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Brad Pitt, George Clooney and Matt Damon Pledge Support for Myanmar Cyclone Victims

As some of Hollywood's biggest stars pledge support for the victims of Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar by awarding $250,000 to the Save the Children campaign, Yadira takes the opportunity to sum up how these efforts are helping the survivors in the stricken country.

Article by Yadira / Lake Forest, California / May 22 2008

A devastated town in the Irrawaddy Delta region in Myanmar (Burma). Enlarge Image

A devastated town in the Irrawaddy Delta region in Myanmar (Burma) after Cyclone Nargis struck.

Myanmar News Agency via AFP

Public awareness of the suffering in Myanmar has been increasing at a rapid pace, due in no small part to the widespread reports in the media of the difficulties faced by the international community in getting aid into the country. It is difficult to accept the position of the Myanmar government, but that should not prevent attempts to offer aid — people are still dying.

If you book any Reiki Session, Reiki Class, or Reiki Workshop this month, Yadira will share your voluntary donations with Save the Children in support of the Myanmar victims. Alternatively, if you do not wish to book a Reiki service, you can still make a direct donation to Save the Children. Details of how to do both are at the end of this article.

Save the Children has had a presence in Myanmar since 1995 and by May 15th had already reached 115,000 people

It has been very reassuring to know that Save the Children, the charity that I am directly supporting in my campaign this month, is one of the few organizations to have had a long–standing presence in Myanmar, and as such already has 500 people on the ground coordinating relief efforts and distributing much needed aid.

Save the Children recently wrote to supporters of their Children in Crisis fund. I have posted a summary of that letter throughout my web site this month, but here is the full version:

Children wait in line for food supplies in Myanmar. Save the Children has provided aid to thousands of children affected by Cyclone Nargis. Enlarge Image

Children wait in line for food supplies in Myanmar. Save the Children has provided aid to thousands of children affected by Cyclone Nargis.

Save the Children

“Dear Yadira,

I am writing to you from Yangon, Myanmar, where emergency relief efforts in response to Cyclone Nargis are now in their second week.

It's raining heavily, further complicating relief efforts. It is unbelievably miserable and dangerous for thousands in temporary shelters. Time is of the essence.

Save the Children's first plane load of relief supplies arrived on Monday, May 12th. It passed government inspection and is currently being distributed in some of the hardest–hit areas of the delta region.

In the coming days, we will need your help more than ever to help us expand our work to assist children and families most affected by the storm.

The good news is that about 115,000 survivors have been reached with lifesaving supplies including rice, water, oral rehydration solution, plastic sheeting and other urgently needed materials. The staff have been purchasing supplies locally within Myanmar and speeding them to families in need — by truck and by boat.

By mobilizing Save the Children's 500 aid workers who live in Myanmar, we are able to get to the most vulnerable children and families. Thirty of our child–protection staff are being trained to assist children who have been separated from their families, and we hope to get significant family–tracing activities going in as early as a day or two.

The spread of disease is one of our biggest concerns, as is the increasing number of diarrhea cases among children. And while that does not seem serious for Westerners, we know that diarrhea is a major killer among young children in the developing world. Save the Children's oral rehydration solution can save the lives of many of these children.

While our work is not easy, our hopes and spirits are strong. I'm told that as our team in Pathein was loading a boat, some local people — struggling themselves — arrived and offered to help. That really brought tears to our eyes. Their generosity and kindness, like yours, makes all our efforts worthwhile.

Andrew Kirkwood

Myanmar Country Office Director

Save the Children

P.S. We've just learned that for a limited time, donations made for Save the Children's work in Myanmar will be doubled by a special matching gift from the nonprofit group Not On Our Watch, founded by George Clooney, Brad Pitt, and others (up to a total of $250,000 raised). This means that your gift today could go twice as far.”

The news that Save the Children managed to reach no less than 115,000 of the most vulnerable people so relatively quickly is extremely heartening. However the impending risk of the spread of disease in the aftermath means that the crisis is far from over. It is also clear that although there may be questions surrounding the apparent inaction of the government, the local people are certainly doing everything they can to help, and it is the people we should all be thinking about when we consider the question of offering our aid.

Not On Our Watch — Hollywood Actors Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Matt Damon Pledge up to $500,000 for the Cyclone Nargis Campaign in Myanmar

George Clooney with peacekeepers on a recent trip to Darfur. Enlarge Image

George Clooney with peacekeepers on a recent trip to Darfur.

Save the Children

This recent story from Save the Children confirms that the non–profit organization Not On Our Watch, backed by some of Hollywood's biggest names, has awarded Save the Children $250,000. But that's just for starters. They have also offered a match contribution of a further $250,000. This means that for every dollar donated to Save the Children's Cyclone Nargis relief effort, Not On Our Watch will match that contribution up to the $500,000 overall limit.

Not On Our Watch was founded by Hollywood actors Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Matt Damon, Don Cheadle, producer Jerry Weintraub, and human rights lawyer David Pressman.

Save the Children reached 160,000 Survivors of the Cyclone in Myanmar by May 19th

Save the Children staff supporting children displaced by Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar (Burma). Enlarge Image

Save the Children staff supporting children displaced by Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar (Burma).

Save the Children

At the time of writing, the latest report from Save the Children raises the figure of those it has reached to more than 160,000. This figure includes more than 50,000 children who according to the report have now been supplied “with food, water, shelter, materials, household supplies and oral–rehydration salts to treat diarrhea.”

Given the difficult circumstances, this is a staggering number of people that have been given aid so far. I urge everyone reading this to consider donating whatever they can so that the relief effort from Save the Children may continue apace.

How to Make a Donation to Save the Children

If you would like your entire donation to go to the Save the Children fund for Myanmar, simply visit this page on Save the Children's web site.

If you are interested in one of my Reiki services, which are all for voluntary donations, then whenever you book any Reiki service with me this month and make a donation, I will share that donation with Save the Children's fund for Myanmar. All you have to do is make a booking and mention to me on the day that you would like your contribution to go to Save the Children. It's that easy.

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California Reiki offers Reiki services for donations: Reiki Healing Sessions, Reiki Therapy, Reiki Treatments, Reiki Classes, Reiki Training, Reiki Workshops, and Reiki Practice Meetings. If you would like to make a donation, please go to our Donations Page. A portion of all proceeds is shared with Save the Children or other charities.