PDI Global
[ Village Development Partnership ]
 
 TSUNAMI RELIEF
 
PERSONAL ACCOUNT FROM A YOUTH'S PERSPECTIVE

Dheng, a 22 year-old girl, lives in the village of Bang Pat in Phang Nga, a village that was severely impacted by the tsunami. Despite being young, Dheng is a village leader, responsible for the development of Bang Pat’s fisheries; her maturity and stature made her a prime choice for helping her fellow villagers to cope with the aftermath of the tsunami, even though she has had no prior experience with group rehabilitation.

When PDI - PDA reached out to Bang Pat with post tsunami relief efforts, Dheng decided to participate in PDI - PDA’s Youth Psychological Support and Empowerment Camp. The camp was designed to help village youths to rebuild confidence, learn ways to cope with the trauma of the tsunami, empower females and advance gender equality, promote democratic ideals among communities, gain new skills, and develop income-generation ideas for their respective villages.

When interviewed on June 24th of 2005, Dheng explained that the PDI - PDA Youth Psychological Support and Empowerment Camp gave her even more than what she had anticipated. She became more familiar with the mechanics and anatomy of tsunamis, and gained an understanding beyond their physical impacts. At the same time, Dheng also learned how to open herself to others and express her feelings, particularly those of fear and anxiety about the future. Most importantly, she built strong bonds with other youth leaders, building relationships that will not only provide her with a network of potential partners, but also with life long friends. Having completed the camp, Dheng and her fellow youth leaders returned to their villages to help other villagers.

When a team composed of PDI - PDA and USC delegates visited her on June 24th of 2005, just shy of the six-month anniversary of the tsunami; they noted that Dheng had helped her village recover to some extent . She had applied the skills she learned from PDI - PDA to her village. While speaking with them, she also managed to continue extracting crabmeat from their shells. One of the things that she learned was “value added service” - that it is best to shuck the crabs before sending them off to the market because extracted crabmeat is several times more profitable than the unprocessed variety. Later, she showed the PDI - PDA staff a small fish farm that was set underneath her bungalow, an ideal location considering she fed them the unwanted flesh of her shucked crabs.

 

Dheng was able to bring many skills back from the Youth Psychological Support and Empowerment Camp, likely making Bang Pat a better, stronger village than it was before the Tsunami. As the PDI - PDA staff observed, Dheng is intelligent, skilled, and confident. When asked what was the one camp activity that had helped her the most, she excitedly answered, “everything!” Dheng is currently attending college on the weekends in Phuket, where she is majoring in community development. She looks forward to graduating and using both her academic knowledge and personal experiences to improve the condition of Bang Pat


PDI - PDA’s Youth Camp

 

PDI is a 501(C)(3) organization based in the United States committed to eradicating poverty worldwide