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Press Release

18 January 2005 6th Magh, Nanakshahi

UNITED SIKHS in Thailand, over a week now, providing medical assistance and counseling to tsunami victims

January 13th, Kamala, Phuket: A UNITED SIKHS team, including four volunteers from Chicago, USA, had flown to Bangkok recently to commence the Tsunami relief operation here. A team of 18 volunteers, including 13 Local Thailand Sikhs, visited Gurudwara Siri Guru Gobind Singh Sabha, Phuket before starting the GHANIAN relief operation to ask for blessings in their community service efforts.

The UNITED SIKHS volunteers were introduced to the Thai Army before the relief work started who would also engage in the relief effort. This team of army officials, Thai Sikhs (Bangkok, Phuket) and UNITED SIKHS banded together and loaded up supplies for the relief effort and headed directly towards one of the worst hit areas of the west coast of Phuket called Kamala.

Photo 1
Photograph 1. UNITED SIKHS and "Me Tha Thum" volunteers in Kamala camp site.

The Volunteers

Amarjit Kaur, head UNITED SIKHS - Thailand, translated the introduction of General Thun Shi and Sr. Colonel Kanwali Pinmanee to our American volunteers. She is looking after the logistics that is required in this relief operation.

Jasvir Kaur, lead of UNITED SIKHS Tsunami relief team said, "The hospitality of the Thai Sikhs as well as the Thai people is extremely kind". She further added, "Thai people were overcome with joy and love that people from America came to help them".

Sardool Singh, 75, who is founder of the organization "Me Tha Thum", which mean "Kind-Hearted" is affiliated with Thailand Army for humanitarian work in area struck by disaster. They run orphanages and schools for orphan children in Thailand.

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Photograph 2. Jasvir Kaur and Thai Sikhs distributing food to victims in Kamala, Thailand.

UNITED SIKHS and "Me Tha Thum" are collaborating in a joint effort to provide relief to the victims along the west coast of Thailand. In Kamala, volunteers distributed water bottles, blankets, toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, and rice. While servicing the people, volunteers from "Me Tha Thum" continued singing the Thai national anthem and other songs to instill pride and hope, hold prayers, give out flowers to the people as a gesture of optimism.

UNITED SIKHS volunteers walked in the vicinity to provide medical assistance where families were lost, homes engulfed, and local businesses destroyed. Since this was an area frequented by tourists, the cleanup and recovery process was quickly underway to bring business to the area.

Chronology of Events

14th January, Krabi: UNITED SIKHS team along with "Me Tha Thum" and Thai Sikhs went to 2 provinces of Krabi where the victims from the Island of Phi Phi were gathered. There, campsites were set up for these people and assistance provided to the victims. Phi Phi was one of the worst struck places in Thailand with many victims in need of help.

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Photograph 3. Dr. Baljinder Singh and Inder Kaur with a patient in Krabi, Thailand.

UNITED SIKHS set up a table where medical aid was given to the many victims. Drs. Baljinder Singh, Sagina Kaur and Jasvir Kaur manned the table and provided medical assistance to over 100 people, most of whom were women and children. Inder Kaur, a UNITED SIKHS volunteer from Chicago, worked with the Bangkok Sikhs to prepare and distribute langar at a location across the street. Thai Sikhs assisted in reducing the language barrier by translating Thai-to-English. "Most of the victims' complaints were chronic but plenty are related to Tsunami", said Dr. Baljinder Singh, Chicago.

15th–19th January, Krabi: UNITED SIKHS volunteers, along with three local Thai psychologists who help with the translation, were visiting the campsites set up for Phi Phi victims every day from 9am to 4pm. Over 60 patients were provided counseling and medical treatments from UNITED SIKHS relief team each day.

While doctors treated the patients, Jasvir Kaur and Inder Kaur provided counseling to women and help kids in playing games. "Kids are too young to realize what had happened to them, but they wanted to play in the pile of clothes", said Inder Kaur.

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Photograph 4. Inder Kaur with the kids from Phi Phi area in Krabi, Thailand.

On the 19th UNITED SIKHS volunteers are joining Sardool Singh of "Me Tha Thum" to participate in an interfaith ceremony in Khao Lak, one of the worst hit areas. The Governor of Thailand and many other high-ranking officials are attending the meeting in a show of solidarity and support to their people.

The Local Thai Organization "Hi Phi Phi" (www.hiphiphi.com) is also shown working with UNITED SIKHS volunteers showing our doctors and the Thai psychologist on their web site.


UNITED SIKHS will update you as we receive reports. For Relief Team updates see:
http://www.unitedsikhs.org/ghanaia/fieldreport.html


Please donate, even if you cannot give a lot. Your contribution will help victims directly.

http://www.unitedsikhs.org/reliefproject.html#donate

You may donate online by clicking above, or by cheque payable to UNITED SIKHS, and mail to a UNITED SIKHS regional office.


For more information on the GHANAIA tsunami project, e-mail us on:
contact@unitedsikhs.org


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.