A small band of Sikh businessmen and doctors in Myanmar have come together to provide assistance and medical in the wake of the country’s massive flooding woes.
Badged themselves as the Myanmar Young Sikh Aid (MYSA), they aim to collect funds and organise manpower to help as many people as they can.
They have set up base at the Gurdwara at 80th Street, Mandalay. Here, they pack food and other relief items to be dispatched out.
Since 1 Aug, they have got themselves registered with the Myanmar authorities and launched a Facebook page (search for Myanmar Young Sikh Aid) to communicate with the wider world.
“We are just doing from the bottom of our heart. We give every single minute to them for helping,” MYSA Facebook page editor Harleen Kaur tells Asia Samachar in a telephone conversation on late Sunday evening.
They are determined to do their bit to help their countrymen in dire need of help.
“Most of our members run their own businesses. We are doing this [volunteer work] merely to help our people in distress,” said Harleen, a second-year civil engineering student in Myanmar, a volunteer herself.
As of Aug 10, more than 100 people have died and nearly one million people affected by the flooding following weeks of torrential rain, according to state media.
There is much work that needs to be done, and MYSA is joining the many other agencies and relief outfits offering assistance.
Their story reminds the way Global Sikhs came about in the wake of the tsunami that hit hard Aceh, Indonesia. A group of Sikhs in Malaysia then had huddled together in Kuala Lumpur to form a relief outfit which was named Global Sikhs.
Khalsa Aid, a UK-based Sikh relief outfit, has joined forces with MYSA which is based in Mandalay, some 700km into the mainland from the coastal area which has been hit hard by the monsoon rains.
Since formation, MYSA has raised funds, both internally and from abroad, to send out relief teams to affected areas.
The teams have also covered villages like Khone Zaung, Ma Taw Ghone, Pauk khone, Kyin Ghone, Kan La, Se Daw village and Ghu Gyi.
Another UK-relief agency, United Sikhs, have also sent out its team to Myanmar to assist in the relief work.
As at Sunday, MYSA had managed to raise K23 million (Myanmar currency is called kyat. US$1 is about K1,232). “We have received about 235 lakh so far. We also had some pledges from the UK and Thailand, but have yet to receive the money,” she tells Asia Samachar. That is equivalent to about RM73,000 or S$25,800 or US$18,700. The group is updating the donation list on its Facebook.
The work on the ground is daunting simply due to the sheer scale of the disaster.
~ Source: Asiasamachaar