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Wednesday, December 29, 2004
Indian Ocean Earthquake Mega Tsunami Charitable Organizations
List of links to charitable organizations help on the 2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake Tsunami. Please give what help you can.
Some of the more popular organizations:
International Red Cross & Red Crescent
Doctors Without Borders
International Red Cross / Red Crescent
United Nations Children's Fund
Médecins Sans Frontières
Islamic Relief Worldwide
PLEASE DISTRIBUTE WIDELY
GIVE WELL, GIVE WISELY!
CSFH Urges Responsible Giving in the Wake of Tsunami Tragedy
It is time to give and give generously. As the death toll climbs past 150,000 and the world comes to grips with the devastation caused by the deadly Indian Ocean tsunamis, numerous organizations across Asia are stepping up to organize relief and rehabilitation. We at the Campaign to Stop Funding Hate (CSFH) urge all individuals in the U.S. and elsewhere to support them by donating generously.
However, our responsibility does not end with giving. It is also our combined responsibility to ensure that our funds do not end up in sectarian hands, and that this tragedy does not turn into another opportunity for communal groups to gain foothold in our plural society.
KEEPING ACCOUNTABILITY, SOCIAL JUSTICE ON THE AGENDA
The response to the tsunami tragedy in the US has been heartening, with hundreds of dedicated volunteers making enormous effort to raise resources for relief operations in India and elsewhere. Many of these groups have a long history of carrying out grass-roots, non-sectarian development work in India, and have been able to effectively mobilize their networks at this time to administer relief. They can be counted upon for working closely with affected communities in a transparent and accountable manner. The immense loss of life in Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Thailand, makes it incumbent on us to consider giving to our suffering Asian neighbors, either through transnational organizations or through informal networks of local community-based organizations. (See below for a partial list of such organizations).
Many of us are also members of a variety of linguistic, regional and cultural associations. Because of their social and cultural affinities, such organizations are well equipped to intervene in on the ground activities. Precisely because of these reasons, sectarian groups try to use them as vehicles to advance their own agendas. We therefore urge you all to not only take an active part in the fund raising activities of these organizations but also be involved in discussions on how and where the funds are to be used. Disasters of this kind are occasions when we should be on high alert to keep social justice at the top of the agenda.
STAY CLEAR OF SECTARIAN GROUPS SUCH AS IDRF, HSS, SEWA INTERNATIONAL AND VHPA
Please remember the lessons of past natural calamities: Latur earthquake in 1993, Orissa cyclone in 1999 and the massive earthquake that shook Gujarat in 2001. Sectarian groups in the guise of non profits have swooped in on these areas engulfed in tragedy (funded in large part by unsuspecting donors in the US) and established their presence in the grief-stricken communities on the pretext of providing relief. Not only did this lead to unequal disbursement of relief among various communities, but it also caused further fracturing of these struggling communities along lines of caste and religion.
This time too, the India Development and Relief Fund (IDRF), Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS), Sewa International and Vishwa Hindu Parishad-America (VHPA) have all put out appeals for Tsunami relief. CSFH has done extensive research on these groups and traced their linkages to the parent organization in India: the violent and anti-minority Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). (See http://www.stopfundinghate.org for details.) Affiliates of this organization have been implicated by numerous national and international human rights groups as having engineered the anti-Muslim Gujarat pogroms in 2002 and the anti-Christian violence in 1998-2000. RSS itself is a secretive organization, openly sectarian in its operations, and is not legally permitted by the Government of India to accept funds from abroad; consequently, its US affiliates (IDRF, HSS etc.) are raising funds for organizations like Sewa Bharati, Jana Sankshema Samiti and Vivekananda Kendra in India, all of which are intrinsic parts of RSS operations in India and follow its divisive ideology.
We urge everyone to make the responsible choice in favor of supporting secular groups with a long-standing commitment to the pluralistic ethos and democratic ideals of India. On our part, we are following up on our work of the past several years some of which is documented at http://www.stopfundinghate.org . We will be happy to assist you with any information and would really appreciate it if you will alert us to the debates and discussions that you are involved in by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org
We are building a FAQ to be posted on our site and it will be helpful to know the kinds of questions being raised. Meanwhile, please feel free to use the list below as a starting point to identify the kind of organizations that are worthy of support.
A partial list of non-sectarian, grassroots groups involved in relief operations:
1. AID - Association for India's Development
2. American India Foundation
3. Asha For Education
4. India Literacy Project
5. India Relief and Education Fund
6. Indians for Collective Action
8. Singh Foundation
These groups are partnering with various mass-based organizations and NGOs in India, such as the Tamil Nadu Science Forum, the National Fishworkers Forum, Vidyarambam, APVVU (agricultural workers' union in AP), People's Watch, Bharathi Trust and Bhoomika Trust.
Among international organizations, Doctors Without Borders is reputed to be the most committed and experienced with meeting disasters with professional expertise. http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org
The International Red Cross has country specific operations which may be accessed and supported through the following links:
Sri Lanka: http://www.icrc.org/Web/Eng/siteeng0.nsf/html/sri_lanka!Open
Additionally, we urge you to also spread the word about the Red Cross's 'Family Links' initiative which helps locate separated family members throughout the affected region. You can find out more about this from