Archive for the ‘Sikh Aid’ Category.

Critical update on Federal Government disaster assistance for Irene

09/01/2011: Critical update on Federal Government disaster assistance for Irene

Washington DC:  Critical update on Federal Government disaster assistance for Irene. Yesterday, President Obama issued a Major Disaster Declaration for damage resulting from Hurricane Irene.  These programs offer grants and loans to individuals and loans to businesses. Continue reading ‘Critical update on Federal Government disaster assistance for Irene’ »

Hurricane Irene Update from NYC VOAD

1. Approved Operational Transition Statement- American Red Cross

This is a statement issued by the American Red Cross of Greater New York containing operational information agreed upon between the American Red Cross and the New York City Office of Emergency Management regarding Coastal Storm Plan ongoing operations: Continue reading ‘Hurricane Irene Update from NYC VOAD’ »

A Hope at a time – Note from Nairobi

Children at Africa Hope Center performing in the Activity Session with the UNITED SIKHS Team

Gurvinder Singh, UNITED SIKHS Director from Texas, USA, recalls the famous lines of Nida Fazli, an Urdu poet from India, “Ghar se Masjid hai bahut door, chalo yun kar lein, Kisi rotey huey bachhey ko hansaya jaaye” (The Prayer Hall is a long distance from home, let us instead bring laughter to a child in tears). This line summed up his experience with the volunteers from various grassroots organizations working for the children of Kenya. When you help a child, divinity is right there.

The UNITED SIKHS team from USA was at Africa Hope Center on January 13, 2010. The Africa Hope Center Children’s Home is located in Kayole, Eastland of the city of Nairobi, Kenya, East Africa. The center opened its doors in January 2005 with 5 AIDS affected orphan children. This number has grown to 107 today including boys and girls ranging in age from 4 to 18 years. The center provides basic necessities of life namely food, clothing, and shelter, and helps the children overcome the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS through counseling programs. Africa Hope Center also ensures that the children get the best education given the available resources. The average cost per child is $100 per month.

Children at the Africa Hope Center, Nairobi

Jaswinder Kaur, UNITED SIKHS Kenya Director has been involved with the Centre since inception. The center is in the process of constructing its own premises. The facility, once completed, will be a center of excellence with education center, hostels, computer laboratories, and a vocational training center. The entire project is set to cost KSH 40 Million (about USD 500,000). The first phase (costing approximately USD 120,000) is under construction, supported by UNITED SIKHS. The 5 children currently sponsored by UNITED SIKHS spent some time with our team and we will share what they had to say in a later note. The team also engaged all the children at the center in activities conveying the message of hope and Chardi Kala.

New Africa Hope Center Building under Construction, supported by UNITED SIKHS Kenya

Children are the future of the world, clichéd, but true. In our own small ways we can do a lot to shape the future – volunteer or donate for grassroots projects for helping children in our own communities, nationally, or internationally. According to Analysts, despite the Millennium Development Goals and International Aid flowing into Africa, the major reasons that Africa continues to lag in development are: corruption, unfair trade practices and policies on the part of developed countries, and the lack of strict monitoring and non-involvement of beneficiary communities in donor-funded development projects. As individuals, we may not have much direct control on the first two factors, but the answer to the third issue is organizations like UNITED SIKHS that work with local communities, involve them, and are transparent (with negligible overheads). Sounds like democracy? It sure is at work with UNITED SIKHS!

United Sikhs Directors in Africa: Joshua’s message from Rusinga

Human stories the world over are the same – the triumph of faith in the divine in all of us. United Sikhs Directors are in Kenya and narrate their impressions from interacting with the local communities.

The first in the series is a touching story of someone who would like to share the gift of vision with his community in Rusinga:

UNITED SIKHS Team traveling to Rusinga island

Rusinga Island in the Nyanza District of Kenya is in Lake Victoria – the second largest lake in the world in terms of surface area after Lake Superior (USA). The Island is less than 100 km south of the Equator. Its temperate climate makes it a viable destination for tourists all the year round. There is a causeway connecting the island with the mainland. One can drive all the way from Nairobi or come through Kisumu cross by ferry from Lwanda (Naya).

Joshua was visually impaired in 1999 due to cataract. He learnt to live with it till Jaswinder kaur, Director, United Sikhs Kenya met him in 2008. She was on one of her campaigns to assist in medical treatment for people from remote areas who could either not afford it or went without it simply because Medical facilities do not exist in or near their communities. She brought him along with many others from the community to Nairobi for eye surgery. They got their vision back and today, Joshua is a happy man.

Joshua Oyugi in Rusinga on donated land with Jaswinder Kaur and Gurvinder Singh


He can see again and how – he sees a small clinic in his community for which he has donated a piece of land to UNITED SIKHS. He envisions the makeshift school near his land to have a better structure and an ambience where children can learn and grow to be proud citizens. He would like to see his community share in the mainstream economy starting with the basic benefits that they deserve.

Director of UNITED SIKHS from New York, Hardayal Singh mentioned how small things like a chair or a book can light up a child’s face. The simple concept of lunchtime at school does not exist for many children because their parents can only afford one meal a day. The beauty of this Island and other tourist attractions in Mbita nearby are enthralling, but not so the lack of basic amenities for the communities that live here.

Primary School Children in Rusinga with UNITED SIKHS

There is a need for a mobile clinic to rush children who suffer from snake bites to the nearest hospital – locals narrated instances of Python, Alligator, and Hippo attacks.

Dawn is not far though. Our team has had the opportunity to spend some time with the locals and other volunteer organizations that work in these areas. Volunteers work with local leaders without consideration of race/religion/country or any other affiliations. Together, we will achieve Joshua’s vision – for children and communities everywhere.

Diary entry of a UK Volunteer in Chile

A few weeks ago UNITED SIKHS volunteers left London Heathrow Airport to help with humanitarian relief efforts in Chile. We have just received email below from volunteer Baljinder Kaur whose diary experience is blogged below.  Just days before leaving Baljinder was helping give hot meals (Langaar) at Heathrow airport when flights in UK and Europe were grounded by the Icelandic ash cloud.

It is with your support these humanitarian efforts can continue, please keep look out in coming days for more information and photos of work being carried out in Chile.

Hi all,

I`ve managed to find a hut/home which has internet access – and asked if I can use it in with the very few Spanish words we`ve learnt here from a young girl who teaches me Spanish.

We are very busy now with langaar and the distribution of the container- The container arrived on Sunday and we were really surprised with what Canadian UNITED SIKHS had packed! They packed almost everything we needed to start a langaar from scratch, for example they packed us matches, candles, UNITED SIKHS volunteer t-shirts. The amazing part of this is that these boxes in particular fell out of the container as soon as we opened the doors – otherwise there is no way we would have found them until much later.

The local ladies came yesterday to help peel the vegetables and prepare langaar and they will be coming again today – which is really good as we can cook more and they now also feel part of a community.

The distribution of food and clothes is going well – two of the volunteers take the food (cereal boxes, baby milk, rice, etc…) and drive to remote areas in a car. There is a lot to do here so we normally wake early in the morning and go to sleep very late at night.

The locals really enjoy us being here and are leaning alot about Sikhs. There is one local called Maximo who comes into the community centre where we have set up the langaar (and where we sleep) very drunk – he`s told us that something very bad happened to him and that’s why he now drinks – but he said since the earthquake-tsunami we (Sikhs) are now here so that’s something very good that has happened. However when he does come we try and feed him as much as possible and as each day goes by I actually think he comes less and less drunk – so perhaps us being here will change his life around as well.

Anyway I need to get back to the community centre – i have left both Gurpreets washing massive pots for tonight’s langaar.

I will most likely email next when get back to the UK.

Yours faithfully
Baljinder Kaur

Helping Haiti – South Loop husband and wife lend a hand

By MICAH MAIDENBERG

Editor

Baljinder Bathla learned of the earthquake that devastated Port-au-Prince, Haiti, while watching CNN in his South Loop townhouse the morning of Jan. 13, the day after the disaster struck the Caribbean nation.

As it happened, he and his wife, Sagina Hanjrah, both doctors, had been planning a trip in early 2010 to Ecuador to volunteer their medical skills in small village. But that trip had fallen through. So by the evening of the first day following the quake, as the extent of devastation was becoming clear, the husband and wife were discussing traveling to Haiti to pitch in. Continue reading ‘Helping Haiti – South Loop husband and wife lend a hand’ »

Exclusive Pictures from 2nd Camp in Barbancourt, Haiti

United Sikhs volunteers have continued the humanitarian relief work in Haiti.  Presented here are pictures from a camp held about 100 miles away from Port-au-Prince.  This camp was set up by Dharampal Sandhu, Tarlok Saggu and Raj Badwal and it served over 2000 people on daily basis. Continue reading ‘Exclusive Pictures from 2nd Camp in Barbancourt, Haiti’ »

Haiti Situation Unique, Stress Relief Participants

February 19, 2010 3:19 p.m. EST

Topics: disaster and accident, relief and aid organization, United States

Tejinder Singh – AHN Correspondent

Washington, DC, United States (AHN) – The unique nature of the situation posed by the 7.0 earthquake in Haiti was highlighted by representatives from major relief organizations, the U.S. State Department and journalists with first-hand experience in post-earthquake Haiti in an hour-long presentation at the National Press Club on Thursday..

Nan Buzard of the American Red Cross emphasized the tremendous gap between the difficulty of the operation on the ground and the strong desire of the world for things to immediately improve in Haiti.

Continue reading ‘Haiti Situation Unique, Stress Relief Participants’ »

Vicky Dhillon in Haiti – Press Coverage by South Asian Focus

Popular Brampton City Councillor and social activist Vicky Dhillon (centre) with Canadian Forces, medics and other volunteers from United Sikhs helping in Haiti relief efforts in Port au Prince.

City Councillor Vicky Dhillon is representing Brampton in Haiti, to encourage more groups and organization to come forward and help.

He is also helping United Sikhs there in its humanitarian aid effort.

Last week, during a city council meeting, Mayor Susan Fennell announced Dhillon was due to leave for Haiti.

Dhillon, who left over the weekend, will be in Haiti until Feb 22.

He is carrying 1,500 shirts, printed ‘Brampton Care Haiti’, lots of tooth-brushes, dry food, shoes, etc.

Fennell had also appealed to Bramptonians to donate summer clothes for our friends in need in Haiti.

“City of Brampton and the Sikhs have a strong and vibrant community and we want our Bramptonians to have an opportunity to assist Haiti once again to become a strong and vibrant community,” Dhillon said. Continue reading ‘Vicky Dhillon in Haiti – Press Coverage by South Asian Focus’ »

VICKY DHILLON REPRESENTING CITY OF BRAMPTON IN HAITI

  14th Feb 2010, Santo Domingo: UNITED SIKHS welcomes Councillor Vicky Dhillon from Brampton Ontario. He is on a sewa mission to serve the Haitian community that has suffered an incalculable loss.  We are humbled that people from all walks of life are here serving the Haitian community. A note that was emailed about him from his fan is attached below:

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VICKY DHILLON REPRESENTING CITY OF BRAMPTON IN HAITI Continue reading ‘VICKY DHILLON REPRESENTING CITY OF BRAMPTON IN HAITI’ »