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We were able to raise about $3,000 in approximately 10 days. Here is a breakdown of Jolkona Foundation’s relief efforts:

  • We distributed 561 blankets to help the survivors cope with the winter.
  • We provided 460 loaves of bread and 300 packets of cheera and ghur.
  • We gave out thousands of water purifying tablets, as well as other medications.
  • More than 300 families (i.e. more than 1300 individuals) directly received some relief supplies.
  • We built 8 tubewells (also known as bore holes and waterwells) and hence, providing whole villages access to clean drinking water. These tubewells will have direct long term effects on the villages.

We had initially set a target of raising $2,000. We are ecstatic to raise $3,000, but we are even more excited to see the impact that a mere $3,000 had on hundreds of families.

As we mentioned in the previous post, here are some pictures from our relief efforts – http://flickr.com/photos/21733789@N06/sets/72157603419527946/

We are really looking forward to bring more high-impact projects to our users and seeing the continued impact that our donors have around the world!

This past weekend I had the opportunity to go to Bangladesh to help with Jolkona Foundation’s relief efforts in Bangladesh. You might remember that we had a goal to raise $2000 to help with our relief efforts. We are extremely proud to say that we were able to actually collect over $2500 with the help of all of our supporters!!! I will post more details soon about the exact amounts we collected and what sort of impact we were able to make with that.

I wanted to write a brief post about my overall experience – probably the most inspirational day of my life. After driving for 8 hours from Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh we finally reached a remote village near the coast of Bangladesh which had been devastated by the cyclone. It had been 3 weeks since the cyclone struck and even after 3 weeks of incessant cleanup work, one could still see plenty of fallen trees everywhere. These trees that were completely uprooted, are proof of the cyclone’s power of destruction. Once we got to the village itself we spoke with the locals and heard stories that completely astonished us. I remember talking to one guy who had about 10 to15 people in his family. I found out that he did not leave his home after the warnings and instead huddled in a corner of the house accepting death should it come. He mentioned that the closest cyclone shelter was over 1 Km away and that even if they were to survive and leave their home, they would have nothing since their whole life’s earnings was in that home. Aside from the many stories like that, 80% of the village’s rice fields have been wiped out, children are without any clothes and shoes (in winter) because the winds took everything, from the roofs on people’s homes to all of their belongings and on and on… No matter how much TV you watch, you never know the true damage until you visit the area yourself. After this visit, I am convinced that is true for any natural disaster!

We were able to give out a lot with all of the money that was donated, but it still was not enough at all. Every one of the 33 families in that village got something from us which they were all extremely grateful for. We even provided some relief materials to the surrounding areas as much as we could. As individuals picked up their relief goods, they were shocked and grateful for what they received. One of the most touching things that happened to me was the extreme generosity these people had despite having almost nothing. When we arrived to the village, amidst their chaos, one of the families had prepared lunch for us to thank us for our efforts. They had cooked up some really good chicken – a meal that was probably better than anything they had in 3 weeks. I am still in shock about the giving nature of people who have so little, but am excited to be able to provide the opportunity through Jolkona Foundation to allow those of us that do have money to give, to be able to do so in a meaningful way.

In an upcoming post, we will give details of all the items that we distributed and its impact. This was the 1st project for Jolkona Foundation and something we are very proud of. However, that excitement was overshadowed by how much more these people needed and how our efforts seemed so little compared to the destruction in that country.

Before I close out the blog, I really have to thank all the generosity shown by individuals who stepped up and donated to our drive. Your generosity really had profound impact on these people.

I have put up some of the photos from our visit on FlickR and you can get to them from this URL – http://flickr.com/photos/21733789@N06/sets/72157603419527946/

As you can see, we were able to help out a lot of people with only $300. We are so encouraged by that result, that we would like to make another trip with supplies on Dec. 6th.

Our target is to raise at least $2000 by Dec. 4th for this next trip!

Please tell your friends, families, colleagues, strangers, anyone to help out the cyclone victims, even if that is with a small amount!

You can give in two ways:

1. By sending a check to:
Jolkona Foundation
P.O. Box 2153
Kirkland, WA 98083
Please indicate on the check that this is for Bangladesh cyclone victims.

2. By clicking here to send money through PayPal
PayPal will deduct up to 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction� that we receive.

As Adnan mentioned, we just delivered some relief goods to the cyclone victims in Bangladesh. With a mere $300 collected in 2 days, we were able to:

  • Give out 50 blankets
  • Distribute 200 packaged meals
  • Distribute 60 bottles of water
  • Distribute 160 loafs of bread to children under the age of 14
  • Provide 5000 water purifying tablets which can purify 7,500 litres of water

You impacted the lives of more than 75 families affected by the cyclones!

We tried to identify the most effective ways to distribute these items. For example, we gave some of the purifying tablets to tea shops in local piers for boats and ferries. These shops are the usual gathering places for hundreds of people waiting for boats and supplies. We gave the tablets to these shops to make sure the public had clean water in their tea – a common drink in this part of the world.

We also tried to focus on making sure that these items were distributed to areas which have not yet received any attention from the larger relief efforts. Bigger relief organizations are focusing on areas labeled as medium- and high- remote areas. We went to Rongdhonu (means “rainbow” in Bangla) village which is labeled as low- remote area. All 22 families in Rongdhonu completely lost their homes in the cyclone, even though they have not received any help yet.

We (in fact, YOU) were able to provide some help to every family in that village.

I am pleased to say that at this very moment, our friends in Bangladesh is taking $300 worth of relief items to some of the cyclone hit areas in Bangladesh. It is a very emotional time for us, because this marks our first project. Naturally, we are very nervous at this point.

We are also very excited that some of our friends have come forward with the initial donations to make this trip possible. We hope to report back in couple of days about the results from this trip. We hope the results will spur more of you to support our efforts during this time of disaster.

As you may know, last Thursday Bangladesh was hit by a category 4 cyclone. It caused extensive damage across the southwestern part of the country. Here is a short rundown of the damage:

1. More than 3,000 people have already died. The death toll is expected to rise since thousands are still missing.
2. More than 3 million people have been displaced. Most of their homes have been destroyed.
3. The Sundarban forest, home to the endangered Royal Bengal Tiger and a World Heritage site, was badly hit.
4. Many parts of the region are still submerged under water making rescue efforts difficult and raising fears of outbreak of disease.
5. There is a huge shortage of food, medicine, and clean drinking water.

Few of you have asked us if Jolkona is going to do something in this situation. Jolkona Foundation is getting involved in two ways:

Immediate Donations
As a first step, we are asking for immediate monetary donations. $10, $50, $200… any amount that you can spare in this holiday season will go a long way to provide much needed medicine, food and drinking water. Consider these examples:

· $100 can provide food to 70 people for 1 day
· $0.14 can provide 10 water-purifying tablets. Each tablet can purify 2.5 liters of water
· $0.50 can pay for 5 liters of Orsaline (a common Oral Rehydration Salt in Bangladesh)

We have agreements with experienced resources on the ground ready to receive these donations, buy the appropriate items, and distribute the items to the victims. You can give in two ways:

1. By sending a check to:
Jolkona Foundation
P.O. Box 2153
Kirkland, WA 98083
Please indicate on the check that this is for Bangladesh cyclone victims.

2. By clicking here to send money through PayPal
PayPal will deduct up to 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction that we receive.

We will continuously provide updates on our efforts through this blog.

Long term rehabilitation
Once the initial problems have been addressed, the survivors face the daunting task of getting their life back to normalcy. Jolkona Foundation will help out in that area too. Staying true to our vision, we will identify high impact projects where you can contribute and see the proof of your donations at work. We will provide more details about the long term options in few weeks time. The focus right now is very much on getting people the immediate help.

Please consider helping out in this time of need – any amount you can give will go a long way. We would also be grateful if you can forward this message to your family, friends, colleagues, anyone!

At this moment, we are building up our website which is an integral part of our vision and awaiting the approval of our 501(c)3 status. Until we obtain that status, donations that we receive are not going to be tax-deductible.

GET INVOLVED!