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February 28, 2005

Thailand Flags for the Kamala School

Thanks to the AAA Flag+Banner company, the kids at the Kamala School will have two brand new 3'x5' all-weather Thai Flags to remind them of the strength of their community.

Posted by sedda at 04:49 PM

February 27, 2005

Thanks to Ladies Who Brunch

Shanti invited me to a women's networking group called Ladies Who Brunch. The brunch meeting of about 100 women was at The Spanish Kitchen on La Cienega. The ladies donated $300 to Shanti's fundraiser for children in Kamala who survived the tsunami. Five of them lost both of their parents.

The fundraiser was initiated by Shanti, who purchased beanie babies and offered them up for sponsorship. For $5 donation, you can choose a beanie and send it to Thailand. She also sponsored flipflops.

And the String Scrubbie Project will contribute an additional $50 to the kids, in donations for scrubbies.

Thanks to the Ladies Who Brunch!!

Posted by sedda at 03:18 PM

February 25, 2005

Shoes, bags and clothes for the kids of Kamala

Shanti has been working her contacts to benefit tsunami survivors near Phuket and Ko Phi Phi. She is taking 65 pairs of donated flipflops from Teva with her for the children of Kamala. She also has daypacks and two large bags from Solomon, and some clothes from Patagonia, Oakley apparel, Timbuk2 and Etnies to give to the Thai people.

Additionally she'll bring about 50 beanie-baby sized stuffed animals that she got on sale at Toys-R-Us.

The next contact she will work is one at China Air, so she can get the Your Bag Is Too Heavy fee waived. "Ohhhh, SkyCap! Over Here!"

Posted by sedda at 03:30 PM

February 24, 2005

Planning for Thailand

Plans for the trip are underway. We're researching places where we can help the most. Shanti has a lot of connections in and near Phuket, Ao Nang, and Koh Lanta. She will help restore a Buddhist temple+monestary before we all connect midweek. I may decide to return there if they still need help. Monks are not allowed to complain or ask for help, as it must be provided for them, so no one was aware the Kamala Temple was in trouble until volunteers happened by to check it out.

We had hoped to build a daycare center on one particularly damaged island, but Shanti's further research revealed questions about the way that project is being managed. We want to make sure every donated dollar (baht) and moment goes to those who are able to use them well, so we will be checking the groups out through word of mouth and in person before we commit.

It's hard to know what we will encounter. Shanti has a lovely photo of herself with her mom at a resort at the edge of Koh Phi Phi. They are poolside at an infinity-wall pool, with a bar at one end situated so you can get your drinks without getting out of the pool. Within days of the photo, it was all gone, flattened by the immense force of the sea.

Can't imagine it? It's impossible to get your brain around it. Here are some photos a Canadian couple took of the tsunami rolling in, via AP/CNN. Sadly, they did not survive the disaster.

Some areas have received help already and are trying to get back on their feet, others still are being discovered. Speaking of feet, Shanti learned this week that many of the children have lost their shoes, and she convinced Nike+Teva to send a bunch of sandals that some of them can wear. One of us will take them on the airplane, along with a bunch of clothing Oakley contributed, and inside backpacks that Solomon has donated.

Other preparations for our journey will require minimal packing and precise planning. I'll be bringing a water filter, and to enhance the sense of surreal adventure: Malarone pills, the Malaria preventative—although locals have emphasized disease has not been present in the areas we are planning to visit. I've also got some serious Deet bug juice packed, which came with advice from the clerk at Adventure 16 that 100% Deet will eat through synthetics, so don't wear it under your clothes. But "It's completely safe!" (Isn't that what they told the soldiers spraying Agent Orange?)

I already had the bevy of major vaccinations, finishing off the complement with Typhoid pills this week (which my tummy has not been all that excited about). The weather will be in the 80s-90s and 100% humidity, so I'm packing a few light items with plans to pick up some clothes of the proper fabric in Bangkok. My goal is to keep my one pack less than 35lbs so I can travel light and manage the other large bags of donations we'll be bringing.

We're still looking for cash donations to take with us. Whether you'd like to give to the Thai people outright or by buying a hand knit washcloth, or to support our trip to Thailand to help others, we're interested. Please contact us.

Posted by sedda at 02:22 PM

February 20, 2005

Help Thai people in need

Friends,

As you know, hundreds of thousands of lives were suddenly changed by the December 26 tsunami waves that destroyed families and communities.

I have decided I need to do more to help. On March 11, I will be traveling with two extraordinary women to Thailand to lend a hand for tsunami relief for three weeks. My main traveling companion will be Shilpa Rajpara, who is using her vacation time from her HR job to make a difference. We will meet up with Shanti Sosienski, a freelance writer, who has raised more than $4500 in cash to give directly to Thai citizens rebuilding their lives. Shanti has inspired us to make the journey.

Shilpa and I will spend a few days learning about the Thai culture, then we will travel south via Krabi, where we will be helping people who need it. We have plans to assist villagers of Koh Lanta fix boats so they can return to their livelihood. We hope to help out rebuilding temples, or schools, or daycare centers. Other opportunities await us. We plan to bring back many stories of hope, rebirth, and new beginnings.

The String Scrubbie Project, begun about a week after the tsunami happened, organizes volunteer knitters across the country to donate handmade dishcloths/washcloths as a tsunami survivor fundraiser. We have sent $200 to UNICEF that we have raised by Scrubbie sales. Future scrubbie sales will be split between UNICEF and assisting Thais in need.

HOW *YOU* CAN HELP TODAY:

There are several ways you can get involved to help tsunami survivors, without breaking your piggy bank. No donation is too small. We encourage you to skip that latte or pack a lunch once, and send just $1, $5 or $10 toward the following efforts:


1. To HELP THE THAI PEOPLE DIRECTLY, you may do this in a couple of ways: You could buy a scrubbie and write the check to me, indicating 'direct relief' on the check. Or, you could send a check/cash to me outright. Note that this part of the fundraiser will continue throughout the year and funds can be wired directly to the Thai people later, if you miss the 3/11 deadline.

2. HELP ME TO HELP OTHERS. If you would like to help sponsor my March 11 tsunami relief trip; I am footing the bill on my own expenses and am open to donations. Please indicate 'bug' in the memo of your check, if you can help.
Other Items I am looking for specifically:
—Loan/donate to me a 12" Apple Powerbook with Office for documenting the project
—Fresh film and batteries
—A lead bag for the xray machine
—A few 'flags' or banners of various designs that say thank you, for use in photographs. We could use two of them, $25 each, and a graphic designer to make a cool PDF so we can get them printed.

3. HELP AND GET A TAX DEDUCTION. If you would like to make a difference, but prefer to earn a tax deduction in the process, you may donate $10 to receivea Hand-knit 100% Cotton Dishcloth suitable for kitchen or bath. You may make the check payable to UNICEF Tsunami Relief. If you prefer, your money can benefit the Thai people directly, just write the check to me and let me know.
It would be most excellent if you could slip an extra buck in the envelope for postage, or send a large SASE, so I can mail the scrubbie back to you. I know this sounds a little cheap-o, but I'm really finding these small expenses add up—and my pockets aren't quite deep enough.

4. Knit scrubbies for the String Scrubbie Project.

Donations may be sent to the Knitzilla! mailbox:

Knitzilla! String Scrubbie Project
4845 Fountain Ave #11
Los Angeles CA 90029

Many, many thanks for your generosity in supporting tsunami relief. If you have given generously already, I completely understand and do not wish to pressure you again. But I hope you will let your friends know, so they have the opportunity to help, as well.

Peace and love to you,

Sedda K (Ms. Bug)
project mail: scrubbie[at] rain circle (dot)com

Posted by sedda at 03:18 PM

February 12, 2005

www.tsunamireliefla.org fundraiser event today

Today's tsunami fundraiser in Eagle Rock, hosted by tsunamireliefla.org, was a great success, raising more than $3000 for tsunami survivors.

For the price of the $10 entrance fee, we were allowed to set up a table to offer scrubbies right in the middle of the action. The String Scrubbie Project raised $75 for UNICEF, in exchange for three scrubbies and a brown knit poncho that I donated. I also donated a blue knit poncho to the group's raffle. (The ponchos are valued at $60 or more.)

The live Indian music was awesome, and yummy food was provided by Govinda's of West LA. There was an extensive silent auction as well as a raffle. And lots of information about some of the areas affected by the tsunami.

Photos and a writeup will soon be posted on tsunamireliefla.org and www.shantisos.com/thailand.

100% of cash funds that were raised will directly benefit tsunami survivors. Some will go to care for lost dogs in Phuket, some will go toward providing families with a basic survival kit including a wok, cooking pot, bug spray and other necessities, and some will go to help Ao Nang and Koh Lanta boating families, who have not received a cent of aid since the disaster happened.

The Ao Nang boating project is sponsored by freelance writer Shanti Sosienski. Many Thai families have lost their boats, which are their source of livelihood for fishing and tours. Shanti accepts cash donations via PayPal or you can mail them to her or me. For the price of a single latte, you can buy about a week's worth of food in Thailand. She will take a donation of $1, $5, $10 or whatever you are able to give. No donation is too small. More info on her site.

Funds raised by check today will be sent to UNICEF on Monday (I am in charge of this since the String Scrubbie Project has a UNICEF connection), and those total more than $1400!

Thanks to all of you for donating your beautiful hand crafts to raise money for these people really in need. We got a LOT of compliments on the lovely work, and people are impressed that knitters and crocheters from across the country are coming together as a community to help the community of the world.

Posted by sedda at 10:42 AM

February 04, 2005

Tsunami survivors need our help

Do you wonder where our funds are going? Here are some updates:
•Red Cross:Tsunami aftermath photos
•UNICEF:Update as of 17 Jan 05
•Red Cross:Update as of 1 Feb 05

Why should we continue to contribute?
•Red Cross: Uncertain Future Hangs Over Thai Tsunami Survivors
•UNICEF:For tsunami homeless, sanitation a critical concern

We hope you will donate through the String Scrubbie Project, or can contribute your knitting or crochet. But it's most important that you give at all, whether through us or through another venue. Thanks for contributing to a community of worldwide togetherness.

Posted by sedda at 02:42 PM