Soka Gakkai and Singapore Soka Association Contribute to Myanmar Cyclone Relief
On May 19, 2008, Soka Gakkai General Director Masaaki Masaki visited the Tokyo office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to make a donation of 3 million yen (US$28,800) in support of relief efforts following the May 2 cyclone which has devastated the Irrawaddy Delta area of Myanmar.
UNHCR Representative in Japan Saburo Takizawa and Japan Association for UNHCR Executive Director Kaoru Nemoto expressed their gratitude for the donation. Mr. Takizawa said that UNHCR deeply appreciated this generous gesture and that the donation would benefit those suffering in Myanmar.
UNHCR has a large local team already working in the country and pledged that the funds would be efficiently used to buy tents to provide urgently needed shelter. The agency aims to provide a total of 50,000 tents which could house 250,000 people.
Mr. Masaki stated, "We strongly wished to take action to relieve the suffering of the people of Myanmar and we feel confident that UNHCR is well placed to do this."
Singapore Soka Association (SSA) has assisted relief efforts organized by Mercy Relief, a Singapore-based organization promoting humanitarian relief and development projects in Asia.
Five tons of relief goods which were purchased by Mercy Relief and packed by SSA members and other volunteers at the SSA Youth Center on May 9 were sent to Myanmar in two shipments on May 13 and 15. SSA also raised a total of Singapore $48,000 (US $35,000) in a fundraising drive which has been donated to Mercy Relief for further relief activities in Myanmar.
[Adapted from an SGI Office of Public Information press release and an article in the May 20, 2008 issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan; photos courtesy of UNHCR]