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Fear of Needles—Global Sikhs Vaccination Work in Aceh
Wednesday, 9 March 2005
By Darshan Kaur
KUALA LUMPUR: Teachers should not notify their students of an in-house vaccination project in advance, lest the kids have enough time to escape! The GLOBAL SIKHS-WAVES OF MERCY volunteers learnt this the hard way.
Ninety pupils from Sabang, Pulau Weh – where the Malaysian-based humanitarian relief team to Aceh, Indonesia, is stationed at – did just that when they heard a medical team will be coming to their school to give them injections.
Volunteer nurse, Diny Vandeloo said when the children were rounded-up for an immunization program, the teachers realized some of the kids were missing.
“Initially, we thought they were around the premises
but after giving measles shots to all the pupils, we found out that some of them had run away once they saw us arriving at their school.”
Diny – who spent almost a month in Sabang, Pulau Weh – was part of the GLOBAL SIKHS-WAVES of MERCY volunteers, the only aid agency operating on the island just north of Banda Aceh.
She said that Team Three of the Global Sikhs-Waves of Mercy embarked on a project initiated by the United Nations (UN) and the Government of Indonesia to vaccinate all the children on the island who are between 6 months to 15-years-old. “We collected the injections from the UN centre in Banda Aceh last month,” she said adding that a team of one doctor and three nurses went to some 15 Internally Displaced People Camps and about six schools to carry-out this project.
Diny added that the program was supported by the local Health Department.
“The Health Department prepared a name list and provided three staff members to assist us with the project. We successfully vaccinated 5,500 children in three weeks,” explained Diny, adding that if the Global Sikhs-Waves of Mercy worked alone they would have taken about six weeks.
She revealed that there are plans by the Global Sikhs-Waves of Mercy to work on a similar effort on the island such as giving Typhoid jabs to the locals.
“Based on data obtained from the local hospital, there are around 60 new cases of Typhoid on the island each year,” Diny added.
While not on their agenda, the latest GLOBAL SIKHS-WAVES OF MERCY team that left on March 07 (Monday) should probably chase after those ‘missing’ kids.
LATEST ON ACEH MISSION:
Team Six of the GLOBAL SIKHS-WAVES OF MERCY has reached Aceh, Indonesia, yesterday (March 08). The team, led by Abel from Sarawak, consists of 16 volunteers. This is Abel’s second stint. Six of the volunteers are from the Waves of Mercy, the Langkawi-based expatriate sailors.
In the team is Harminder Kaur, the volunteer who has been sharing her experiences on the Learning Zone. Her husband, Harcharanjit Singh, has just recently returned from his Aceh tour of duty. Back at Sabha House, the headquarters of Global Sikhs, Harcharanjit a.k.a Raja is now handling contingent management (all matters related to the team that is now in Aceh).
WATCH ntv7 THIS SATURDAY (AGAIN):
As some may have noticed, Malaysian private TV-station ntv7 has been running stories on the GLOBAL SIKHS-WAVES OF MERCY every week, for the last seven weeks now. This Saturday (March 12), they will probably feature the mission's Aceh humanitarian relief work again in its EDISI SIASAT programe (5pm-6pm).
On Monday, the TV crew were down at Sabha House, capturing the moments when volunteers were loading the trailer. The goods - including more copoies of the Quran and other Muslim religious items - went along with Team Six.
DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS
There have been a few changes in the line-up at the Command Centre of the Global Sikhs. Jagdev Singh is now the Global Sikhs Director of Operations. He took over from Harvinder Singh. Some other key portfolios also saw some changes. The reason: managing a mission and carrying on with day-to-day life.
Global Sikhs-Waves of Mercy: Background
WHO WE ARE
GLOBAL SIKHS-WAVES OF MERCY is the name coined for the international relief effort to help the earthquake and Tsunami victims in Aceh, Indonesia. It is an informal grouping of Sikh and non-Sikh organisations worldwide that want to assist in the relief mission. While the mission platform carries the name Sikh, it is open to people from all races, religions and nationalities. We have, both on the mission and at the headquarters level, volunteers from various races, religions and nationalities.
The mission is spearheaded by Sikh Naujawan Sabha Malaysia (Malaysian Sikh Youth), a Malaysian-based 41-year old youth organisation. This is a registered NGO in Malaysia and has performed various community projects in Malaysia and the Asia Pacific region. Website: www.snsm.org.my
Its key operational partner is the WAVES OF MERCY, a group of Langkawi-based sailors who have rallied together to make the ships available to carry forward the mission. It is led by Captain Hugo Crawford. Some of the sailors have lost their boats in the tsunami incident. Website: www.wavesofmercy.com
Its main international partner is the UNITED SIKHS, an international NGO with chapters in Europe, America and Asia. It has sent five of its members to Kuala Lumpur for the relief work in Aceh. In separate missions, UNITED SIKHS have also sent their members to Sri Lanka, India and Thailand. Website: www.unitedsikhs.org
- Sikh Council on Religion and Education (SCORE), Washington, USA
- Guru Gobind Singh Foundation (GGSF), Washington, USA www.ggsf.org
- Gurmat Learning Zone. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/learning-zone/
- The Association of Sikh Physicians for Involvement, Response and Engagement (ASPIRE), USA
- Naujawan Sabha Melbourne, Australia
- Dya Singh World of Music
Our mission is to assist in the humanitarian relief operations in Aceh, Indonesia, in the most effective manner as possible. Funds raised and assistance rendered will go towards achieving the objective.
24-HOUR COMMAND CENTRE
GLOBAL SIKHS operates a round-the-clock control and command centre n Kuala Lumpur. Tel: ++ 603 - 2283 3713
||Sikh Naujawan Sabha Malaysia - Tsunami Relief
||Bangsar Baru Branch
||66, 68 & 70, Jalan Maarof, Bangsar Baru, 59000 Kuala Lumpur,Malaysia.