The ESA Humanitarian Relief Fund (HRF) aims to help people in distress by raising charitable donations for relief projects in many countries. Your participation is much needed!

What HRF does

The ESA Humanitarian Relief Fund was previously known as the Natural Disaster Fund. In 2009 the name and objectives of the fund were amended to allow  to support a broader scope of relief projects encouraging auto sufficiency, like building schools, supporting educational programmes, hospitals or housing projects, while maintaining the initial objective of providing immediate and direct funds to victims of natural disasters. The ESA Humanitarian Relief Fund is not part of the corporate organisation but is an initiative taken by ESA employees. The fund was founded in 1979 and is affiliated with the Social, Sport and Cultural Committee (SSCC) in ESTEC.


One of the great benefits of participating to this ESA-wide initiative is that your contribution will not be anonymously left on the big pile of the larger charitable organisations. The ESA HRF has a committee of about ten ESA employees who have built long lasting relationships with small-scale local projects that provide good visibility and feedback. The donations for natural disasters are granted to well-established relief organisations.

Sustainability and autonomy

We ensure that support to projects is sustainable and that autonomy of the affected groups is strongly encouraged. For instance, funds providing for medical equipment were committed last year to a small field hospital in Uganda, only once a maintenance contract and the associated budget was planned for.

Review and follow-up

Donations to larger organisations are made if a specific project can be associated with available funds. In this way, it is possible for the organisation to report back to the committee and explain how the money was used. Such reports are published in our newsletters to explain how contributors' donations were spent. Some of the well-known organisations that have received donations can be found in our Humanitarian Organisations list. (click on HRF contacts at top of page)

The  secondary School in Guatemala is in operation

Photo of pupils and teacher in front of the first classroom.

After some initial problems to acquire second hand desks and chairs for the students the school  (building co financed by the HRF) has started classes. These minor start-up difficulties may impress on the students the need to care for this facility and appreciate the opportunities which this school will provide for them.