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A month of tragedy has passed in South East Asia

26/01/2005: India

Here is the testimony of Brothers Johnson and Santhosh who have returned from a mission to Vailakanni located in the Tamil Nadu State.
“Brother Johnson and I have just returned from Vailakanni after our preliminary work with Tsunami survivors. We helped them to clear up their rubbish. We gathered children in the evenings for recreational and educational purposes. These children are affected psychologically by the loss of their peer group, siblings and parents. We encouraged these children to go to school at the earliest possible opportunity. We had to do that because school is a place where their minds would be diverted and where they can meet their peers. It will remove them from the scene of the disaster and rehabilitation work. We also were involved in informal group and individual counselling. We just used a simple method: calling them by their first name, listening and talking to them in their own language, allowing them to tell their sad stories, to empathise with them. We have come across many people hinting about committing suicide because they have lost near and dear ones. I believe that our very presence has made a lot of difference, bringing hope to the hopeless. We are planning to go back after Pongal Holidays (the Festival of Harvest) and to explore what things we can do there. I think we need to take care of children especially orphans. Children have lost their books and notes and school materials. There is a greater need for our presence.”

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