Somalia + 1 more

Tsunami: Ordinary americans in extraordinary effort to help

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 8, 2005) - From Arkansas to Connecticut, the staff, friends and family members of Counterpart international came together to help tsunami survivors in Somalia and Sri Lanka rebuild lives shattered by last December's terrible natural disaster.

In response to the call, these citizens, from an elementary school, a local gym and a place of worship, along with Counterpart International staff, gathered scarce resources to help the organization lift 1,000 emergency relief kits to Africa and Asia.

John Kachelman, who has collaborated with Counterpart International through the Churchof Christin Searcy, Arkansas, coordinated a drive with partner ministries in Memphis, Tennesseeand St. Louis, Missourito secure more than 850 kits for these hard-hit nations. When asked about the emergency kit drive, Kachelman characterized the response from thechurch as "energetic, instant, and generous."

In Simsbury and Branford, Connecticut, educators Diane Ullman and Carol Spinello mobilized school officials and students to raise funds creatively to purchase these life-changing kits. The University of Hartford Magnet School staff, an elementary school in Hartford,donated a large sum towards the purchase of kits. Valued at US$20 each, the packets included feminine hygiene products, underwear, flashlights and scissors, as well as items such as hand towels, gauze, antibacterial ointment, and first aid tape.

In Maryland, Tracy Scagliarini encouraged members of her gym to donate after displaying a sample kit and circulating a flyer about the project. Diane Ullman and Tracy Scagliarini are the proud mothers of Counterpart staffers Rebecca Ullman (Community Humanitarian Assistance Programs - CHAP) and Tia Scagliarini (Food Security and Sustainable Agriculture - FSSA) respectively.

Under the direction of Rebecca Ullman and Yang Hee Kim, who work for CHAP, Counterpart shipped 500 of the emergency kits to Colombo, Sri Lanka, and the other 500 to Puntland, Somalia.

In Somalia, former Counterpart staffer Abshir Abshir, now with Kaalo Relief and Development Organization, received and distributed the kits. In Sri Lanka, the kits went to the Ministry of Rehabilitation, Reconstruction and Reconciliation and were distributed by Churchof Christpartner, D.R. Gnanasundaram.

ENDS