Local NGO Is There Not a Cause celebrates 20 years

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

In this 2019 file photo, children smile at the Is There Not A Cause (ITNAC) educational programme for Venezuelan children orientation at Western Main Road and Calcutta Street, St James.

Locally-grown international NGO Is There Not a Cause celebrated 20 years of bringing relief, service, and development to the vulnerable and underprivileged locally, regionally and internationally.

The occasion was marked on Sunday at the Space on Western Main Road, St James.

Founder Avonelle Hector-Joseph told Newsday the organisation has grown from strength, providing outreach and support to TT and the region, especially over the past two years.

“Most organisations downsized, but we rose to the occasion,” Hector-Joseph said. “In 2020 alone we did 6,000 hampers and more than 2,000 meals. We bought a mobile food truck that we are using as our mobile kitchen, and while we could not be physically in other countries, we sent money to our partners so they could contribute.”

The NGO, founded in 2002, has been involved in several relief initiatives in the aftermath of Hurricanes Ivan, Katrina, Rita and Dean, the 2010 Haiti earthquake, as well as flooding in Trinidad and Tobago.

It also supported initiatives in several countries including Venezuela, Zambia, Peru, Haiti, Guyana, and Kenya.

Hector-Joseph said it is continuing its efforts as home as well as internationally, as an indigenous NGO with a wide international reach.

“Twenty years is a big thing. We work very fast and we take on a lot,” she said. “When we do our archiving and we look back at what we have accomplished – not just in TT but in the Caribbean and internationally – as far as we know, we are the largest NGO entity with an international reach.”

“There are the bigger organisations like Habitat for Humanity and Red Cross, but those are international agencies with a local branch. We are indigenous to here and we have spanned the globe.”

Minister of Social Development Donna Cox said the ITNAC standard is one other NGOs should emulate.

“They have walked the talk,” she said. “It is not just about talking – they are actually out there.”

Cox said that in many occasions ITNAC had acted as first responders to disaster situations in TT and assisted state agencies in getting help to where it was needed most.

“This is what we want. This is the kind of public, private and NGO partnership that we are hoping for. We are calling on all faith-based, civil-society organisations and NGOs to come together and help the vulnerable in our society.

“The Government can’t do it alone. The ministry can’t do it alone.

“We all have to work together as a team, and that is how we will be able to achieve our goals.”