World Vision denies “aid for souls’ reports

PHUKET: Tim Costello, Chief Executive Officer of Christian aid group World Vision Australia, has rejected reports that the group has used tsunami donations and aid in an attempt to entice Thais to convert to Christianity.

World Vision has helped more than 50,000 tsunami-affected people, through food distribution and providing much-needed items including 300 boats, fishing gear for 2,449 families, and 4,848 school uniforms, among other things, he said, adding, “It has been a very successful emergency response.”

He said that the organization also worked toward filling social needs such as rebuilding houses and helping people to find work.

Mr Costello said he had “absolutely never heard” rumors that people from Baan Nam Khem and Koh Sireh could get a 30,000-baht loan from the organization provided that they attended church on Sunday.

“I don’t believe that’s true,” he said. “If it were true it would be completely against our fundamental principle. We believe in absolute non-discrimination [as regards] age and religion. Buddhist, Muslim or whatever – we treat everyone exactly the same.”

Mr Costello noted that there are Christian organizations that go to great lengths to gather souls, but added, “World Vision never tries to convert people.”

Phuket News

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