Emergency Aid for World’s Treasures


The devastation of war and natural disasters is felt long after the violence has subsided. HAND strongly supports organizations that offer refuge and help impacted communities rebuild in the wake of tragedy. Grant recipient, Global Heritage Fund (GHF), believes that heritage preservation is key to strengthening communities. The Bay Area organization works with people, organizations, and governments to protect treasured sites and artifacts in developing regions. Their Cultural Emergency Program (CEP) now specifically offers emergency relief to cultural sites affected by conflict and disaster.

CEP was launched in 2015, but it was at work long before that. What initially began informally in 2013, CEP now has set funding on hand to respond quickly to cultural assets at-risk. This can mean damage assessment, emergency stabilization, engaging experts on the ground, or even emergency evacuation. The program is a platform for donors to contribute to urgent intervention that targets sites in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.

Perhaps it isn't always clear why, during times of mass crisis, physical objects and structures should be a consideration. But aside from their historical value, GHF reminds us that the loss of these items is a loss of cultural identity. Through their rescue and restoration, communities are bolstered with confidence to tackle what lies ahead. With that in mind, we think GFH makes a compelling case for incorporating cultural asset relief into every humanitarian outreach effort.