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HOW TO HELP: ‘Desktop Activism’ – An Initiative by young professionals @ “Turn The Tide”

August 26, 2010

Some young professionals, including Adnan Malik, Adnan Millwala, Hamaad Haider, Juvaria Jaffri, Laleh Habib, Mehrunnisa Yusuf, Munizeh Sanai and Sana Babar have come together on an unofficial platform called ‘Turn the Tide’ and have structured a relief effort YOU can lead! Now you can become a relief activist, right from your desktop.

Dear Prospective Activist,

Turn the Tide is initiating a joint venture fund raiser for the flood victims with Karachi Relief Trust. We am writing to you, not for your donations, but for your participation. Participation is simple: reach out to your donor base, ideally foreign – particularly your alumni network and facebook contacts.

Reproduced below is a draft letter that may be used by you. Contents of the draft letter are self explanatory. A read of the draft letter will clarify the structure of this fund raiser. Please read the letter before proceeding:

“Dear Friends:

In the recent past natural disasters have not been uncommon but the floods in Pakistan, which have inundated one fifth of the country and displaced 20 million people, appear to surpass them all. According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs the number of people affected is higher than the Haiti earthquake, the Indian Ocean tsunami and Kashmir earthquake combined. This country needs your help.

Our Initiative:

The need of the hour is food, water, medication, clothing and shelter. As a first step in channeling relief efforts we have decided to focus our aid and endeavours towards ‘drinking water’ in conjunction with a private trust called Karachi Relief Trust (KRT) (http://www.karachirelieftrust.org) which is doing an admirable job in organising relief efforts across Pakistan in multiple areas. We are procuring a water purifying apparatus as there is acute shortage of drinking water and deadly water borne diseases (in particular cholera) are fast emerging as potentially the most serious threat to millions.

How can you help?

For provision of drinking water KRT has already imported limited quantities of a product called Life Straw Family, a water purification apparatus designed for use in disaster zones. It uses no power or spare parts, costs $25 plus duties, and cleanses 18,000 liters of contaminated water. KRT is trying to obtain exemption from the duties. You may visit http://www.vestergaard-frandsen.com/lifestraw/lifestraw-family for information on this product.

We have worked out an arrangement with KRT which ensures transparency and is logistically effective. KRT has agreed to import the product for us with donations received from you. To ensure your money is tracked and accounted for KRT has opened a separate bank account dedicated for money donated by you (Dedicated Account). All monies received in the Dedicated Account will be used to provide relief to the victims (note: administrative and operational costs pertaining to the relief, including but not limited to transportation and distribution costs thereof will be borne by KRT and us).

Once procured [my friends and I / my friends (delete as appropriate)] will personally transport relief goods to the affected areas through logistics networks of KRT, which has penetrated many flood hit areas and is running various camps for the displaced. [We / They] will distribute the product amongst the flood victims and train them on how to use the product. I commit to report back to you with details of the relief efforts and account for exactly how your donations were utilised.

Besides donating may I request you to widely circulate this e-mail amongst family and friends, and encourage them to do the same.

While our efforts will woefully fall short of the dire needs of the 20 million victims, we nonetheless think it necessary to act.

Should you wish to help the flood victims (by supporting our efforts or otherwise), please do so immediately. Wire transfer details of the Dedicated Account are as under:

Account Holder:         Karachi Relief Trust

Account No.:              010-2412-3

Bank:                           United Bank Limited

Branch:                        Sunset Boulevard

Branch Code:              1620

Swift:                          UNILPKKA

Donors from USA, may also transfer funds using their debit/credit card (Visa/Mastercard) through United Bank Limited’s ‘ClickNRemit’ facility athttps://remit.ublny.com/index.php.  Please read the FAQ section before using.

Please notify any donations made to the Dedicated Account at [Please insert your e-mail address] and copy the same to turnthetide.pakistan@gmail.com so we can ensure receipt of the same.

[You may contact me directly at Ph: (Optional)]

Sincerely,”

___________________________________________

In a nutshell: Various people raising funds, such as yourself, bring the money, KRT provides the account, KRT helps us import, we ride on KRT’s network and distribute.

Structure: Based on our individual credibility You start our solo fund raising drives and reach out to our personal foreign networks. Foreign donors are our target as donor fatigue has set in locally. You provide our own e-mails and keep turnthetide.pakistan@gmail.com copied on to correspondence so we keep track of your donors. You own your fund raiser so you may alter the proposed draft above and approach your donor base as you please (facebook groups, alumni networks, etc.) What we have in common is: (i) the Dedicated Account, and (ii) the objective: provision of ‘drinking water’ through import and distribution of Life Straw Family.

Report: Turn the Tide will prepare a final report which you may forward to your donors.

Import: Searle Pharmaceuticals is helping import this product. They have given a non-binding indication to donate one unit for every unit we import! We are currently working on duty exemption. HBL has imported substantial volumes of this product as well and and procured exemption from duty.

Distribution: All our credibility pooled we can raise a decent sum, and as such will require as many hands as we can get. We are all encouraged, but not required, to go to affected areas and distribute the product ourselves. A bit of training is involved as well which is simple.

Dedicated Account: While the account is in the name of KRT, as we did not want to accept donations in our personal accounts, Turn the Tide will have complete access to it.

Those who are willing to, please confirm your participation.

Please do not hesitate to contact us at turnthetide.pakistan@gmail.com should you require any clarification.

Warm regards,

Turn the Tide

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