Posts Tagged ‘Thailand’

Five Years On

Five years ago, on Boxing Day 2004, the tsunami that now bears the name of that day-after-Christmas holiday, took the lives of 230,000 people in a dozen Asian countries in a ferocious and tragic turn of natural events.The cataclysmic wave event was triggered by a 9.0 earthquake with an ocean epicenter off the coast of Sumatra

In a frightening and somewhat sickening coincidental twist, today’s news reports: A strong earthquake struck Indonesia on Saturday (Boxing Day) just before 6 P.M.  The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake, measuring 6.0 on the Richter scale, was centered in the Banda Sea region off the Tanimbar Islands. A tsunami warning was not issued by authorities, and there were no immediate reports of injury or serious damage.

Perhaps today would be the ideal time to schedule a volunteer vacation to help in community building in one (or more) of these recovered, rebuilt communities.

Spend just a day or many working in Thailand or Sri Lanka. North-by-Northeast does volunteer outreach in tsunami-hit Andaman villages in Khao Lok province of Thailand. You can teach English, helps at schools, beach clearing, mangrove reforestation, and other community-building activities.

i-to-i does coastal community volunteer work trips from 2-12 weeks in Sri Lanka. You’ll do beach revitalization and community teaching projects as well as helping with the seat turtle conservation project.

There are of course many other avenues to being of service in these and other communities recovering from natural disasters. None of us can ever prepare for something like this, and any community so hard hit would depend on outside help for years to come. Take a moment today to think about the power of the natural world and how quickly everything can change, without warning, in any life. Then think about making a concerted effort for change in your own.

It Takes a Village

rwandaFXB, the Association Francois-Xavier Bagnoud, was named for a helicopter pilot who lost his life in service to others when his chopper crashed during a mission in Mali. The charity, founded by his mother, is dedicated to children of the world affected by HIV/AIDS and poverty. They support orphans and vulnerable children left in the wake of the pandemic and provide direct support to caregiving families and communities.

The past two decades have seen FXB help children by fortifying the social and economic capacities of the larger communities in which they live.

One of the most amazing initiatives of this organization is the FXB Village program. They set up entire communities where community-based responses to AIDS and poverty are driven and maintained by the village locals. There are 48 FXB Villages in the world…so far…4 in Burundi, 5 in India, 22 in Rwanda, 4 in Thailand, and 13 in Uganda. Each village serves 80-100 families (between 500 and 600 people, mostly children) delivering income producing programs, legal rights and advocacy, water and sanitation programs, education, health services, HIV prevention and treatment, and psycho-social support. There is a three-year intensive integration operation to then empower the villages to progress onward with lessening outside support and developing their own financial security.

It’s an extraordinary endeavor. Look into it. I’ve given the barest, skimpiest idea of the programs. Watch this 6-minute video to get a better idea.

You won’t lack inspiration after this–I promise