As you are aware, Assist RR visited Thunukkai and Manthai East in June 2015 to hand over exercise books donated by London Brindishe Manor School. During this visit, Manthai East Devisional Secretary (DS) Mr V Printhaharan joined us at the handing over ceremonies and then invited us to his office in Pandiyankulam. At this meeting, he showed us a file, which was full of many requests by local schools and children, who are struggling to afford basic needs. Many children walk nearly 4 kilometres one way to their school without shoes. The DS made a request for some shoes, by-cycles, and a set of furniture to a pre-school. Assist RR, without any hesitation donated Rs 85,000 to purchase some of the above items through Rotary Club of Mullaithivu. The DS and the president of Rotary Club handed over 39 pairs of shoes, 3 by-cycles, and the furniture to the pre-school.
Some time back, AssistRR received a call from a teacher (Mrs Lilla Acord), attached to Brindishe Manor school in Lewisham, South East London. She told that her school had some surplus exercise books and searched the web to identify a charity for donating the books. She said that they came across our charity on the internet and called to discuss it. AssistRR gladly agreed to accept them and our trustee Mr V Sivakumar visited the school and collected 4 boxes full of exercise books, which were then shipped to Vanni. When AssistRR visited Vanni in June 2015, these exercise books were donated to a number of children in Pandiankulam and Siraddikulam in Thunukkai. The books were gratefully received by the principals and the children at the schools of these villages. This shows that “anything is possible”. Books meant for throwing away at Brindishe Manor school in London finally ended up at Padiyankulam School in Thunukkai. Let us try and find more people like Mrs Lilla, so that a lot more can be done to alleviate the sufferings of our unfortunate people badly affected by the war.
AssistRR organised yet another free cataract surgery camp, this time in Kilinochchi, helping 99 patients to regain eyesight at least in one eye. This camp was funded by Karai Welfare Society, UK, and facilitated by Enlightenment Circle, UK, an arm of Saiva Munetta Sangam, UK. This camp was conducted with the support of Vision 2020 and the surgeries were carried out by Dr Dias Jeyasiri single handed on voluntary basis. We would like to express our gratitude to Dr Dias for his continued selfless services to humanity. We would also like to thank Dr Asela Abeydeera, Dr Ahamed and their team for making these camps happen and assisting Dr Dias at these camps by scarifying their family times over weekends. We also would like to thank Karai Welfare Society for their financial support and Enlightenment Circle for facilitating this good cause.
Although we wished to conduct this camp since Nov 2014, we faced difficulties due to local issues. The issues were finally resolved at the Steering Committee meeting of Vision 2020 in June 2015. Our chairman, Dr Sarveswaran, who is a member of this Steering Committee, attended the meeting on 19 June and received assurance that these camps will continue uninterrupted so that anyone can assist prevention of avoidable blindness amongst vulnerable patients. These camps will also help to reduce the backlog of cataract patients. Director General of Ministry of Health, Dr Mahipala, stated, in an interview with Daily News appeared on 01 August 2015, that there are nearly 150,000 blind patients in Sri Lanka due to cataract, which is an avoidable decease and can be reversed by spending just £23. He also stated that helping someone to regain eyesight is better than having a big bash to celebrate a birthday. There are thousands of patients in the waiting lists in Vanni and the east. Please kindly consider helping someone to regain his/her eyesight.
Please view the link for a short video: A Free Cataract Surgery Camp in Kilinochchi
As you are aware, AssistRR built a ward complex (paediatric and female) at Puthukudiyiruppu hospital with the support of many kind individuals and charities including Mr Kieran Arasaratnam through Serendip Children’s Home, Children Hunger Relief Fund (CHRF), Medical Institute of Tamils (MIOT) UK, Australian Medical Aid Foundation (AMAF) and Dr Philomina Karthikesalingam, UK. We attach a YouTube to show the benefits of this ward complex. When we visited this hospital last week, we noticed that both wards were full with patients. The hospital used to transport these patients to hospitals far as Jaffna and Vavuniya. We are pleased that these patients are able to receive treatments at their door steps. We also learnt that the hospital has now been upgraded as a base hospital. We are currently building a male ward, as male patients are still being accommodated in the out-patients area and others are being sent to other hospitals. The male ward project is being part funded by CHRF and Aavarthana UK. Although we have already started the work, we are still lacking funding to complete the project. If any of you or organisations interested in contributing, please kindly support.
Puthukudiyiruppu Ward Complex by Assist RR – YouTube Link
Assist RR has been assisting innocent victims of the war in the North and East of Sri Lanka since 2012. Although we focussed our efforts in Vanni, in particular Mullaithivu, we carried out many assistances from Mannar in the North to Amparai in the East. However, we always formed the opinion that there were no major issues in Jaffna except Vadamarachchi East. We now admit that we were wrong to form this opinion and we have neglected thousands of people, who were displaced from Valigamam North and have been living in 22 camps for the past 25 years. It appears that not many of us are aware the plight of these unfortunate people, who have been living in very pathetic condition after losing their livelihoods. Remember 25 years in these camps, but we escaped and live in comfort. Please read the link below and watch a few minutes video taken in these camps.
Valigamam Internally Displaced People - A document
Valigamam Internally Displaced People in Chunnagam - A video link
Further to our appeal towards the end of May to assist Sampoor IDP, we would like to provide an update on the above. We made a visit to Sampoor last week to reassess the situation following the recent court case against resettlement. Although resettlement of IDP families was imminent at the time of our appeal, it has now stalled due to a case by the investing company at the Supreme Court. It appears that a decision will not be made in the near future. In the mean time, our visit has highlighted the needs of already resettled nineteen families in the area. They are living there without basic facilities such as toilets, drinking water, shelters, etc. We would like to suggest that we spend the funds raised so far for this purpose. Helping these families would encourage more IDP families to return to their lands. Funds remaining and further raised would be utilised when resettlement of other families begins. The needs are huge. Please kindly read the link below that provides more details on Sampoor IDP and support our efforts to assist the innocent victims of war, who have been in camps since 2006.
Resettlement of Sampoor IDP
Further to Assist RR’s appeal for assisting displaced people of Sampoor, Surrey Tamil Community (STC) came forward to assist Sampoor MV and donated 100 sets of desks and chairs to the school. People of Sampoor were displaced in 2006 due to the war and are still living in four welfare centres around Sampoor. Two Sampoor schools including Sampoor MV are functioning in the hostel of Chenaiyur MV. These two schools have been using damaged and unsuitable furniture that were borrowed from other schools. When Assist RR visited these schools last year, the pathetic conditions were visible to the trustees and made an appeal for assistance. STC has now raised funds amongst their members and donated £2050 towards this (see photos below showing conditions before and after the donation on 11/03/15). Assist RR, on behalf of Sampoor displaced people, would like to express its gratitude to STC members, who contributed to this kind donation as follows:
a) Kandiah Family (Via S Thayaparan) £1250.00
b) Mr M Kumar £187.50
c) Dr T Gowripalann £187.50
d) Mr K Karunaharan £125.00
d) Mr N Ravindran £125.00
e) Dr A Maheetharan £100.00
f) Mr B Elangco £75.00
Please click here for the video link of the handing over ceremony