GLOBAL SIKHS-WAVES OF MERCY (www.globalsikhs.org | www.snsm.org.my)
GLOBAL SIKHS on Malaysian TV
Dear Friends, GURFATEH
GLOBAL SIKHS-WAVES OF MERCY, the humanitarian aid relief mission to Aceh, Indonesia, has turned into a platform to project the Sikh image as humanitarians, progressive and dynamic people. Well, at least, that's the case in Malaysia.
The media coverage received thus far (in Malaysia, at least) has been good. It has allowed non-Sikhs in Malaysia to recast their Sikh friends and neighbours and colleagues as people doing a terrific job - reaching out to the ravaged villages in Aceh.
But the real victory is in the mission, while operating on the Sikh platform, truly turning into an international affair, going beyond the distinction of race, religion and nationality. The role played by the wonderful people from the WAVES OF MERCY -- the group of expat sailors based in Langkawi -- has simply been amazing.
Tomorrow (SATURDAY, Jan 29), local television station ntv7 is dedicating a one-hour programme to the efforts of the GLOBAL SIKHS-WAVES OF MERCY. The proggrame begins at 5pm.
For those in Malaysia, do catch it. Do us a favour: inform friends and relatives about it, as well.
The Sikh Naujawan Sabha Malaysia website at www.snsm.org.my has been receiving good hits. I must say, the SNSM, which is spearheading the mission here in Malaysia, has never seen so furious an update for its website ever since it came online.
The group managing it have even managed to secure an url (is that what it's called?, I'm a little blur here) www.globalsikhs.org.
Kudos to Tarminder Singh and team (including Tikki and his wife Stephanie). In the initial days of the mission (around the first week of January), these nice people could be seen huddling behind the computers till 1am or 2am. Occasionally, you can still find them there at those wee hours of the night.
Do check the website.
ACEH SCENE: PAROE : Jan 29
In Aceh a lot of work is going on. They second mission of 19 people, led by Sarawakian Maj (Rtd) Bangkong Salleh, are mostly in Paroe, the village where the GLOBAL SIKHS-WAVES OF MERCY were the first to spot after the Dec 26 tsunami. They have been busy cutting logs, clearing roads, digging trenches and treating those in need of medical assistance.
The team members are working their hearts out. "In the 8 years of my involvement in relief work, 've never seen people so committed," says Aris Mohamed Oziar, a psychologist who is part of the team.
The villagers have been cooperative (though, at times, they required a little coaxing to come out of their shell-shocked lives to lend a hand).
The scene is equally hectic in Sabang, Pulau Weh, an island just north of Banda Aceh. That's where the GLOBAL SIKHS-WAVES OF MERCY have set up their base. It is the only relief team n the island - handling about 11 camps of internally displace people.
Initially, the team left a skeleton crew of four peple here, diverting most of the manpower to Paroe. It was thought that Sabang and Pulau Weh were in a better condition that Paroe and its surrounding villages.
But a recent report from Dr Tikfu Gee, a medical officer who is heading the medical team on Mission II, paints a different picture. "The health of the people has deteriorated dramatically, mostly sufferign from skin diseases," he reported to the command centre in Kuala Lumpur (based in the headquarters of the SNSM).
Earlier this week, Dr Gee and team members visited one of the displaced people camps about an hour's drive from Sabang. "We are seeing an outbreak of malaria and scabies," he reported.
The command centre is preparing the necessary medicine to be sent to Aceh to replace the earlier consignments which is fast depleting.
Last week, as well, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), noting the presence of GLOABL SIKHS-WAVESOF MERCY on Pulau Weh, has requested it to take charge of the island for the distribution of certain medicine. As an initial task, it gave GLOBAL SIKHS team 1,000 doses of vaccines for measles.
"Even with three nurses, it will take us three full days to administer those doses," says Dr Gee.
But help is on its way. By yesterday (?), three nurses would have joined him. These ladies appeared at Sabha House last week, offering their assistance. They had heard of the GLOBAL SIKHS-WAVES OF MERCY and decided to join the team They are Bridget Hutchison (NZ), Rebecca Davey (Australia) and Diny Vandeloo (Holland). One of them had actually done soem relief work in Thailand.
The work continues. More reports will follow.
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.