Solihull Junior School Headmaster, Mr Mark Penney gave an interview to UK Deepam TV on 26th Nov. The youtube link is given below. We believe that he conveyed a powerful message to Diaspora Tamils about the plight of victims of war in Sri Lanka. Please watch it and share it with your friends and families. Please click the link below to watch the interview.
Solihull Junior School Headmaster Mr Mark Penney’s experience of his visit to the north & east – Deepam TV Interview on 26-11-16
Head Master of Solihull Junior School Mr Mark Penney, accompanied by Assist RR Trustees, visited Sri Lanka in July/August 2106 . When we visited Puthukudiyiruppu (PTK) Roman Catholic Tamil Mixed School (RCTMS), the Acting Principal of the school, Sister Yaso James, invited us to witness a dilapidated temporary shelter that is being used for four classrooms. The shelter was in a very bad condition and in an urgent need of replacement. Photos of this shelter is given below. Mr Penney was taken aback by the conditions under which children were learning. After witnessing the need there, the Solihull Junior school agreed to raise funds during their fund raising week in October 2016 to construct a classroom building to PTK RCTMS . The Youtube below shows various activities of the pupils and staff and their amazing efforts during their fund raising week in October to raise funds to a cause that they have no connection with. They raised £10908 for the school building project, breaking their previous record again. If these children can achieve this goal, why can’t the Diaspora Tamils do more to help our needy back home? We are indebted to Solihull Junior School children, staff and parents for their continuous kind support to our needy back home since 2009.
Assist RR have now completed constructing 75 permanent toilets and are currently constructing another 25 permanent toilets. Although we appealed to construct low cost temporary toilets, we were able to construct permanent toilets due to the overwhelming support we received from the Diaspora Tamils. We were also constructing shelters in addition to the toilets in Sampoor and have already completed 20 shelters. This is in addition to the 55 shelters and toilets built by Assist RR during the 1st Phase of resettlement in Sampoor. Currently, we are in the process of constructing another 20 shelters. An organisation from the USA has pledged to support more shelters and we hope that we will be able to start them soon. We would like to express our gratitude to everyone, especially IMHO USA, MIOT Wales, Saiva Munnetra Sangam UK, Raja Rajeswary Temple Surrey, anonymous donors from the USA and Singapore, ELETA UK, who donated funds to provide sanitation and shelters to people, who were displaced for almost 10 years and were resettled without any basic facilities.
Solihull Junior School Headmaster, Mr Mark Penney, visited North of Sri Lanka with Assist RR Trustees in July. During his visit, Assist RR Trustees took him and his family to Puthukudiyiruppu (PTK) Roman Catholic Tamil Mixed School (RCTMS) to show him the two-storey building that was rebuilt in April 2014 by Assist RR with funding from a family in Malaysia with roots in Urumpirai. When we went there, the Acting Principal of the school, Sister Yaso James, invited us to witness a dilapidated temporary shelter that is being used for four classrooms. The shelter was in a very bad condition and in an urgent need of replacement. An engineer felt that the shelter should not be used, as it was structurally unsafe. A few photos of this shelter is given below. Mr Penney was taken aback by the conditions under which children were learning and felt very sorry for them. He told us, at the end of his tour, that he would endeavour to do something to assist with at least one of the needs identified in the North. Last week, Assist RR received a call from Mr Penney, who gave the wonderful news that their school has decided to raise funds, towards constructing a 100′ classroom building to PTK RCTMS, during their fund raising week in October. We are indebted to Solihull Junior School children, staff and parents for their continuous kind support to our needy back home since 2009.
Solihull Junior School children, parents and staff in the UK raised nearly £9000 towards funding cataract surgeries in Sri Lanka. In consultation with the school, it was decided that the funds would be spent across Sri Lanka. Initially 75 surgeries were carried out in Ratnapura, which included patients from the upcountry. Another two camps were conducted on 23 April 2016 in Ratnapura and Matara for another 80 patients. Assist RR also organised a camp for 100 patients in Vavuniya in May 2016 and another camp benefiting 80 patients was organised in Mullaithivu in July 2016. All these surgeries were funded by Solihull Junior School and organised by Assist RR. Dr Dias Jeyasiri volunteered to carry out most of these surgeries. Some photos from Ratnapura and Matara, and also a youtube link of a video taken in Matara and Ratnapura are given below. The video is very powerful and sends a message that “Charity has no boundaries”.
Mr Mark Penney, Head of Solihull Junior School, and his family spent 4 days of their precious holiday time in Sri Lanka on visiting the North and seeing the difficult living conditions of the war affected families. It reminds me of a recent speech by Jaffna High Court Judge Mr Illanchelian, who suggested that the Diaspora Tamils touring the North should spend sometime visiting areas badly affected by the war and in need of assistance. This is what exactly Mr Penney’s family did during their family holiday in Sri Lanka. Mr Penney has written a letter to friends of Assist RR and his school community and made a video montage based on his visit to the north. The letter and and the vide montage are provided in the links below. Please kindly read his letter and watch the video montage, which try to paint a picture of the current conditions in the north after 7 years of the end of the war. This is an independent and unbiased view of a kind hearted and charity minded person from the UK. I hope all of you will agree with his views and his recommendations. Please kindly forward this to your friends and family so that this will reach as many Diaspora Tamils as possible.
Sri Subramaniyam Vidyalayam Primary school in Puthukudiyiruppu was completely destroyed at the end of the war and was functioning in temporary shelters. Child Fund, an INGO, built a two storey building but left a portion (70′*30′) without constructing the first floor. Following a request from the principal and the education department, Assist RR agreed to fund it. Siblings of Late Miss Maheswary Velautham, who was from Karaveddy, Jaffna, and an Attorney at Law, donated Rs 2.5 Million towards building the first floor extension on top of the ground floor built by Child Fund. This building was constructed in memory of late Miss Maheswary Velautham, who dedicated her life to the needy and vulnerable people since 1983 and was assassinated in May 2008 at her ancestral home in Karaveddy while visiting her dying mother. She was the founder of “Forum for Human Dignity” and assisted hundreds of Tamil youths to be released from prisons. This school project was implemented by Assist RR (UK & SL) and Rotary Club of Mullaitivu. The building was declared open by Miss M Velautham’s brother and Chairman of Assist RR, UK, Dr V Sarveswaran on 22nd July, 2016 in the presence of Mullaitivu ZDE Mrs U Muneeswaran and President of Rotary Club of Mullaitivu, Mr N Sriskandarajah.