On December 26, 2004 a 9.0 earthquake struck deep beneath the ocean off the coast of Indonesia. The resulting tsunami waves killed hundreds of thousands of people and affected millions more. Anglicans in Canada joined a global wave of support for those affected by this disaster, donating millions of dollars to PWRDF.
PWRDF has used those millions, together with money from the Canadian International Development Agency, over five years to improve conditions for thousands of beneficiaries in India and Sri Lanka. PWRDF has worked with other faith-based agencies through the ACT Alliance (then known as ACT International) and also joining with the Presbyterian, United, and Mennonite churches to form PUMA, as well as working directly with PWRDF’s own partners to respond to this disaster.
Recently, I had the opportunity to visit India and Sri Lanka to visit PWRDF’s tsunami projects in those countries. My experience there was an incredible catharsis for me. It was also a real privilege to be able to be part of the response to this disaster. I can remember vividly watching the images of the destruction on TV with a sense of helplessness. I joined with millions of others in making my donations, but always wanted to do more. Now, I have had the chance to do so.
Over the next year, I will be writing and publishing on the PWRDF website stories of individuals and communities who have benefited from PWRDF’s work since the tsunami. Meeting these people and hearing their stories underlined for me the power and resilience of the human spirit, and convinced me of the importance of both the philosophy and work of PWRDF. In addition to articles here on the website, I have posted reflections and experiences on the PWRDF blog, photos on Flickr, and video onYouTube.
In the coming year, you will see stories about the work of partner agencies including the Churches’ Auxiliary for Social Action (CASA) and the Organization for Eelam Refugee Rehabilitation (OfERR) in India, as well as OfERR, the Movement for Land and Agricultural Reform (MONLAR), and Savisthri in Sri Lanka. You will hear about the construction of permanent housing, the provision of livelihood generation activities, education, micro-credit, and home gardening.
To begin the journey, I encourage you to take a half hour and watch the tsunami video that was created by PUMA called Day by Day, Step by Step.
Day by Day, Step by Step: PWRDF Response to the 2004 Tsunami from PWRDF on Vimeo