Tsunami Volunteer Center
People of many nationalities, ethnicities and beliefs lost their lives or are suffering as a result of the 26 December 2004 tsunami. The scope of the tragedy has united us in our sadness and in our desire to help devastated communities rebuild.
Southern Thailand, like many badly affected areas, became a destination for concerned people from all over the world in the immediate aftermath of the tsunami. Recognizing the long-term potential of the volunteer workforce that assembled itself here, the Mirror Foundation launched the Tsunami Volunteer Center as a means of channeling volunteer resources into the local communities.
The mission of the Tsunami Volunteer Center is to serve as a partner in the rebuilding of Thailand’s tsunami-affected communities, responding to the local people’s self-defined needs, and to provide the opportunity for volunteers from all over the world to contribute to this process.
- We seek to engender self-sufficiency within the surrounding communities and to help people develop skills to support themselves. - We follow the lead of local Thai people, partner with them in rebuilding efforts, and stay involved for as long as we are needed. - We are committed to working in a manner that respects the dignity of local residents, and to serving all community members equally. - We coordinate with other groups and with community representatives to avoid duplication of services and to fill service gaps efficiently.
The Center invites volunteers to be at the forefront of all of its initiatives. The management team consists of Mirror Foundation staff and experienced long-term volunteers.
The Center initially focused on the most urgent needs of people in this region. When their immediate needs had been met, the disaster phase drew to a close and local communities began the slow process of rebuilding. The Center shifted accordingly to longer-term efforts that promote sustainable solutions to the daunting problems confronting the tsunami-affected communities.
Since the Center’s overarching purpose is to address the self-defined needs of the surrounding communities, there is no permanent agenda relating to specific activities. Current projects include construction, education, furniture-making, community income-generating activities and environmental restoration. Long-term plans currently under discussion relate to promoting the economic development of affected communities and the human rights of community members. The Center will sustain its activities for as long as they are useful, while continuing a dialogue with local residents to determine what other activities might be appropriate in the future.