Flood-victims at the SOS relief camp in Bihar - EP…
Tsunami Relief and Reconstruction - Past, Present and Future. 26 December 2004 is a date that will remain etched in our memory forever. Lives lost, lives' work lost and a bleak future. Everywhere one saw death, destruction and despair.
Flood-victims at the SOS relief camp in Bihar near Purnia, India
The reconstruction of the areas affected by the Boxing Day 2004 Tsunami has been through many stages. To give you an idea of the relief and reconstruction I have this personal story from Siddhartha Kaul, the SOS Continental Director of Asia:
Tsunami relief work was very difficult given the security issues in Sri Lanka, civic conflicts in Banda Aceh/Indonesia and all round poor infrastructure and lack of basic amenities such as water, medical care and virtually no electricity. Distances were long and there was the usual bureaucratic red tape to be dealt with. We succeeded because we worked directly with the community and got them involved at every step of the way. Youth from within the community took a leadership role and helped to keep the harmony. We worked with and through the local people. This ensured timely and cost effective delivery of services.
I believe the future is bright. We have experienced communities that have supported each other in extreme conditions and continue to do so. The community supported by the organisation has developed programmes to support themselves for the coming 3 to 5 years, enabling them to stand on their own.
A girl writing on a blackboard at the SOS School in Conakry, Guinea
Too many children are deprived of a regular childhood in developing countries. But thanks to the family strengthening programme in Kankan, in Guinea, little nine-year-old Omar has now discovered what being a child means...
How my life changed
My name is Omar. I'm nine years old. I live in a small village not far from Kankan. My father is disabled. He's been blind for the past 15 years, he once told me.
Before our family got help from the family strengthening programme, my mother used to carry my little baby sister on her back from door to door in the surrounding area, to find any type of job that would give her some food to bring back home at night. While she was out in the daytime, I used to go with my father bare-foot in various places of the city [Kankan] to beg. But one day, my mother and my sister were caught under a very heavy rain. My little sister fell very sick and died a few days later because we could not afford to give her medical care. I was sad. And so were my parents.
Since early 2008, we have been supported by the family strengthening programme*. Our situation has drastically changed. My father is still blind, but now I go to school. I have a nice uniform and wear shoes. My mother is no longer going out from door to door to look for any chores to do. Instead, she got supported to open her own little business in front of our house. She even followed some classes to do it well [the programme provided a business management training to all the caregivers on the programme]. Now we get food to eat every day! Having her shop in front of the house is also good because she can look after my father, while I get to learn and play with my friends!
*The family strengthening programme in Kankan is run by SOS Children's Village Kankan and a local NGO called "Jeunesse Action Développement". It started early 2008 and by the end of 2008 helped 352 children from 72 families.