A letter to our supporters and friends

18 Dec 2020

Hand in Hand Afghanistan trainer Zahra demonstrates handwashing techniques to members in March.

Dear friends of Hand in Hand,

Those of you who know me know I am not given to hyperbole. Sentiment and pathos aren’t really my thing. And yet, as I look back on 2020, I find myself overwhelmed by the generosity and steadfastness of Hand in Hand’s donors and partners. In this most challenging of years, a heartfelt thanks is in order.

To old friends who stuck by us or upped their support. To new friends who at a time of great personal uncertainty found room in their hearts for people living half a world away. When the world came to a standstill you stood behind us.

Here’s just some of what you did:

  • As individuals, responded within 15 minutes – on a Sunday – to an email about our emergency response.
    As corporate donors, responded within 24 hours to pledge emergency funds.
  • Removed agreed restrictions on your funding, with an instruction to support our existing programme members whatever it took.
  • Bid in our first-ever online auction, and got your friends to do the same.
  • Went public with your stance not merely to maintain your charitable giving in 2020, but to increase it.
  • Enabled Hand in Hand trainers to distribute soap, sanitiser and face masks to nearly 100,000 poor and vulnerable people in hard-to-reach villages and camps.
  • Supported our programme members to create more than 250 jobs a day since June, even when a quarter of their small businesses had ground to a halt and more than 39 percent had used up all of their savings during lockdowns.

Last but not least I want to extend a huge thanks to our frontline colleagues in the network, who every single day displayed a humbling level of determination and bravery. “It’s a very heavy responsibility and we feel a sense of fear. If someone has the virus, it’s difficult,” said Hand in Hand Afghanistan trainer Zahra way back in March, as confusion reached its peak. “On the other hand, it’s a pleasure to help our people, who are really in need and live in poverty.”

As the virus continues to circulate across the globe, need and poverty will not be in short supply in 2021. An immense amount of work awaits us. Still, we can be proud of what we have achieved so far. And thanks to your outstanding generosity and our network colleagues’ prowess, we can go even further in 2021. For example, together, we plan to double our outreach year in Kenya, quadruple it in Tanzania and launch our first private-public partnership in Afghanistan.

But before then, have a restful, restorative holiday season and a happy, healthy new year.




Dorothea Arndt
CEO, Hand in Hand International