Last fall, Sikh Dharma hosted a fund-raiser for a regional hospital in Venezuela. The lack of food and medicine in that country is overwhelming and raising money is just one step – finding a way to spend that money on the people who need it is not as easy as it may seem. The most successful efforts are the small ones, born from love and a deep desire to help. We were very fortunate to find Valentina Keeler and her organization Lejos Pero No Ausentes (Far Away But Not Gone). She sends shipments to Venezuela of basic foods and medicines, through a channel of relatives, and successfully gets supplies in-country where big organizations can not. Sikh Dharma was able to send over $11,000 last fall, and she is still spending and sending packages every month.
Ivonne Capechhi, a nurse at the hospital and recipient of these shipments, recently wrote:
“Friends how to explain the terrible situation that we found yesterday – we need the help of everyone! [There was] an entire malnourished family – the babies with worms coming out of their mouths, needing vancomycin and meropenen antibiotics. These one young ones are about to die for lack of medicines.
Yesterday we delivered food bags, personal hygiene items, and medicine to five families. In the hospital we deliver medicine when we can, but we definitely can’t do this alone! I want to thank … the foundation Lejos Pero No Ausentes and Valentina Keeler for the special food she sent for malnutrition. It was delivered yesterday to the needy. [Thank you] to Ram Krishan Kaur Khalsa and [Sikh Dharma], the foundation to which she belongs, that has made it possible for food to be serve to so many people in hunger. …Thank you all and please stay involved because this situation affects us all! In this madness, we face of misery, death, and pain every day.”
Although the fundraiser from Sikh Dharma has finished, please keep the people of Venezuela in your thoughts and prayers. Lejos Pero No Ausentes takes donations directly on their website if you wish to give.