Text message inspires many to donate relief items

DUBAI — A simple SMS that a volunteer sent seeking assistance for the tsunami-hit millions touched off a wave of compassionate response from residents of this city showing what the right use of technology could achieve.

By Lina Abdul Rahman

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Published: Fri 31 Dec 2004, 12:04 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 2:08 AM

The text message, sent by a Jenny Young, a South African national, a few hours after the disaster struck elicited responses from more than 100 individuals, who donated some 5,000 blankets, towels and overalls.

These items will be despatched shortly to the areas hit by the tidal waves.

Young was impressed by the tremendous response of the Dubai residents who came forward readily to help alleviate the pain and suffering of the innocent, who were affected by the calamity, Young told Khaleej Times. “I was really shaken to hear of the tragic deaths of thousands of people, and I didn't hesitate to lend a hand to the afflicted countries by sending a text message to 100 people, urging them to donate clean emergency supplies to be sent to Asia.

“After having sent the SMS, I was impressed by the huge number of calls that I received from generous individuals and various hotels who were keen on donating dry non-perishable items that will greatly benefit the victims of the disaster.

"I even received calls from people willing to donate huge sums of money that I totally refused to take as my main aim is to collect useful items.”

She added: “One of the heart-breaking aspects of the disaster is the huge loss of the young and the very old, and the loss of men who were the only breadwinners in the family. My main aim is to help provide them with their basic necessities in life.

“I spoke to various local agents and organisations who were likewise supportive, notably P.T. Abdul Rahman from the Dubai Indian Islamic Centre (DIIC) and Jyoti Karmali of the Children Hope Foundation, who donated blankets worth Dh5,000, ShangriLa hotel that donated 100 non-worn overalls as well as blankets. They had even offered to deliver the donated items,” according to her.

“We are a small group of Dubai residents, who are engaged in voluntary work. Most individuals and hotels have mainly donated blankets, clothes and towels.

"I was even offered a section of a warehouse in Al Quoz to store all the donated items, and I am expected to travel to India by next week on the expense of generous companies and airlines to deliver the items and distribute them.”

Young reiterated that cash donations will not be accepted. “In case we receive any cash donation through the mail we will redirect the donated cash to various well-known charity organisations operating in Dubai.

The main reason of launching the SMS is to receive donations from the maximum number of people who hardly have time to deliver the donated items.

By sending us an email, we can reply to them, collect and redirect their donations.”

Jenny said that the plight of the survivors in the afflicted areas is awesome. “It is not enough to sympathise with them. We have to do something concrete to alleviate their suffering. One SMS actually made a big difference in this endeavour,” she said.

Those interested in donating items can send an email to initiate the process at dubaiasiarelief@yahoo.com.

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