News and Blogs
- Penney family’s visit to East and North of Sri Lanka – A Report November 14, 2019
- Donation of an Internal Cardiac Defibrillator (ICD) to a Heart Patient in Mannar July 21, 2019
- Living conditions in two villages of Batticaloa District and CHRF’s timely support July 13, 2019
- Eye care services in the North of Sri Lanka – Update July 5, 2019
- AssistRR’s Annual Dinner – January 2019 – An Update June 28, 2019
- Eye Care Services in the North of Sri Lanka June 24, 2019
- Assisting Hospitals in the East and North of Sri Lanka June 18, 2019
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Smart classes are useful and effective in the learning process of children. Smart classes use interactive modules like videos and presentations and these visually attractive methods of teaching becomes appealing to students who are already struggling with the traditional method of teaching in a classroom. This kind of visual is both eye-catching and young students can easily relate with them. A classroom has students with varied power of understanding and learning, and studying from notes and other materials becomes difficult for some students. But the use of smart classes and modern technology eases the learning process for all students. North and East of Sri Lanka is also catching up with Smart classes since the end of the war. Thanks to donors from the Diaspora, some schools have already started using smart classes and are seeing the benefit of them. We received requests from many schools in Vanni for smart classes. Only issue is that one smart class costs around £1800 – £2000 (around Rs 400,000.00) depending on the exchange rate. However, it is not impossible. we are happy to inform that Mrs Ananthi Sarveswaran from the UK, has funded 4 smart classes (3 classes to Ki/Sivapathakalaiyagam GTM School in Kilinochchi and 1 class to Fatima College in Kalmunai). These were setup in October 2018 and are currently in operation. I attach some photos of these classes. We have been informed that, although Fatima College is a National school, they are able to use their first smart class as a result of Assist RR’s assistance. Another kind hearted donor, Mrs Selvaratnam from the UK funded 45 sets of Type C furniture (desks & chairs for junior school children) to Ki/Sivapathakalaiyagam GTM School in Kilinochchi, following a request form the school. There are more schools in Vanni and the east, which are in need of these types of support. If anyone or any organisation, who are willing to assist the underprivileged schools, please kindly contact us.
Solihull School in the West Midlands, UK, has been contributing to the needs of our victims of war back home since 2009. Recently, two 13-year old, Year-8 pupils, Conor & Harvey, completed running 9 kM in the ”Race the Train”challenge to raise funds for 3 charities on 18 August 2018. They chose Assist RR as one of the beneficiary charities. Assist RR was introduced to the boys by Junior School Headmaster Mr Mark Penney. Harvey, who has a Sri Lankan heritage, did visit Sri Lanka recently and felt that there is so much still to do to repair the damage left by the 28 years of war. Conor and Harvey raised nearly £1800 and donated around £600 towards building a shelter for an IDP family in Sampoor. We are very grateful to Conor and Harvey for their amazing fund raising effort and their contribution. Assist RR donated nearly 100 reading glasses to a Vanni hospital in Aug 2018. The eye doctor told that their patients would benefit from frames and asked whether Assist RR can provide more of them. Mark Penney heard this story and, as a result, made an appeal to the School Community for frames. They collected nearly 950 frames, mostly brand new from a parent, who works for an Optician. A parent also donated a foci-meter, used to verify the correct prescription in a pair of reading glasses Solihull pupils, Francesca, Amelia and their friends also collected 255 women’s trainers to be donated to girls of a school in Kilinichchi. Mr Penney, on his way to SCOT’s dinner as the chief guest on 20 Oct, dropped these items in London to be shipped to Sri Lanka. Assist RR’s sincere gratitude to Solihull School community, in particular to Mr Penney and his family for their continued support.
Two ex-teachers of Solihull School, UK, Martin & Lindsay Broughs were holidaying in Sri Lanka in Nov 2017 and spent 8 days with us in the north and east. As part of this trip, we took them to Puthukudiyiruppu (PTK) base hospital. They realised the difficulties faced by the doctors due to lack of resources. On their return, they arranged a meeting with their son, who is a doctor in the UK and has volunteered in the past, to explore arranging volunteer doctors to PTK hospital. Although he was keen to go to Sri Lanka, he was unable to commit himself in 2018. However, he managed to arrange a doctor to volunteer at PTK hospital. Dr Charlotte Milne from the Northeast of England offered her services. Assist RR arranged her registration and arranged all other necessary logistics. Dr Milne, who used her own funds to purchase the air tickets, reached PTK on 24th April and provided her services till 7th July. She didn’t ask for air-conditioned room and stayed at the hospital quarters for the local doctors. She also happily ate the food given by a local family. She also learnt some basic Tamil to communicate with the patients. The feedback received from the hospital and Dr Milne was very positive. We are therefore still looking for volunteers to serve in Vanni. We hope Diaspora Tamil doctors will also be willing to go and spend a few months. Please kindly contact us, if there are doctors, who are happy to volunteer their services in the north and east of Sri Lanka. We would like to express our gratitude to Martin & Lindsay Broughs, and their son Richard for arranging the doctor, and Dr Charlotte Milne for volunteering in a remote area for 2.5 months. We very much appreciate their assistance and sincerely hope that we will find more volunteers.
Earlier this year, London Ealing Shri Kanaga Thurkkai Amman (SKTA) temple approached Assist RR and made a request to build an Araneri School for the benefit of Tamil Aadivasi families in Muthur, Trincomalee. Assist RR have been assisting these families in many ways and are aware of their needs. In consultation with the local people, it was decided to build the school in Santhosapuram, near Paadalipuram. SKTA temple provided the full funds and Assist RR (UK & SL) carried out this project within 5 months. Using the savings made in the project, Assist RR also provided furniture and water connection to the school, which was declared open on 10 Sept 2018 by Mr Thamotharampillai Joganathan, Chairman of Executive Committee of SKTA temple. Mr Sabalingam Abayalingam, Chairman of Board of Trustees of SKTA temple was also present at the opening ceremony. People from these Aadivasi villages expressed their gratitude to SKTA temple for their generous financial support for building this school.
Free cardiology and echocardiogram clinic in Mannar, 25th-28th June: Assist RR has recently conducted 4th cardiology clinic in Mannar District General Hospital. With help from Dr Anenta Ratneswaran, Dr Mayooran Shanmuganathan, both cardiology doctors, consulted and scanned 236 patients. Our special thanks to Mr James and his family of Mannar, who gave the doctors free accommodation during their stay in Mannar. Moreover Miss Vinuthy Vijayakaandeepan, a 16 year old student from UK also accompanied the doctors on the trip to perform voluntary service at the clinic; this must be congratulated and encouraged amongst the diaspora youth. During this clinic we also donated a cardiac defibrillator given to us by Mr Vaseeharan of UK.
Donation of cardiac exercise treadmill machine to Mannar District General Hospital: As we had appealed for the purchase of this machine to hospitals in Northern Province, Mannar Welfare Association (UK) came forward and promised the full amount to fund a machine for Mannar District General Hospital. Their promised donation amounts to approximately £12,500. The final installation of this machine took place on 1st August 2018. We anticipate that 1000s of patients would benefit from this every year by having their tests performed locally and avoid travelling 100s of kilometres to Jaffna or Vavuniya, where they have had to go until now.
Donation of cardiac exercise treadmill machine to Killinochi District General Hospital: Similar to above, our appeal was met with generous donations from Standing Committee of Tamils (SCOT, UK), Shri Kanaga Thurrkai Amman Temple (SKTAT, UK), Dr Paramanathan (UK) and an anonymous donor from the UK. With these funds amounting to 12,500, we were able to purchase another cardiac exercise treadmill machine to Killinochi District General Hospital. Again, we anticipate 1000s of patients would benefit. Please see attached photos and media reports of this handing over ceremony. Photos the installed machine are attached.
Donation of echocardiogram machine by Mr Varatharajan and family (UK) to Killinochi Hospital: As we had previously mentioned, Mr Varatharajan and family from the UK handed over a brand new echocardiogram machine worth £27,500 to us at our fund raiser event in Croydon in May 2018. We enabled the delivery and installation of this precious machine to the director of Killinochi District General Hospital on 29th June 2018. This machine is the first of its kind in the whole of Sri Lanka and will help the cardiology doctors who visit Killinochi twice a month scan 1000s of patients a year and diagnose and manage their heart conditions more efficiently.
Cardiology and echocardiogram clinic in Mullaithivu, 8 – 9 August 2018: Assist RR has conducted its first free cardiology clinic in Mullaithivu District General Hospital between 8-9 August 2018. Dr Manoharan Santhalingam, a volunteer cardiologist from the UK, consulted and scanned around 80 patients during the two-day clinic single handed. This resulted in early detection of many cardiac diseases and the patients were referred for further actions. This clinic has helped to reduce the workload on cardiologists in Vavuniya and Jaffna. Our special thanks to Dr Manoharan for volunteering to do this clinic.
Dr Mayooran recently gave an interview to “Asian Voice” magazine. A link is given below.
Ki/Sivapathakalaiyagam Govt Tamil Mixed School was lacking classrooms for conducting lessons. They were conducting some lessons in a temporary shelter and under a tree. The principal was asking whether Assist RR could provide a 100’ building that would solve their classroom shortage. Assist RR made an appeal to construct a classroom building. As a result, Assist RR received Rs 3 Million from C Selvaduray Family from Malaysia in Memory of their Beloved Maternal Grand Parents: Mr Ariacutty / Sivasubramaniam from Urumpurai East, Jaffna. Another Rs 380,300 was received from an anonymous donor from Malaysia, which was facilitated by Assist RR’s Malaysian Coordinator, Mr Kanagarajah Thurairajah. Assist RR funded the rest of Rs 1.46 Million that was raised through its annual dinner in Birmingham that took place in Jan 2018. Using the funds raised, a 100′ building, to be used for classrooms and as an assembly, was completed in May 2018 and was handed over to the school on 6th July 2018. Mr S Nava representing C Selvaduray family attended the event and declared open the building. A few University of Peradeniya engineers, who were involved in providing the first building to this school in 1982, also joined the ceremony. The school community was very happy to receive this building and promised that they will work hard to improve the education of the children, who hail from very underprivileged villages around the school. Assist RR would like to express its gratitude to C Selvaduray family from Malaysia, the anonymous donor from Malaysia and Assist RR friends, who provided donations at Assist RR’s annual dinner in Birmingham in Jan 2018.
Nearly 29,000 families were displaced from Valikamam North alone (Palali HSZ from Thondamanaru to Mathagal) in 1990 and have been living in welfare centres and with friends and relatives for the past 28 years. The majority of them are fishing families from the coastal areas of Valikamam North. Only now, they are returning to their lands but without much assistance. These families desperately need support to stand on their own feet and to start their lives again without looking for handouts. Ministry of Rehabilitation of the Sri Lankan government recently requested Assist RR & IMHO USA to provide fishing gear to families who were displaced by the war and are being resettled in the North and East of Sri Lanka. The ministry agreed to provide 50% of the costs as soft loans if Assist RR & IMHO USA provide the other 50% as grants. We would like this to happen for as many families as possible. However, the number of complete fishing livelihood solutions provided is entirely dependent on the amount of funds raised by the supporters of both charities. The cost of a boat, outboard engine and nets is around £2800. Assist RR & IMHO therefore needs to raise £1400 for each set provided. Each boat, engine and nets will be shared by two families.
After hearing about this need, UK Solihull Junior School Headmaster Mr Mark Penney and his wife Mrs Donna Penney have told Assist RR & IMHO that they will be walking the 55KM South Coast Challenge – Eastborne to Hove on 25 Aug 2018 to raise funds for the above project. Although they have no direct connection to the victims of war in the north and east, they are going to undertake this painful task to enable the victims to earn a living and to lead decent lives. We hope that the Diaspora Tamils, who have connections to these affected families, at least can support their effort by sponsoring their walk. Their fund raising pages are given below. Please kindly consider making a donation. All donations of any size are welcome and we urge you to give generously and support the efforts of Mark and Donna. Please also note that Mark Penney recently gave three presentations at the IMHO USA Annual Convention in Ohio on behalf of Assist RR and ran a workshop with High School students as part of IMHO’s Junior Leaders Programme. During the convention, IMHO USA raised $19,000 towards the Penneys’ boats appeal.
For the residents of UK & other Countries:
Assist RR UK Fund Raising Page
All donations by UK tax payers qualify for Gift Aid and may be tax deductible.
For the residents of USA:
IMHO USA Fund Raising Page
All donations made by US tax payers are tax deductible.