Sri Lankan AssistRR president Eng. Henry Amalraj recently received a request to visit the above village to assess the living conditions in the village. Henry visited it and identified that there were many desperate needs including wells, toilets, shelters, and livelihood support. He approached Children’s Hunger Relief Fund (CHRF), UK, who agreed to fund 35 wells. A project for providing wells, funded by CHRF, is currently underway. Henry also requested AssistRR, UK, to visit the village to assess their needs. AssistRR visited this village on 13/14 Oct 2020 and assessed the needs. There are nearly 150 families, including rehabilitated LTTE former members, living in this village. One family of 3 children, of which the wife was a rehabilitated LTTE member, did not have mats to sleep on the sand floor and was using a piece of string and a piece of saree tied together to fetch water from the well. This family’s need was addressed immediately. The following needs were identified as a result:
- 44 families need proper shelters as they are now living in very pathetic condition – Planning to build safe and acceptable shelters @ Rs 300k per shelter.
- 45 families have no toilets and have been using the bushes as cover in the outskirts of the village.
- There are 43 half-done toilets that need completion.
There are 28 women headed families including a number of young widows. AssistRR are very keen to provide some livelihood support to these women headed families. There are another 122 families, who are capable of fishing. However, due to lack of fishing gear, men are working as fishing labourers in Udappu, near Puttalam. The families are very eager to commence their fishing activities in their own village, so that the men can stay at home and work. This would require assistance to purchase fishing gear as follows: 40 families have canoes and are requesting fishing nets only; 3 families have boats and engines, but need nets to go fishing; Remaining 79 families would require engine boats and nets for fishing locally. We could provide one set of boat, engine and nets to five families. This would equate to needing 16 boats. An anonymous donor family have agreed to fund £25k to purchase 10 sets of boats at a cost of around Rs 600,000.00 per set. We need another £20k to purchase another 6 sets of boats and nets to 43 families mentioned above.
The total cost of this project is around £122k. IMHO USA has agreed to join forces and have already started raising funds. CHRF, UK, is also considering contributing towards building 45 new toilets at a total cost of around £15k. AssistRR and IMHO USA need to raise around £82k to complete this project. In order to raise funds for this project, AssistRR have started a crowdfunding appeal for which we are aiming to raise £50,000. We would love it if you could donate using the link below to access our project page. Any contribution large or small will be hugely appreciated. Thank you. Please donate by pressing here
Dr Sivanesan Pirabakaran was recently appointed to Mullaitivu District General Hospital (DGH) as acting consultant Dermatologist. He was trying to establish a permanent fully equipped skin unit in the history of Mullaitivu DGH. Dr Pirabakaran has seen numerous patients with viral warts, Seborrheic keratosis, epidermal nevus, molluscum contagiousum, and various tiny skin tumours in his day-to-day skin clinic at his clinic. He informed Assist RR that the best treatment for these conditions are either cryotherapy or electro cautery. Unfortunately these instruments were not available at Mullaitivu DGH or at Medical supply division of Health Ministry. Dr Pirabakaran was therefore managing the patients by sending them to Kilinochi DGH for treatments. However, patients were suffering as a result of the need to travel to Kilinochchi. Dr Pirabakaran made a request to Assist RR to donate a Brymill liquid nitrogen Cryotherapy set (a gun and a tank) to the skin clinic at Mullaittivu DGH. An anonymous kind hearted donor donated £3000 for purchasing this set of equipment, which was handed over to skin clinic of Mullaitivu DGH on 14 July 2020. Dr Niluxson, Director of Mullai DGH, and Dr Pirabakaran, consultant Dermatologist, received the equipment set from Assist RR.
It is almost a month since the curfew was imposed in Sri Lanka. Although the government had promised financial support to families, who depend on daily wage earners, they are yet to receive any support from the government. It appears that these families may receive a grant of Rs 5000.00 per family shortly. However, we have been told that these families have been borrowing from friends and families for their survival for nearly a month and this grant of Rs 5000 will not last longer after paying back the loans. Following the appeal on 28 March, AssistRR have managed to raise Rs 6,778,816.00 and assisted 6700 families by providing Rs 1000.00 worth of dry rations, that should last for a week for a family of 4/5. We received contributions from like minded organisations and friends as given in this link: Coronavirus relief efforts. In addition to IMHO’s Rs 1,550,000 support (assisted 1500 families), IMHO USA have directly distributed dry rations to another 7820 families in the north and east of Sri Lanka. In total, AssistRR, IMHO, and other likeminded organisations and individuals have supported 14520 families in the north and east of Sri Lanka since the start of this campaign. Please click this link (Coronavirus relief efforts) to see the table for the areas (Divisional Secretariat Divisions) and number of families covered. The beneficiaries have been identified and selected by the respective Divisional Secretaries with the assistance of Grama Sevakas. Distribution of dry rations were also carried out by the Divisional Secretaries. Please note that we haven’t met the 100% need, which was around 120,000 families in the north and east. AssistRR would like to thank all like minded organisations and individuals who supported this appeal and ensured that 14520 families were able to survive for at least a week.
Sri Lanka has been under curfew for the past 10 days due to Coronavirus pandemic. Many families, which depend on daily wageworkers, have been struggling to feed themselves due to their inability to work. Although the government has promised to provide assistance to these families, it hasn’t reached the affected families yet. We have been approached to provide some emergency relief to these families so that they can survive during this crisis. There are nearly 2000 families in Nedunkerni Divisional Secretary (DS) division in Vavuniya district that depend on daily wages. AssistRR agreed to assist and have already distributed dry rations worth Rs 1000.00 that would last for a week to 500 families in Nedunkerni DS division. I personally visited 3 villages during the curfew with the assistance of the Divisional Secretary Mr Prathaban and saw first-hand of the distribution on 26th March. The system is working very well. The Divisional Secretaries have already collated lists of beneficiaries, who require this assistance. IMHO USA and Anbalayam Australia have also come forward to assist another 500 families each. Some of my classmates from Hartley College are also assisting another 500 families. We are therefore providing assistance to 2000 affected families in Nedunkerni DS Division in partnership with likeminded organisations and individuals. However, this is a problem faced by all families, which depends on daily wageworkers, all over Sri Lanka. With your support, we can assist many more families. AssistRR would implement this assistance with the support of Divisional Secretaries. Please kindly consider.
We are pleased to inform that AssistRR arranged 579 free cataract surgeries in 2019, under very difficult circumstances. Majority of the patients were from Mannar and Mullaithivu and were taken to hospitals near Colombo for the surgeries. Breakdown of the surgeries is given in this link: Breakdown of Cataract Surgeries. AssitRR would like to express its gratitude to Creador Foundation from Malaysia, Canada Scarborough Sai Group, Optical Seva (UK London Sai Group), and An anonymous donor from UK for their generous financial support towards these surgeries. Special thanks to Ramakrishna Mission (Colombo) for lending their facility for patients to perform their morning ablutions, and to Mr Kumutharanjan Arulkumaran, who has been taking these patients to Colombo for surgeries and taking care of them. A surgery is currently costing around £45-£50 due to various reasons, which are beyond our control. We should point out that this is the cheapest cost of a surgery at present. If anyone/any organisation interested in funding surgeries, please kindly contact us. There is still a huge backlog and we can certainly help the poor, elderly and vulnerable patients to regain their eyesight.
Photos are given in the links below:
Suwanetha Eye Hospital – Mannar Patients – 13/07/19: https://photos.google.com/album/AF1QipPQxncPGDlip4yaAduj9bZTz3jBkt3Gzy_x4G
Kadawatha Lions Hospital – Mullaithivu Patients – 18/08/19: https://photos.google.com/album/AF1QipNeRQO6u_vR3t4re8ekk-A_4rT7O0XGFVu4YyaD
Suwanetha Eye Hospital – Mullaithivu Patients – 07/09/19: https://photos.google.com/album/AF1QipPdxJeaPSYmGJjNndjDisCeD4fjsTDDZptDmU_z
Suwanetha Eye Hospital – Mannar Patients – 21/09/19: https://photos.google.com/album/AF1QipM35OLyr78ascudP0B-iDfY9CFmHuPG44pULh2Y
Suwanetha Eye Hospital – Pathaviya Patients – 12/10/19: https://photos.google.com/album/AF1QipN3JFsCSSHdjHpsz9RDzDE7ZudiRL1BaRuPImz2
Vavuniya DGH – Mullaithivu Patients – 26/10/19: https://photos.google.com/album/AF1QipPfCZziJhNcNuikK00JEGe3_G5y2L9YtVDT0AKU
AssistRR, with the support of like minded organisations (IMHO USA, Tamil Forum Malaysia and CHRF UK) have been donating fishing equipment to families who were displaced from their coastal villages due to the war and were living without carrying out their livelihood. Many of them have been working as labourers for very little and have been struggling to look after their families. As the capital investment to buy a boat, engine and nets is around Rs 600,000.00 per one set, these families have been unable to afford to invest in the fishing equipment. AssistRR carried out a pilot study in Sampoor, Trincomalee, by providing 10 sets of equipment (one set = 1 boat, 1 engine and 10 nets) to 50 families to be shared between them. Data gathered later showed that these families were earning very well and one family had already bought a boat of their own. AssistRR therefore wanted to expand this to other areas and partnered with IMHO USA to raise funds to donate more boats. Solihull Junior School Head Master, Mr Mark Penney and Mrs Donna Penney voluntarily came forward to walk 55kM to raise funds for this cause and walked in the UK on 25 Aug 2018. Following their walk, they raised nearly £50,000.00 in the UK and USA. Using this sum and funds raised at AssistRR dinners, AssistRR have now donated 28 sets of boats, engines and nets, in addition to the 17 sets donated (by IMHO USA – 10, TFM – 5, & CHRF UK – 2) earlier in Trincomalee district. In total 45 sets have already been given and are being shared by 225 families. The families are earning around Rs 3000-4000 per day and are very grateful to Diaspora Tamils and other nationals who have contributed. AssistRR also would like to thank all those who were involved in this project and enabled families to stand on their own feet. In particular, we would like to express our gratitude to Mr & Mrs Penneys for their hard walk and for raising the enormous sum of £50,000.00 towards this project. We are indebted to them for their tireless services to the victims of war in Sri Lanka. 14 sets were handed over to the beneficiaries by Mr & Mrs Penneys during their visit to Sri Lanka in Oct 2019.