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Homeschoolers Plan to Help Tsunami Victims

How you can help rebuild the lives of villagers in India

by David Albert

From: David Albert & Ellen Sawislak
Date: Sun Dec 26, 2004 3:39 pm
Subject: OT Tsunami

Dear homeschooling friends ­

By now, many of you have read about the tsunami that has just hit the coastal areas of the Bay of Bengal. I am particularly sad to report that areas of the coast of southeast India are in ruins.

This is the area in which my adopted Indian parents have been doing land reform/development work for the past 40 years, and also where American homeschoolers have contributed much-needed funds to help build houses for people who were previously living in little more than mud and grass huts that would be destroyed during every monsoon, and to support 220 orphans. A wall of water 30-40 feet high hit and moved more than 10 miles inland (where the orphanages are), destroying everything in its wake.

The mangroves, which had been the only natural protection against such destruction, had all been cut down by multinational/World Bank-backed projects in industrial shrimp farming. As of this writing, 1,100 people are reported dead in this district, and upwards of a million homeless. I am awaiting more direct word from my mother or sister, but am unlikely to receive it anytime soon. (My sister* is head of a pediatrics hospital in the region ­ I expect I won’t hear from her in weeks!),

As it turns out, my daughter (former homeschooler and now Smith College first-year Aliyah) and I were planning to leave for the area on Tuesday evening. We would (and may) still go, though with plans to assist in the relief effort. But I expect the local airports will be commandeered for relief aid, so we’ll just have to see.

In the meantime, we have set up a relief fund. All proceeds from the sale of my book “The Color of Freedom” (which is an oral biography of my parents, and the story of their work) were already going to their efforts, and can be purchased through my website at www.skylarksings.com. Tax-deductible donations ­ cash, checks, or credit cards ­ can be sent to me at the address on the site (if for more than $500, checks should be made out to The Gandhian Foundation; if not, simply toSkylark Sings, as the funds will get there faster.) The quickest way is simply to call me at (360) 352-0506, and I’ll do what is necessary ­ we will wire the combined contributions directly, and there will be no overhead to cover.

I have now heard from my sister, and we have been told to COME! So we leave Tuesday evening, December 28. We have no idea what we will be doing, but we know from experience that simply being witnesses is often enough. I did receive an e-mail from my mother’s* office, telling us that they escaped without major damage (which is great, because one of our orphanages, the one for girls, is there), but that 12 kilometers to the south, in 12 villages, more than 7,000 are dead. The press hasn’t arrived yet, and really have no idea of the actual death toll.

To follow our relief effort in India, visit our blog on a regular basis. We should be starting to post there near the end of December.

Thank you for your help and prayers.

David Albert

Follow David’s thread about the Tsunami in our Yahoo Group.

The South-East Asia Earthquake and Tsunami Blog

*Note: David’s “mother” and “sister” are not his biological relatives, but special people in his life, friends of over 30 years, whom many call “Mother” and “Sister,” such as nuns would be called “mother” or “sister.”

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