Cutting short vacations and voluntarily working long nights and weekends, Counterpart staff assembled millions of dollars worth of medicines and other urgently requested supplies which were airlifted to the devastated south Asian region by our friends at SkyLink Aviation.
Counterpart, with our local partners, was one of the first international organizations to report, and meet, other critical needs such as food and clean drinking water.
After six months Counterpart is deeply into the longer term restoration of ecosystems, infrastructure, and livelihoods.
For example, Counterpart's 'Ridge to Reef' program has been recognized as an holistic and productive approach to long term restoration of the tsunami-battered coastal zones.
Mangroves, in addition to being verdant incubators of fish and other marine life, are also sturdy buffers of tsunami and tidal waves, so the replanting of mangrove swamps anchor our efforts to rebuild the coasts of Sri Lanka and Indonesia. Healthy mangroves are also essential for our Coral Gardens reef conservation programs.
Who can forget the images of children getting their lessons under trees after their schools were washed away?
Counterpart is rebuilding, upgrading, and expanding a primary school in the Ampara District in the North East Province of Sri Lanka that teaches approximately 200 students in grades 1 through 5. The funds for rebuilding have been donated by American and Canadian schoolchildren as well as other private donors.
Some 40 heavily damaged schools litter Ampara, one of the most severely affected districts, where more than 21,000 school children are still living in relief camps and other temporary shelters.
Counterpart's longer term initiative is to develop Internet-based school-to-school links between south Asian and North American donor schools to enable long-term school-to-school partnerships.
Having delivered millions of dollars in immediate relief assistance to tsunami survivors in south Asia, Counterpart, over half a year after the killer tsunami took hundreds of thousands of lives, continues to focus on the really hard part - putting peoples' lives, and their shattered communities, back together again.