I am writing you this urgent message to help the people of South-East Asia who have suffered immensely from three natural disasters that have struck in the last week. Typhoon Ketsana has slammed into the Philippines, Vietnam and Cambodia. A massive earthquake struck Indonesia, while American Samoa, Samoa and Tonga were hit by a tsunami. These disasters have affected millions of people and caused death, widespread flooding and destruction.
As a UNICEF Ambassador, I am pleading with each and every one of you to donate what you can to the relief efforts currently underway. UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund) is delivering more hygiene kits, essential medicines, water purification tablets, portable toilets and family kits containing blankets and soap to aid in relief efforts. It is also helping governments and other humanitarian agencies to address gaps in the delivery of aid to those affected.
Since September 26, thousands have died and millions of people are without homes, running water or food, and the death toll is rising. To make matters worse, there are more powerful tropical storms and flooding in the forecast, including Typhoon Parma, which has already hit the Philippines and is heading towards Vietnam.
This is our chance to make a difference. We can’t afford to wait. Your dollars will save people’s lives. And the great thing is that it’s so easy. Just go to www.unicef.ca, click on “Donate Now” and give your very special donation to the Asia-Pacific Disaster Fund. You’ll get a tax receipt as well, so it may only end up costing you very little.
In addition, send out the message to friends and family. The more people that know about the relief efforts, the more lives we can save. Thank you!
Taking Action on Poverty
Related to this tragedy in South-East Asia is another effort organized by Make Poverty History, a campaign launched in Canada and throughout the world in 2005 with the support of a wide cross-section of public interest and faith groups, trade unions, students, academics, literary, artistic and sports leaders.
On October 16, 17 and 18, millions of people around the globe will take part in “Stand Up, Take Action,” an annual event which calls on world leaders to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, a United Nations initiative that calls for the eradication of hunger and extreme poverty, the provision of health care and education to every child on the planet, gender equality, environmental sustainability, and better HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment, all by the year 2015.
In last year’s Stand Up, Take Action event, close to 80,000 Canadians stood alongside almost 117 million others worldwide. This year, there will be rock concerts, festivals, conferences, speeches and other events taking place all over the world. People are urged to organize events in their own community to join the millions of voices elsewhere calling for the eradication of poverty.
The event’s website, located at www.standagainstpoverty.org, includes resources (including the “Event Tool Kit”) and allows participants to register their event and attach a widget to their website to let the world know they want to see an end to poverty on earth.
I recommend that you to check out the website and begin organizing your own event. I’m planning some activities for October 16th. You can do the same! It’s a great way to get others involved and raise awareness about a very important issue.
So what are you waiting for? For the sake of those suffering in south-east Asia and around the world, start making a difference right now!
“Together We Can Make A Difference”
P.S. I was also featured in a story on CNN this week. Watch it here!