Community Voice

22 April 2005 9th Vaisakh (Samvat 537 Nanakshahi)

Last December's tsunami disaster killed more than 280,000 people. The coasts of India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Maldives, Malaysia, Myanmar and Somalia were devastated. Homes, schools, shops, bridges and roads were washed away.

The tsunami affected millions of lives and livelihoods. Thousands of people are still missing, and more than 1 million have been displaced. It is estimated that more than a third of those killed were children.

Incredible generosity

The enormity of the disaster was matched by a global outpouring of goodwill. UNITED SIKHS had asked for aid from donors across the globe to provide urgent humanitarian aid. Half way through the relief phase, UNITED SIKHS has spent the monies that have been received . meeting survivors' urgent needs for water, shelter and health care, as well as getting children back to school and providing protection for those who lost their parents.

A gigantic recovery effort

As the immediate phase of the disaster ends, UNITED SIKHS has begun working in close collaboration with the region's governments and communities that are neglected to plan for the medium and long term. This means responding to the opportunity to provide better schools and health care facilities, and work to improve children's prospects for the future.

For health services, UNITED SIKHS GHANAIA humanitarian relief projects' Executive head, Kuldip Singh, sees the need to focus on decentralized health centers. "The little health post at the community level takes very little money to set up but it responds to the immediate needs of the community," he said.

In the coming weeks and months, UNITED SIKHS will follow through on commitments and opportunities even after public attention has shifted away from the tsunami zone. A special focus will be providing support for long-term trauma recovery for children.

"The Tsunami GHANAIA project attracted hundreds of new volunteers to UNITED SIKHS' relief teams throughout this terrible crisis," noted Kuldip Singh.

Vice-President and Chief Financial Officer of UNITED SIKHS North America region, S. Jatinder Singh, said, "Our organization has a tremendous responsibility to carefully track and report on the programs and progress made possible by donor funding, and we will be doing so faithfully and transparently."

When you give to the UNITED SIKHS GHANAIA Fund, your donation provides tsunami survivors with nutritious food, basic supplies such as tents and hygiene items, basic healthcare and the support that they'll need to cope with the unbelievable trauma they've experienced.

UNITED SIKHS promises to use each donation dollar/ pound and rupee in the most efficient and effective manner as possible. Sincere efforts are undertaken to make sure that every donation made for this disaster goes to tsunami relief and recovery efforts.

In order to provide this timely relief, the UNITED SIKHS incurs direct support costs, which range from 6 to 8 percent of the total relief costs. These are costs that the UNITED SIKHS would not incur in an everyday working environment and include the coordination of mobilizing relief workers and relief supplies.

We at UNITED SIKHS are very confident that when-so-ever the call to the Guru's panth is made, stalwarts from the community rise to the occasion as they did this time to help in Sri Lanka, Campbell Bay, Thailand, Banda Aceh.

The work has been laborious and many times it seemed impossible. With your support, we pulled through and our volunteers are ready to serve again the next time a need arises. With your help, UNITED SIKHS stands shoulder to shoulder with global relief organisations and has done the Sikh community proud.

Development work continues from our base camps in Campbell Bay (the Indian government only allows Indian nationals on this island) and Batticaloa in Sri Lanka. UNITED SIKHS is recruiting volunteers for these two islands.

UNITED SIKHS has been approached by International NGOs working with us at the Tsunami relief sites to provide relief assistance to trauma survivors in Panjab and in Afghanistan. We cannot do this without the support of the Community. Your support is needed.


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Our Mission

To transform underprivileged and minority communities and individuals into informed and vibrant members of society through civic, educational and personal development programs, by fostering active participation in social and economic activity.

UNITED SIKHS is also an avenue for networking between like-minded organisations to establish and nurture meaningful projects and dialogues - whether social, cultural or political- to promote harmony, understanding and reciprocity in our villages, towns and cities.

UNITED SIKHS is a coalition of organisations and individuals, who share a common vision based on the belief that there is no greater endeavour than to serve, empower and uplift fellow beings. The core of our philosophy is an unwavering commitment to civic service and social progress on behalf of the common good.

Accordingly, UNITED SIKHS has sought to fulfil its mission not only by informing, educating and uplifting fellow beings but also by participating in cross-cultural and political exchanges to ensure that the promises and benefits of democracy are realized by all.

We at UNITED SIKHS believe that the development of enlightened and progressive societies can be made possible by socially conscious groups of people who make a commitment to develop and direct human potential. Our work, efforts and achievements stand as a testament to our faith in this vision.