grew, he felt he had to set up an enduring framework for support that was not dependent only on him.
“It is too important to be centred around an individual because when I die it would all die.” It was the need for that established framework that led to the formation of the charity.
He added: “We keep a low profile and it is very difficult for us… there are still so many people who are taken hostage whose names never appear in the press at all, you will never hear of it at all.
“Families suffer just as much as, if not more than, the hostages themselves and we are immensely grateful for all the help we can get.”
Terry said: “We must keep going, there is always going to be work for us to do.”
Reflecting on the easing of lockdown, Terry said: “I am obviously deeply sorry for those for whom it has been a great strain and whose livelihoods are threatened, but for myself it was a great experience and I hope that many other people can look back on it positively.”
Terry’s talk was delivered to members of the Chartered Accountants’ Company on 30 June 2020. Hostage International would like to thank them for their amazing support and for their ongoing interest in our cause.
If you would like to donate, please do so here.