When disaster strikes, it is easy to see those affected as victims in need. At Mercy Relief, we witness something beyond that. We see people who help one another to rise undefeated, whose tenacity to survive, fight back, and grow defines the indomitable human spirit.
Mercy Relief supports this spirit and believes that empowered communities can change their destinies.
We are honoured to work across Asia alongside survivors, whose courage and determination to protect and restore their communities and ways of life motivate our humanitarian work around the region. Meet the people who inspire us – our survivors, the survivors.
Meet Poonam Devi. As a mother of 2, she was interested to learn how to protect her children from waterborne illnesses. Together with our partners, we demonstrated how to purify water sources and prevent the spread of disease.
“The bucket is my favourite item!”
Devi said, referring to one of the many items provided during our South Asia Flood Relief Distribution Operation.
Saw Htoo Win used to trek 45 minutes every day to collect water.
“I am so happy there is no need to worry about water anymore.”
As part of our Water for Life programme, 15 taps have been installed, increasing access to water for the community in Myawaddy.
Meet P. G. S. Prasadi, aged 30, mother of one and Village Officer of Hemmeliya Village in Galle District, Sri Lanka. Although her own house was completely flooded, she spent her days out arranging relief goods for the community.
“It takes a toll but I can still manage.”
Prasadi perseveres and continues to give back to her community. She’s proud to have been able to serve her village and we, Mercy Relief are proud to have served by her side.
Delfina Amaral, aged 20, is a mother of three. Her family used to fetch water twice a day from a nearby river for their household use.
“Fetching water used to take up to two hours per trip. Now we can even drink water directly from the spring source.”
With the water distribution network implemented by Mercy Relief, she can now do her chores at her doorstep and spend more time with her children.
Narcisio Luis Ataide (left), is one of the student leaders selected to advise his schoolmates on how they should practice good toilet habits.
“It was eye-opening for us boys to participate in the female hygiene lesson as well. Now that the girls can use the toilets and incinerators, they are encouraged to come to school even during their periods. They do not have to skip school anymore.”
Mercy Relief has worked to bring running water to the school toilets, bringing greater convenience and cleanliness for students like Narcisio.
Tasmida and her family of 5, were among the 536,000 displaced people who made the journey to Bangladesh. The 25-year old was most thankful for the clothing items in the dignity kits distributed during relief operations.
“The shawl (pictured) is a useful accessory to have under harsh weather conditions.”
Despite the abundance of aid supplies in the immediate aftermath of the Bangladesh Refugee Crisis, Tasmida, like many other survivors, had been worried about the work opportunities available to her husband to sustain their young family in time to come.
Meet Ibu Hasanah and her son. Ibu Hasanah was a beneficiary and volunteer for our community kitchens in the Maternal & Child Healthcare Programme (MCH) for our Aceh Earthquake Relief efforts.
“I ran to higher ground and saw some of my neighbour’s homes collapse.”
She felt empowered by the opportunity to help others and provide her son ‘good’ food. MCH provided mothers with nutritious meals, health check-ups and medicine.
After attending our post-Nepal Earthquake masonry training, seasoned local mason, Phurba Tamang realised that he had not been using construction techniques that could withstand disasters.
“I know now the reason the houses collapsed. I will use the knowledge, skills and techniques I learned from this training to construct earthquake resistant buildings. I can teach the other villagers too.”
The 36 trained masons currently take on an active role in rebuilding their community and enjoy increased job opportunities.
In April 2015, Durga Rana’s world collapsed around her when the Nepal Earthquake struck.
“I am lucky to be alive.”
Despite losing her home and having to move into a makeshift tent by a jungle, Durga is determined to continue to provide for her family. Choosing not to wait for handouts, she works tirelessly selling pigeon feed to tourists in Kathmandu’s Durbar Square.