Headlines      Issue Released January 19, 2005


Canadians in the forefront

Working to bring relief to the disaster-stricken areas of the Indian Ocean


Toronto People 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 raising.

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.

Resorting to Prayers

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 area.

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.








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