of all stripes throughout Canada have come together in every way
imagineable to help bring some respite to the pain and suffering of
those nations in South Asia that were devastated by the tsunami.
The disaster has changed the landscape of many
countries but has had an equally telling effect on the hearts and
minds of people far and wide. The world has responded as an army of
helpers drawn together by a tacit acceptance of the fact that this
tragedy is way beyond ordinary human comprehension. Its enormity
coupled with its finality lays all arguments to rest.
From all quarters, Canadians have come forward and
responded to the need of the hour with total commitment. From the
topmost levels of government to kids in the schools, from established
charities and aid organizations to small businesses, church bodies,
sports organizations, cultural groups, restaurants and bars, everyone
appears to be moved enough to take some initiative towards fund
Although money is pouring in as never before to
help those hit by this tragedy, there is a quiet realization that all
the money put together will not be able to repair the damage done to
the collective psyche of all the people.
As of this reporting, donationsmade through
Canadian charities, not including the government's $80M, is almost at
the $100M mark to be matched by the federal government. The amounts
being raised by ordinary Canadians not included in the above tally and
which will continue long after the dust settles, will never be known.
Above: Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty lights a
candle symbolizing hope at the Shree Swaminarayan Hindu Mandir on
Sunday January 9, 2005 where a Multi-Faith Pray-a-Thon took place for
the victims and survivors of the disaster. The Premier spent a few
minutes in silence offering prayers. Thousands of people of all faiths
and background prayed here for the victims.
2nd from top: While on a mission to observe first
hand the effects of the Boxing Day disaster in the affected South
Asian regions, Scarborough-Agincourt Member of Parliament Jim
Karygiannis visited an orphanage in Jaffna with Mr. Anthoney
Sellarajah, a Toronto businessman who sponsors the orphanage through
the Foster Parent Association. Twenty eight children from the
orphanage alone died as a result of the rising tides that engulfed the
3rd from top: President Omar Farouk of the
International Muslim Organization in Toronto presents a cheque for
$85,000 from his group to Kaleem Akhtar, Executive Director of Human
Concern International to aid the victims of the disaster. Mr. Akhtar
outlined plans to distribute over $500,000 raised by Muslim groups
throughout the country.
Below: A wide cross section of the community gathered at the Vedic
Cultural Centre (VCC) in Markham for a multi-faith service dedicated
to the Tsunami Relief efforts. Twelve faiths including Hindu,
Christian, Sikh, Buddhist, Bahai and Muslim offered prayers. The Lt.
Governor of Ontario, Members of Parliament, Local M.P.Ps, the Mayor of
Markham and the leaders of community all made presentations. The VCC
and the Vishnu Mandir held a Radio-Thon and a TV-Thon to raise funds.