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23 July 2008

SA-V pays tribute to the many volunteers and staff who responded to the call to make a difference; helping in all ways possible to aid relief operations for victims of the devastation caused by Cyclone Nargis, in Myanmar.

It was the talk of the town: Cyclone Nargis had moved across southern Myanmar on Friday 2 May, leaving a trail of death and destruction before crossing into Thailand. By then, it had devastated much of the fertile Irrawaddy Delta and Yangon Divisions.

As news poured in about the disaster, my initial reaction left me pondering how I could help. Soon, an opportune time came for me to lend a hand, as word was sent out to all staff of The Salvation Army on how we could volunteer to help in the Myanmar Cyclone Disaster Relief Appeal. I made the decision to ring the bell alongside a collection pot.
With this being my first ever involvement in an appeal like this, I was thrilled on that day to do my part. It seemed that when you’re about to be embark on something new, everything just looks and feels so different; the crowd seemed approachable, the atmosphere— bustle and all— seemed light-hearted and the smiles on people’s faces beamed with warmth even after a long day’s work. All quite different to a typical weekday night in town.

With a bell in my hand, I nervously started ringing it to gather the attention of the passers-by where I was standing. A little cautious of how I should approach people for their donation, I was surprised that many came forward with their donations instead. It didn’t take me long to start approaching strangers, explaining to them the reason for our effort. Everyone seems to be generous— a non-stop traffic of donors coming forth with their donations!

I was reminded of the words of Winston Churchill:

“We make a living by what we do, but we make a life by what we give.”

How true it is! Being a staff member of The Salvation Army, I consider it my privilege to be able to participate in this appeal; to give my time and effort to make a tiny difference for a huge cause.

No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted - Aesop

As I made my way home after completing my shift, these words echoed in my ears (together with the after-effects of ringing the bell too loudly). It was a satisfying experience being a volunteer for the Myanmar Cyclone Disaster Relief Appeal.

Esther Tan
Staff Member
The Salvation Army

Article originally published in the SA-V (Salvation Army Volunteer) Bulletin
July 2008 © All Rights Reserved