ReliefAid is an international humanitarian organisation with a vision of saving lives and alleviating suffering of people affected by armed conflict and natural disasters through independent and impartial humanitarian action.
Our work includes:
- accessing conflict affected countries including Syria, Ukraine, Gaza and Afghanistan in areas where few aid agencies are able or willing to operate
- providing life-saving aid, such as shelter materials (blankets, tarpaulins, cooking sets and children’s clothing), food and medical supplies to families in war zones and those affected by natural disasters who otherwise wouldn’t receive any assistance
- working directly on the ground, in the places aid is most needed and least accessible
- supporting children in their education, providing hope for the future
- mentoring the next generation of aid workers
- speaking out on behalf of the men, women and children whose voices are often silenced by conflict
ReliefAid’s actions are driven by the principle of independence and impartiality. Our life-saving humanitarian action is provided on the basis of need, irrespective of religious and political beliefs, race and gender.
ReliefAid relies solely on private donations. We do not receive any funding from governmental sources and are a registered charity with the New Zealand Charities Commission.
Why ReliefAid is effective
ReliefAid has the experience and networks to provide life-saving humanitarian assistance where it is most needed, in places where other aid organisations cannot or will not operate.
- ReliefAid has proven experience – we have successfully provided humanitarian assistance in conflict zones since 2015.
- We have proven experience in warzones and natural disasters – our staff have successfully delivered humanitarian assistance in Syria, Yemen, South Sudan, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Turkmenistan, Turkey and Ukraine.
- We have existing networks – we have the ability to immediately mobilise on-ground networks to reach those inaccessible to other aid organisations.
- Direct action – we are directly involved in the delivery of our humanitarian assistance overseeing all operations.
Why war zones?
Despite fewer wars being experienced globally an intensification of violence has lead to a larger number of people being displaced from their homes.
Over 100 million people are currently displaced due to conflict with civilian populations overwhelmingly paying the price.
Those displaced are often isolated, vulnerable and without the services required for basic life support.
Support from the international community has in some cases provided relief but needs greatly outstrip the support being provided.
Founder and Executive Director
Since leaving the corporate world behind 17+ years ago, Mike Seawright has been delivering humanitarian assistance to families living in the world’s conflict zones. He has provided medical aid in Iraq, Yemen, Sudan, South Sudan and Pakistan, economic development and energy projects in Afghanistan and most recently emergency humanitarian aid, leading multiple interventions in Syria, Afghanistan and Ukraine.
Frustrated that not enough was being done to help families affected by war and conflict Mike founded ReliefAid. With a simple vision of helping families who had no one else to turn to, ReliefAid has delivered life-saving aid to over 300,000 people in war-torn Syria, Afghanistan, and Ukraine, and they are not stopping there.
While his work surrounds him in war and conflict Mike counts himself lucky to bear witness to what he calls “the very best of humanity”. When not travelling to oversee ReliefAid’s international interventions he lives in Auckland with his family.
David has enjoyed two successful careers. Firstly, with Heinz Wattie where he spent 23 years rising to the position of CEO and Area Director of Heinz Wattie Australasia. His second career is still running and is primarily recognised for his contribution to NZ SME’s where he co-foundered The Icehouse in 2001 and has since contributed to both its learning products and services and its governance.
David has served in governance in publicly listed and private businesses. He holds an appointment as Adjunct Professor at the University of Waikato. Earlier David held several appointments at the University of Auckland. He has served several philanthropic undertakings whether as a Trustee or Advisor. Much of his contribution is in education.
In 2013 David was appointed an Officer of the NZ Order of Merit for his contribution to business and education.
Katie has 25 years of experience helping businesses with strategic and funding projects. She is a graduate of Oxford University and has held key leadership roles as a partner at national and global law firms based in New Zealand. Within her legal practice, she has a particular interest in working with New Zealand innovation businesses to develop bold ideas and solve complex problems.
Katie joined ReliefAid’s board to support the organisation’s growth and development. Katie is drawn to ReliefAid’s purpose and values and is driven to put her skills and experience to good use. She lives in Auckland with her children and dog, and has family spread throughout New Zealand and the UK.
Joanne is a financial and operational specialist having worked in New Zealand and abroad. She is driven to make a difference for families who, faced with war’s not of their making, have nowhere else to turn. She has daughters, Zoe and Ava and lives in Auckland.
Simon Foote KC
Board Member & Legal Advisor
Simon is a barrister practising international commercial and investment treaty arbitration and domestic commercial litigation and arbitration at Bankside Chambers, Auckland and Singapore. He is passionate about making a difference to innocent victims in dire situations as a result of war. He has two children, Charlotte and Barnaby and lives in Auckland.
Head of ReliefAid’s Satellite Office in Montreal, Canada.
Peter is an entrepreneur and businessman well known in his community of Montreal with a long history of supporting philanthropic missions in Canada as well as in a number of countries located in South America and Southeast Asia. His focus has always been to fulfill the basic humanitarian needs of underprivileged children but when the war in Ukraine started, Peter directed his help towards this region.
Determined to make a difference to families caught in this crossfire of war, Peter became a generous supporter of ReliefAid’s humanitarian work in Ukraine and most recently has supported the needs of a Children’s Oncology unit in a Kyiv hospital.
Peter will now head up ReliefAid’s office in Canada bringing to play the perfect blend of business savvy and human compassion.