I’m fortunate enough to know a lady who has the time and resources to fly around the globe helping others. She works with organizations to bring medical supplies to communities that need them. The work they do makes lasting improvements in people’s lives.
Suba Ude’s mission is to organize long term sustainable and participatory creative programs for tsunami affected people. Suba Ude is an organization that functions independently under the wing of its parent organization, the US-based non-profit private organization, A Place Called Home (www.apch.org), whose headquarters are in South Central Los Angeles. Suba Ude is funded by private donations, raised independently of APCH.
In February 2005, Heather Goodwin and Stephanie Bleyer formed Suba Ude in the southern town of Matara. The original mandate was to provide creative and physical outlets to children residing in emergency welfare camps. Since its inception, Suba Ude has built playgrounds, produced marionette shows, painted murals, set up Child Friendly Spaces and Sewing Centres for their mothers, taught swimming classes, and organized sports and arts days. In April Suba Ude’s focus turned to long-term sustainable creative projects. Suba Ude renovated a primary school and started Sase! – a foundation for children’s arts education. Suba Ude also partnered with USAID to provide multi-media training for war-affected youth on the east coast of Sri Lanka. Today, the MonkBag is Suba Ude’s focal project.
Each monk bag is made by a woman who is, through Suba Ude, developing the “skills, resources and confidence” she will need to rebuild a successful livelihood. This is a case not of charity, but of privileged women helping underprivileged women help themselves and their community. (*From the copy on a tag that comes with the bag.)
I doubt I can comprehend what it was like for those who experienced that tsunami a little over two years ago. Besides the enormous loss of life, the damage to property and infrastructure was devastating. Entire communities were displaced. Orphans found themselves living in emergency camps. Suba Ude is working to mitigate the psychological and cultural impact of the disaster, which is just as important as the physical rebuilding.
I don’t know if the bags can be ordered online, but donations can be made at their blog.