Thursday, 14th April 2005
Vasakhi with Tsunami Survivors in Navaladdy
Batticaloa, Sri Lanka
The UNITED SIKHS team in Sri Lanka has been celebrating Vasakhi with the Tsunami affected people in the village of Navaladdy, Batticaloa, by distributing sweets and playing fireworks with the children in the camps.
'The fireworks did the trick and the people from the camp wanted to know what Vasakhi meant.' Said Vickram Singh, who has been busy explaining the significance of Vasakhi and about Sikhs and Sikhi.
The fifth team of counselors from the US are due to arrive on the 24th of April as part of an ongoing pscycho-sosio work that UNITED SIKHS has undertaken with MHOP, a New York based group of psychiatrists and psychologists. Vickram Singh who is also a trained counsellor has been busy procuring and supplying basic daily needs like soap, cooking oil etc for the families in the camp. UNITED SIKHS has also embarked on procuring fishing nets as this is the prawn fishing season and a fisherman could earn up to 1000 rupees a day and the season will continue for a further 2 months. Though funds have not been available to supply these fishermen with boats, wading into the sea, prawn fishing can be carried out using nets. Prawn fishing also generates a higher income than general fishing and the cash that can be generated over the next 2 months will help the families buy household items when they are relocated to more permanent housing.
The counselling sessions which have been ongoing since February have been very effective and have been welcomed by the survivors. It has been especially effective amongst the children, who have started to share their experiences more openly. The children and adults have started to smile a bit more, are interacting better with other families and have started to organise their lives.
Vickram Singh also teaches English to the younger children during lulls in his busy schedule. Jagdev Singh from UK will join Vickram and the rest of the team tomorrow.
Harvinder Singh with Navalady kids.
Navalady kids having fun.