As people around the world scramble to add their private assistance to supplement official government relief efforts in the Indian Ocean Basin, there are numerous worthy avenues that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender New Yorkers can pursue to make a difference.
Sri Lanka’s Equal Ground
The island nation of Sri Lanka suffered more than 30,000 deaths from the tsunami-related damage, including at least 36 people already identified from the gay group Companions on a Journey. Equal Ground, the LGBT organization in Sri Lanka, is working to ensure that relief outreach—food, clean water, clothing, medicine and other vital needs—reach the many gay and transgendered survivors struggling to normalize their lives. The group’s efforts, however, will assist any Sri Lankan in need.
Diverse Communications, a non-profit, LGBT-run organization in Chicago, a city with a significant South Asian population, has agreed to be the single receiving point on behalf of the Equal Ground Relief and Assistance Program.
Garden State Equality, the LGBT political group in New Jersey, has issued an appeal for area residents interested in helping to direct donations to Equal Ground through Diverse Communications.
For more information on Equal Ground, visit equalground.org. For more information about Diverse Communicatiosn, visit diversecommunications.com. Donations to Sri Lanka, marked Sri Lanka Fund, can be forwarded to Diverse Communications, 1146 South Taylor Ave., Oak Park, IL 60304.
Rainbow World Fund
This San Francisco-based philanthropic group provides relief in the U.S. and overseas to people and communities that suffer from hunger, poverty, disease, oppression and war. Partnering with other international relief groups, the Rainbow World Fund has focused its efforts on global HIV/AIDS, water development, landmine eradication and hunger.
Since the tsunami struck, the fund has raised more than $150,000, including a $100,000 donation from the Human Rights Campaign, the Washington-based gay lobbying group, for disaster relief in South Asia.
Through its work, the fund aims not only to alleviate suffering in the world, but also to educate the LGBT community about global problems and communities around the world about the commitment of LGBT people to pitch in.
CARE, the international relief group, is the group that administers money donated to the Rainbow World Fund.
For more information on the Rainbow World Fund, visit rainbowfund.org. Specifiy “Asia Response” in any donation you make.
Beyond its work with the Rainbow World Fund, of course, CARE is mounting a comprehensive, multi-country emergency response that includes food, water, purification tables, shelter materials and basic medical supplies. If you are interested in learning more or making a donation, visit careusa.org or call 800-521-CARE between 8 a.m. and midnight.
American Red Cross
In tandem with its partners, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, the American Red Cross is increasing its presence in the tsunami-stricken areas. A total of 16 officials of the group are already on hand in India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives, with expertise in family tracing, water and sanitation, logistics, and mental health. A shipment of family tents is currently on route to Sri Lanka to provide emergency shelter.
To learn more about the American Red Cross effort, visit redcross.org.