Mass Cataract Surgery Camp in Vavuniya 31/5 – 04/06 2016

We would like to inform that we have successfully completed our mass cataract surgery camp on 3rd June and the surgeons from India and Singapore have restored eye sight, at least in one eye, to 486 patients. There were many patients who came blind and returned home being able to see the world after long time. When many of them were thanking us, the surgeons and the donors, they couldn’t control their emotions and were in tears. The patients were full of praise for all those involved in the camp. It was very touching and heart-warming to see their happiness after their eyesights were restored. It is very difficult to describe this feeling by words. Many of them come from very poor background and have been waiting for months and years to restore their eyesights. They told us that they couldn’t do the surgeries due to their financial situation and that they have now undergone the surgery because of the free camp organised by Assist RR in partnership with Vision 2020, Sri Lanka, The Vision Mission, Singapore, and Rotary Club of Mullaitivu. Thanks to our kind hearted donors, 486 elderly and vulnerable people are now able to see the world. The donors are as follows:

1. Kaarai Welfare Society through Enlightenment Circle of UK – 100 surgeries – Majority from Mullaitivu district;
2. Gods Own Children Foundation and Anbalayam both from Australia – 100 surgeries – Majority from Mannar district;
3. Funded in Memory of late Mr Vigneswararajah Rajaratnam from Kondavil & Toronto through Assist RR – 100 surgeries – from Kilinochchi district;
4. Solihull Junior School, West Midland, UK – 100 surgeries – Vavuniya district;
5. Funded in Memory of late Miss Maheswary Velauthm, attorney at law, Karaveddy, through Assist RR – 86 Surgeries – Anuradhapura district.

Assist RR have now organised, with the support of many organisations, and completed more than 2100 surgeries in Sri Lanka. In addition to organising these camps, Assist RR have also funded a part of the 2100 surgeries. We are hoping that The Vision Mission, in partnership with Assist RR, will continue to provide surgeons to help the needy in Sri Lanka. We would like to thank all the donors as listed above, the surgeons, The Vision Mission, Vision 2020, Rotary Club of Mullaitivu, wonderful staff of Vavuniya General Hospital, sisters from Colombo eye hospital, and many others who have made this surgery camp a very successful one.

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A Pre-School Built in Sampoor, Trincomalee‏

As you are aware, nearly 1000 families, who were displaced in 2006 due to the war and were languishing in four camps and with friends and relatives, were finally allowed to return to their land from August 2015. The IDP families needed support and their desperate needs included shelters, toilets, water, livelihood support and school shelters.  Following a request from the GA of Trincomalee, Assist RR agreed to build a pre- school and approached Building Blocks,UK, which is a registered charity in the UK and run by our second generation. Building Blocks agreed to fund construction of a pre-school in Sampoor at a  cost of £7000 and, in addition, agreed to fund play equipment and fence around the school and furniture at a cost of £1660. The construction has now been completed and the school was ceremonially opened for use yesterday. Members of Building Blocks, who are on a field trip in Sri Lanka, participated in the opening ceremony. This project wouldn’t have been possible without the generous support of Building Blocks, UK. Assist RR would like to express it gratitude to Building Blocks for their kind support to Sampoor IDP families. Assist RR has been approached by the GA’s office and the ZDE of Muthur to provide one more pre-school, as the 2nd phase of resettlement of 546 families started on 25 March 2016. The pre-school would assist mothers in the area to be involved in livelihood activities without worrying about looking after their children during school times. Please kindly consider supporting this need. 

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To view more photos, please click this Facebook page link.

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Providing a 2-storey building to J/Manatkadu CTM School

Manatkadu village, along the east coast of Jaffna peninsula, was badly affected by the 2004 Tsunami. 72 villagers were killed including 19 school children. J/Manatkadu CTM school and all the houses were destroyed by the Tsunami. The school has been functioning in a building built by the parents, a temporary shelter that was built after the Tsunami, in the corridors of the next door church, and under trees. Sadly, even after 12 years of Tsunami, the temporary metal shelter is being used for classrooms. The school is near the shore and within the Tsunami zone. A land outside Tsunami zone has been identified and the Northern Provincial Council (NPC) want to build a school in this new land. People have already move out of the Tsunami zone and are living around the land identified for the school. The locals desperately want to have this school in their new settlement, as the children are walking a long way in very hot conditions and without wearing shoes. The temporary metal shelter is also proving to be too hot and is not conducive for learning.

Further to our visit in March 2016, Assist RR approached a number of organisations for funds and managed to secure sufficient funds to construct a 2-storey building. The donors are: Puloly Pandithar Kandiah Vinasithamby Family Trust Fund, UK; Malaysian Tamil Diaspora; Building Blocks, UK; Assist RR. Assist RR would like to thank the above donors for coming forward and for helping the village to have an acceptable and safe environment for their children’s learning. Further to securing funds, foundation laying ceremony was conducted on 21 April 2016 at the new school site. The governor of NPC, Hon Mr R Cooray, Jaffna GA Mr Vethanayagan, NPC Education Minister Hon Mr Kurugularasa and many others including Mr Kandiah Manikkam representing Pandithar Vinasithamby Trust Fund participated in the ceremony. A few photos of the ceremony are also attached. The building would be completed by Sept 2016. Since we agreed to do this project, the NPC has also laid foundation for a second building on the same day. This will ensure that the whole school will be relocated after completion of these two buildings.

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Sampoor Resettlement – 2nd Phase – Urgent Needs

We hope you are aware that 546 families were resettled in the 2nd phase of Sampoor resettlement on 25 March 2016 following the release of 216 acres of land occupied by the navy and others. We have been informed that no commitments have been received so far to assist these families apart from the hand out of Rs 35,000 by the government towards the resettlement. We were asked whether we would provide some temporary shelters as we did in the 1st phase. I am sure you are aware that we built 55 shelters and toilets with the financial assistance of Shri Kanagathurkkai amman temple Ealing, TTVK Singapore, Sivanarulillam, and Assist RR. We hope we can do more temporary houses to assist some of these families with the help of the Diaspora. Importantly, we were asked whether we would provide some toilets as a matter of urgency, as there are nearly 1000 women and girls in this latest resettlement, who have no access to toilets. They are also living in a cram condition. In order to help these unfortunate people, we were asked whether we would provide at least 20 toilets as a matter of urgency so that they all can share them until they get their own toilets in the future. We can build semi-permanent toilets at a cost of £125 (Rs 25,000). Please kindly share this with your friends and family and encourage them to help these people, who are back in their lands after nearly 10 years.

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Opening Ceremony of Male Ward at PTK Hospital

The male ward that Assist RR have been building at Puthukudiyiruppu (PTK) hospital was ceremonially opened on 18 April 2016 by NPC Health Minister Dr Sathiyalingam. This project was jointly funded by Aavarthana, UK, Children Hunger Relief Fund, UK, Assist RR, UK, and a charity walk in the UK by Dr Philomena Karthikesalingam and Dr Jayanthy Gnananandan. The project, at a cost of around £44k, was implemented by Assist RR. MIOT Wales contributed £3500 towards furnishing the ward. With the completion of this ward, PTK hospital can now accommodate all patients in the 3 medical wards (paediatric, female & male wards) built by Assist RR, instead of letting them to stay in the OPD building or sending them elsewhere. The president of Children’s Hunger Relief Fund, Mrs Shanthanadevi Kaneshanathan, also participated in the ceremony. Assist RR would like to thank all donors who made this ward possible. This hospital serves nearly 45,000 people.

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Resettlement of Sampoor IDP Families – 2nd Phase

Nearly 300 families were resettled in their lands in Sampoor, Trincomalee in the 1st phase of resettlement and Assist RR assisted 55 families with transitional shelters and toilets with the support of many kind hearted donors. Another 546 families were resettled on 25 March 2016 in Sampoor (see photos given below). The GA requested us to assist with this resettlement by providing transitional shelters, sanitation facilities and livelihood support. We understand that this 2nd phase would almost complete the resettlement of IDP families displaced from Sampoor in 2006. We have been informed that the government haven’t received any support from any INGOs or any other organisations so far. However, as in the past, they would struggle to find support for extended families, who were not registered as IDP families during the displacement in 2006. It should therefore be noted that the need is there to assist many families including extended families, who are resettling in their village after 10 years of misery. A transitional shelter and a toilet would cost only around £750. Livelihood support can also be provided with a minimum of £250 by providing a water pump, a cow, fishing net, etc. Could you please kindly consider this need and spread the message amongst your friends and families and ask them to consider assisting these families with their resettlement after 10 years of their displacement?

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A Cataract Surgery Camp in Mullaithivu on 22/03/16

A cataract surgery camp was conducted in Mullaithivu today. This camp was funded by “Enlightenment Circle”, which is an arm of Saiva Munnetta Sangam (UK), and organised by Assist Resettlement & Renaissance (UK) in partnership with Vision 2020, Sri Lanka, and Rotary Club of Mullaithivu. 105 vulnerable and elderly patients benefitted from this camp. Many of these patients can’t afford to pay for the lenses and consumables needed for a surgery, which would cost around Rs 25,000 per patient. Many of them wouldn’t have had this surgery done if the camp was not conducted. The surgeries were completely free of charge to the patients. Assist RR would like to thank all those who were involved in making this a reality. Importantly, our sincere thanks to Dr Dias Jeyasiri, who came all the way from Matara and carried out the surgeries single handed on a voluntary basis.

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A Video Clip from the Mullaithivu Cataract Surgery Camp

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