People in Need's work over the past 30 years

Published: Jun 3, 2022 Reading time: 5 minutes
People in Need's work over the past 30 years
© PIN Archive

This year, People in Need (PIN) celebrates its 30th anniversary. Established in 1992 by Czech war correspondents Šimon Pánek and Jaromír Štětina, PIN has worked hard to empower vulnerable communities around the world and right here in the Czech Republic.

To celebrate our three decades, we at PIN are excited to announce the launch of our new timeline microsite. This website allows our readers to scroll back in time, exploring PIN’s journey alongside the country’s rapid transition from Czechoslovakia to the modern-day Czech Republic.

While we invite you to explore our timeline at your own pace, our microsite is only available in the Czech language at the moment. Below, we’ve compiled highlights from PIN’s humanitarian and development work over the past 30 years to accompany our Czech site. Check them out.

From reporting to supporting

In May 1992, just seven months before the dissolution of Czechoslovakia, a group of journalists working for the country’s oldest daily newspaper, Lidové noviny, formed a volunteer group in their staff kitchen. Dissatisfied with reporting on global crises, these reporters began imagining a group dedicated not only to press coverage but also to providing humanitarian aid. Led by Jaromír Štětina and joined by our current executive director Šimon Pánek, the group founded “Epicentrum”, PIN’s predecessor.

Celebrating activists around the world

PIN presented the first Homo Homini Award in 1993, which celebrates significant personal contributions to the defense of human rights. In response to the escalating crisis in Chechnya, PIN awarded the first Homo Homini to Russian human rights activist and politician Sergei Kovalev for his role in mobilizing public opinion against the war.

Supporting refugees in and around Kosovo

In 1998, PIN, responding to escalating violence and ethnic cleansing in the region, sent its first convoy of humanitarian aid to Kosovo. The following year, eleven more trucks made their way to refugees in Montenegro. At the same time, food and hygiene supplies were sent to Macedonia’s largest camp, housing more than 40,000 displaced people from Kosovo. Back in the war-torn province, PIN deployed an extensive program to repair homes destroyed in the conflict and opened temporary centers hosting internally displaced families.

A permanent mission in Afghanistan

While PIN began delivering medical supplies to Afghanistan as early as 2001, we established a permanent mission there in 2002. Beginning with food, education support, and refugee aid, Afghanistan remains one of PIN’s top priorities to this very day.

Streamlining aid with help from PIN’s Club of Friends

People in Need established the Club of Friends in 2003. At the outbreak of a war or natural disaster, time is a critical resource. Collecting donations through regular contributions allows PIN to react immediately, providing aid when it’s most critical. Become a member of our Club of Friends.

The right to education abroad

In 2004, PIN opened its first school in Africa. Beginning in southern Ethiopia, this initiative is focused on making education accessible to those most vulnerable, including young girls and children with disabilities. Since launching this program, PIN has built 20 schools throughout the region, focusing on Ethiopia and Zambia. Learn more about our schools in Africa.

The right to education at home

PIN continues to support education, strengthening academic programs right here in the Czech Republic. In 2010, PIN opened preschool clubs in nine Czech cities, preparing young learners from poor and socially disadvantaged families to begin school.

On the ground in Syria

With funding from the Club of Friends, PIN became one of the first organizations to provide support in Syria as a devastating war broke out in 2012. Operating on the ground, PIN supported local doctors and provided aid to Syrians who fled to Jordan.

Earthquake response in Nepal

In 2015, a devastating earthquake rocked Nepal. PIN announced the SOS collection and worked in the most affected areas. Beyond repairing homes and providing assistance to trade workers, PIN supported vulnerable communities with a focus on women impacted by the disaster.

Supporting vulnerable communities throughout the COVID-19 pandemic

As the novel coronavirus spread around the globe in 2020, PIN launched the SOS Česko collection. Designed to assist those most vulnerable during the pandemic, funds collected were used to support single mothers, socially disadvantaged communities, and more. Beyond the Czech Republic, PIN distributed hygiene kits to people in the DRC, Ethiopia, Mali, and many other places.

The first response in Ukraine

PIN had been supporting affected communities on both sides of the contact line in eastern Ukraine since 2014. When Russia launched a full-scale invasion in 2022, PIN expanded the assistance throughout Ukraine. Currently, PIN employs a team of 189 employees who are helping in 23 regions. In the east, north and south of Ukraine, PIN distributes critical humanitarian aid. In the west, PIN additionally distributes cash assistance for internally displaced people. Since the beginning of the invasion, PIN has collected more than 1.9 billion Czech crowns (approx. 76 million euros) thanks to the Ukraine Emergency Appeal. These donations are used to secure assistance for victims of the war.

Moving into a new decade

Reflecting on 30 years of PIN, we will continue providing humanitarian aid and human rights support to those who need it most. As we enter a new decade, we’d like to mark the occasion by introducing a new visual identity for PIN – our new logo is crisp, easy to identify, and simple to replicate. Explore the future of PIN:

Author: Anna Ritchie