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ISW Language And Cultural School Students Collect Money For The Tsunami Relief Fund

Carolyn Passey

On December 26, 2004, the blows of an oceanic earthquake, followed by Tsunami tidal waves, hit many countries located in South East Asia. Who could have believed the devastation that would be felt by the people in these countries within a matter of minutes?  The Tsunami was not particular about its victims – young and old, rich and poor, all were affected.  Immediately people around the world came forward with physical and monetary help.  We were riveted to our TV and radio as we watched and listened to the updated reports.  Many people placed frantic calls to relatives “back home” to check on their wellbeing.

As adults, we were in disbelief and spoke often, to many, about this subject.  But, I wondered, what was the affect on the children?  It was impossible for them to miss the many stories and pictures that were shown over an over on the television. Many were too young to understand it all; still, they knew the news was bad.

The India Society of Worcester was one of the countless organizations that immediately took up collections for the innocent victims and their families.  On January 9, 2005, the monthly Satsang was dedicated to the Tsunami victims and a fundraiser was officially started. 

Taking this lead, the children of the ISW Language and Cultural School also wanted to get involved.  It was decided that the children would earn money by helping out at home and then donating this money into our “collection basket”.  Many of the students also wrote short essays to express their feelings.  The following passages are from these essays.

As soon as people heard about the Tsunami they were very shocked. …The Tsunami has affected everyone who has heard about it.  It has given everyone a chance to be thankful for what they have.  It has given us a chance to help out. …It is hard to imagine how many people have been taken away.  …It is hard for us to imagine how alone they feel.                                              
Shubh Agrawal, Hindi IV level

The Tsunami has gotten me very sad and worried about my relatives.  I am lucky (because) my relatives are fine.  But for many people their relatives have died.  It hurts when you hear bad things. …I am grateful for what I have.  I pray every day that the people who have been hurt are recovering.                      
Shivani Kumar, Tamil II level

In the Tsunami tons of people lost their homes, food, (and) schools.  A lot of people lost their families.  Also kids lost their toys.              
Varun Navani, Hindi I level

When I heard about (the Tsunami) I felt strange. 
Aditya Dharampuriya, Hindi I level

When I heard about the Tsunami, I was astonished!  I thought, how could water do all that.  Then I thought of all those poor people.  It was so sad. …I’m glad I can help and everyone else can help, too.                                        
Arya Mohanka, Hindi II level

…Lots of kids lost their Moms and Dads.  Lots of families are still missing their loved ones and lost everything.  I felt very sad when I heard the news.  Everything I saw on TV was scary.                                                            
Shriya Srinivas, Hindi K –I level

…All over the world people are sending food and money.  But even though we are sending all this money, will it be enough to bring back all the parents, children, and brothers and sisters?  No, but we will be doing a great deal of help to all those who are suffering...                                   Sayan Moitra, Bengali I level

I feel very sad for the people in the Tsunami.  If the weather people had warned everyone sooner more families would be safe.  …We are very lucky to be in America.
Yashasvini Mandyam, Hindi K-I level

… I was in Calcutta, India, at the time the Tsunami hit.  Although I was 1,000 miles north of where this disaster struck, I still felt the earthquake.  …There are so many children just like me who lost their parents and homes.  They have to depend on other people for food, clothing and shelter.  …We should all donate some money to help these people.                                                                             
Ranita Ghaosh, Bengali I level

On December 26, 2004, when I switched on the TV, I saw huge waves, building up and hitting land.  …I felt devastated and my thoughts started wandering.  I felt very sad because so many people lost their lives in the Tsunami.  …Another thing that devastated me was that rich countries like the U. S. contributed less than smaller countries in the beginning.  I cannot believe one natural disaster can change the life for so many.
Nikita Jain, Hindi III level

When my Mom and Dad told me about the Tsunami the first thing that came in my mind was if my relatives in India were okay or not.  …My Mom and Dad said they were perfectly fine.  …The pictures made me really sad…  I did laundry for three weekends.  I earned five dollars.  I hope it will help.                         
Sumedha Mitra, Hindi K-2 level

I feel bad for the people who died in the (Tsunami).  Parents lost their children while children lost their parents.  …Once it had been beautiful until the Tsunami came. Now the victims have nothing and are poor.  I believe we should help them get their lives back together.                 Radha Dutta, Bengali I level

…The Tsunami left people without food or proper water.  It also left them homeless.  Many kids were separated from their parents, too.  I think the Tsunami is a huge disaster.  …Of course, I don’t want anything like that to happen to us but I can’t help but wonder.                                  Uday Agrawal, Hindi IV level

Crash!  A wave as high as a ten-story building pounding down against the hard sandy earth.  It destroys buildings and drowns people.  Your town is flooded and the water is starting to go back into the ocean.  The water’s force is too strong.  You have to jump and grab a nearby tree.  …When it is over all of your possessions are gone and so are many of the people you know.  This is what it must have been like for the victims that survived the Tsunami.                                                       
Saharsh Mehta. Hindi IV level 

…When I heard about the Tsunami I first wondered where it hit.  I found out it hit India, Sri Lanka, and Indonesia.  Next I wondered where in India it hit.  My Dad’s native place was hit but my relatives did not get hurt.  My relatives were lucky to survive…
Samy Kumar, Tamil II level

A Tsunami is a big harbor wave,  …More than 200,000 people were left homeless.  I was very sad.  To help provide food, water, and medicines to these people ISW is collecting money …I want to donate to the ISW through my Cultural school.  I am doing my chores …I am donating my eight dollars to the Tsunami Fund.
Sarath Mohan, Hindi K-2 level                                                                       
I was watching an Indian TV program and a news flash came on the TV screen about the Tsunami and how many people had died.  …I thought it happened only in Tamil Nadeau.  Later … they were reporting the Tsunami hit other countries…  I was shocked on the magnitude of the destruction.  We called our relatives in India and learned that they were okay.  …I was so sad learning so many people had died.
Meena Chelvan, Tamil II level

…There are many things we can do to help these children who are now orphans and don’t have any thing to eat.  We can have fundraisers and do lots of other things, too.  …I am going to do chores around the house and the money …will be donated to the Tsunami Relief Fund.  …I am thankful that I have a shelter to live in and that I have a good life.                                                                            
Ridhima Saxena, Hindi II level

…I feel sad for the Tsunami victims.  I would like to collect money to help them.  I can get money by doing chores around the house.  I cleaned the table, helped my Mom do the laundry, fed my pet fish, fixed my bed, …I collected five dollars to donate to the Tsunami Relief Fund.  If all of us give five dollars it will be a big help.
Puja Dutta, Bengali I level

When I heard about the Tsunami I felt so bad for the people who died and the children who have no parents.  The people in the Tsunami now have to drink dirty water.  ...We are helping them by giving them money, not just for re-building their town but also for clean water.                                                            
Nithya Pathalam, Hindi K-II level

This winter, the only Tsunami in recorded history, struck India.  Many people were killed.  Schools, homes and family members were lost.  …It is amazing how so many countries offered to help.  …You see signs …proceeds going to the Tsunami Fund everywhere.  All I can say is “Keep up the good work”.
Priyanka Dharanpuriya, Hindi IV level and Divya Navami, Hindi K-I level

…I felt sad because people died and a lot of people lost their homes.  Some kids lost their parents.  I hope that everything gets better and there will be no more Tsunamis’.          
Riya Shah, Gujarati I level

On February 13, 2005, the ISW Language and Cultural School sponsored their annual Sarasvati Puja.  Again, the students collected money to be donated to the Tsunami Relief Fund.  I was very impressed with the determination of all the students and how hard they worked at collecting the money.  It would be the first thing they mentioned each week as they gathered for their Yoga class.  As you read the essays, you can see that even at their young age they are able to understand the devastation and sadness that the Tsunami caused by placing themselves in the shoes of the children who were affected.  To date the school students have been able to collect just over $500.00.

(If you would like to donate to the India Society of Worcester Tsunami Relief Fund, please do so by making your check out to ISW, (noting Tsunami Relief Fund in the memo) and sending it to: ISW, P O Box 945, Worcester, MA  01613.  This money will be used for a long-range rehabilitation project in India.)


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