A couple of weeks back a good buddy, whom we shall call Bud for now, came up to me with the idea of doing something for the victims. "We'll get the aid workers and volunteers to blog about their experiences," he explained. Aside from just reporting the day-to-day situation, the blog will also highlight the plights and needs of the individual victims. Readers can send donations and updates in the blog will let them see their money in action.
"Imagine a Pak Ali who needs a new roof," he elaborates. "Readers donate and in a few weeks, we see contractors building a new roof for Pak Ali. And all of this will be in pictures, and in progress, for the world to see!" Or something like that. Heh! Nobody quite tells it like he does.
Anyway, as a result of that conversation Project Kasih is born. If you think the name is corny, that's my fault. If you find the logo or the layout of the blog cheesy, that's my fault too. In any case, Project Kasih is up and running and the volunteers have begun blogging. Mind you that for most of them, it's their first time blogging so you'll excuse their inelegant placement of pictures and photos. :) Still, do log in to offer your advice and perhaps a couple of words of encouragement.
Bud, apart from initiating the project, will also be injecting some cold hard cash and pulling some cables to get his friends in high places to help out. These will come in monetary aid (which is always good) and some much needed publicity to get the gears shifting. Last I heard, Project Kasih will be put under the auspices of a government agency to help ease whatever red-tape that may arise.
On our part, bloggers can contribute in many ways. You can donate to the victims. You can sponsor an aid worker (volunteers need to feed their family too). You can blog in Project Kasih. You can spread the word. You can even volunteer to go to Banda Aceh and I'll try to get Bud to put his money where his mouth is and give you an all-expenses trip there - to help out, of course.
The plan is grand. And with all that cash, string-pulling and governmental involvement it could get pretty high-profile pretty quick. Some people might even ride this thing for the mileage it could potentially generate - mock cheques and all. On the flipside, however, more publicity can also mean more aid. And as long as aid gets across to the people, that can never be a bad thing. And all this offers the blogging community yet another way to help out. We can monitor this thing closely, scrutinising it's every turn and making sure that every "transaction" is well and good.
Well, that's that. If you haven't already done so, please log in to kasih.org for a look see. By the way, if you'd like, do take one of these banners to link the page.
UPDATE:Thank you for all those of you who have put up links to promote Project Kasih. As much as I would like to see this blog project succeed, I cannot take credit for initiating or creating this thing. I merely volunteered some design ideas. :)