Saturday, February 17, 2018

Charities join forces to assist Diego flood victims

Two charity groups joined hands last Saturday to make life more comfortable for the victims of flood now living at the Diego Martin Community Centre in Diamond Vale.

When the Express visited the site, head of the Namaste Foundation out of West Trinidad, Don Bideshi and Deepak Lall of Share Goodness out of Central Trinidad, were off-loading a van packed with several mattresses and boxes of foodstuff.

Bideshi said the two got together and used the social media sites to help establish over 15 drop off points all over the country for donations.

"When we heard this happened we decided to get together and we formed the Project Umbrella," he said.

Lall said they used a Google map showing all the drop-off points and within an hour of the disaster they were able to mobilise their efforts and begin delivering donated items to the area.

"We are very big on social media and we use it to spread the word. We have our own contacts and we have done drives like this already, they (Share Goodness) have done blood drives, we've (Namaste Foundation) done food drives and we both have our strengths and we came together," he said.

"We have gotten a fantastic response, this is just one load," he said.

Both men say they have not just been visiting the designated shelters, but have actually made contact with the residents in order to facilitate people's specific needs.

"We have not heard any negativity. People are just so happy to see people helping and to get help. We walked through the hills and we've filmed some of it and people just want the rest of the country to know what they are dealing with," Lall said.

He said they visited La Puerta on Monday and while the Government agencies were doing a great job in some areas, others weren't getting as much assistance.

"You have heavy equipment moving and cleaning, but in upper La Puerta it's where one of the guys died and I would have thought they would have been helped more. We did not see much agencies there," Bideshi said.

Both men said they have been on the roads since the disaster on August 11 and were amazed at the speed with which things were mobilised.

They said they have already delivered car loads of clothes during the week and would continue for as long as people need help.

"We have more clothes coming in and we are asking people if they are donating. Men's clothes are needed. Diapers is another main need, for kids and adults. We are asking people to keep giving, not just because the Government is doing their bit means they can do everything. We are getting canned goods, but we need foods that they do not have to cook," Bideshi said.

They have asked that would-be donors check their Facebook pages.