Tsunami victims still needing help
Posted on December 8, 2005
Tyrone Spence will never forget seeing at first hand the scenes of devastation that followed the Asian tsunami.
He was among a team that flew out with charity Mission Direct to Sri Lanka eight weeks after the Boxing Day tsunami struck.
Now, as the first anniversary of the horrific disaster approaches, he is urging self-financing volunteers to come forward with offers of practical help to bring joy into the lives of orphans in northern Sri Lanka.
Those volunteers play their part by spending just two weeks of their life working on a project to improve and extend an orphanage in a small town called Kilinochchi, in a Tamil-controlled area.
Tyrone, lives with wife Angela, and children Oliver, Natalie, and Rosanna, and formerly lived in Eaton Bray.
He is a former churchwarden of St Mary's Church, Eaton Bray, and is the owner and managing director of Colour Quest in Hemel Hempstead.
Tyrone is also among volunteers backing efforts by Mission Direct, based in Luton, to help people in Sri Lanka to rebuild their lives.
In the latest issue of Church of England newsletter Seeround, he told of the sights that met his eyes when he travelled out to Sri Lanka after the tsunami.
"Nothing prepared me for waht I saw. It was as though an atom bomb had been dropped on the coastline - everything was flattened," he said.
"I was bewildered by the sheer power of the tsunami wave, which was the height of two coconut trees."
On their visit, the Mission Direct team met 55 girls living in the orphanage which they have since been helping, run by the church in Kilinochchi.
Tyrone said: "As we met these children, who had only 25 beds between them, it brought tears to our eyes."
Six of the youngsters were left orphans after the tsunami disaster and were now facing life without their families.
The team had an on-the-spot whipround and managed to come up with enough cash to provide more beds for the girls.
Volunteers have been going out to Kilinochchi since July to help build an extension to the girls' orphanage, a new kitchen and toilets.
Tyrone said: "By building a new dormitory, we will give each child a bed and a sense of dignity. But we need volunteers and we need money for building materials.
"Each trip lasts for two weeks, so you don't have to put your whole life on hold to volunteer. No skills required - just enthusiasm!"
To find out more, and to obtain an application form, email [email protected] or telephone Mission Direct in Luton on 01582 720056.
Source: Anne O'Donoghue, Dunstable Gazette, 7 December 2005
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