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From the Field
Relief Workers' Report

GLOBAL SIKHS is an international relief effort to help the victims of the Tsunami in South East Asia. The mission is open to people from all races, religions and nationalities. The mission is a partnership between Sikh Naujawan Sabha Malaysia, a 41-year old Malaysian-based youth organization, UNITED SIKHS, an international non-profit human development NGO, and Waves of Mercy, a group of Langkawi-based sailors. Our mission is to assist the humanitarian relief operations in Aceh, Indonesia, in the most effective manner possible.

-- Back at HQ, former ASEAN Sec-Gen pays a visit
(Jan 12 - Report 3)
By Karamjit Singh

THE HQ of the Sikh Naujawan Sabha Malaysia (Malaysian Sikh Youth) in Kuala Lumpur remains a hive of activity with volunteers sorting food and marking boxes, manning the impressive Mission Aceh Command Centre and engaged in various meetings to check on progress and map out action plans.

A visitor will come away impressed with the energy levels and sense of purpose that is almost palpable. Everyone knows this is a long term operation and not just 'a strike while it’s hot' mission.

Indeed while you read this, the third ship sent to Aceh with supplies is on its way back to Langkawi, an Island located on the north western shores of Malaysia. This ship will be quickly filled up with supplies already waiting for it (the Aceh team asked specifically for baby food, diapers and dry fish).

This will be sent off again to Aceh where the other two ships have now set up temporary camp at a city called Sabang on Weh Island situated one hours sailing from Banda Aceh.

The relief team has distributed food and medicine to the needy on Sabang where some 5,000 refugees have gone to in search of assistance.

The GLOBAL SIKHS team in Aceh is now in discussion over the next course of action. The situation on the ground is extremely fluid and the relief mission is working hard to identify which is the area they are most needed.

Former Asean Sec-Gen

Back at mission control in Sabha House, Tan Sri Ajit Singh, former secretary general of ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations) paid a visit last night.

'I did not expect to see such a hive of activity. Truly, you see the spirit of selfless seva (service) here,' he observed adding that the community was doing more than its share.

He also pointed out that to sustain such an effort, funding was key and advised the volunteers to bring people from the United Nations Development Fund (UNDP) and diplomats from the various embassies in Kuala Lumpur to the GLOBAL SIKHS operations centre so they could see for themselves the work going on. "You will be able to get financial support from them once they see what is going on," he said.

He also suggested for a project paper to be drawn up listing the specific requirements needed over a 6-month period. This will give a clearer picture of the commitment from Global Sikhs and the financial assistance they need to carry out their service.

Tan Sri Ajit, now chairman of a local public listed corporation, earlier attended the GLOBALS SIKHS’ 8.30pm daily briefing held at the Sabha House in Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur.

Speaking of commitment, already 30 over people have volunteered to go on the next mission. To ensure those who can contribute to the present needs in Aceh are sent, a two-day training will be conducted to pick the most suitable.

About the only grouse coming from the volunteers at Command Centre was the lack of hot 'chaa' in the late evenings for that quick 'lift-me-up' effect, only pai-ya di cha can give!

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