Assist RR’s annual dinner took place on 23 Jan 2016 in Hayes, Middlesex, UK. The dinner was houseful and was very successful in terms of disseminating information and raising funds. The dinner raised £4350 through donations, ticket sales, raffles and American Auction. In addition, there was a one-off personal donation of £3750 by Dr V Vipulendran (MIOT Wales), Dr Mrs Somasundararajah (Birmingham) and their siblings towards building 5 shelters in Sampoor in memory of their mother. Solihull Junior School donated a cheque for £880. This is in addition to the £8000 they donated in Oct 2015. All the expenses including hall hire, food, DJ, etc, were met by sponsorships by some of our charity members. We would like to thank the members, who funded various expenses. We also would like to thank our members and volunteers, who made the event very successful. Without their hard work, we couldn’t have made it a successful dinner. Our special thanks to our Sri Lankan Coordinator Mr Henry Amalraj, who came all the way from Sri Lanka to be with us at the dinner and to share his experience.
We would like to thank those who joined us as guests and would like to express our gratitude to our speakers: Mr R D Ratnasingam, Chairman of Trustees, Shri Kanagathurkkai Amman Temple, Ealing, Middelsex; Mr Mark Penney, Head of Solihull Junior School, West Midlands; Dr V Vipulendran, MIOT Wales; Dr K Somasundararajah, Our Patron and Trustee of Balaji Temple; Mr Matthew Maxwell Scott, Conservative Spokesman, Carshalton & Wallington. We shouldn’t forget the artists who performed singing and dancing. The performances of all the artists were very professional and impressive. Although Mr Penney couldn’t understand the language, he was very impressed with the performances (singing and dancing). Thank you to all those who performed: Miss Sahana Sivarajah, Essex - Songs; Master Subaram Suthaharan, Essex – Dance; Miss Archanya Arumthavarajah, Croydon – Songs; Mr Sinthujan Sivarajah, Essex – Flute; Miss Vaishnavi Shangar, South West London - Classical Dance. We also shouldn’t forget the amateur singers who participated in the karaoke, which was well received. Doctors from MIOT Wales sang very well and took us back to the 1970s. It was suggested that we should continue with this format in the future as well.
We are happy to inform that we have completed and handed over 25 temporary shelters in Sampoor, Trincomalee, and are in the process of completing another 10 shelters. Some photos are given below to show the completed shelters. These 25 shelters were funded by the following organisations:
Assist RR - 5 shelters
Sivanarulillam - 4 Shelters
Shri Kanagathurkkai Amman Temple, Ealing, Middlesex, UK - 6
Funds raised through TTVK Singapore - 10 shelters.
Ealing Amman promised to fund another 14 shelters and a number of individuals have contributed funds to build another 4 shelters. We still need funds to complete 7 shelters in the first 55 shelters that we promised to provide. We have been informed that the number of families being resettled in Sampoor has increased and we have been asked to provide more shelters for the extended families, who do not receive assistance from either the government or the INGOs, as these families were not registered as displaced in 2009. Please kindly consider contributing towards building more shelters.
Solihull Junior School in the Midlands, UK, raised nearly £8000 recently towards funding cataract surgeries in Sri Lanka through Assist RR. We are happy to inform that Assist RR had conducted a surgery camp in Ratnapura on 13 Dec 2015 for the benefit of patients from the hill country including Nuwara Eliya. The camp was conducted at the Lions Vision for Sight Hospital in Ratnapura and Dr Dias Jeyasiri volunteered again to carry out the surgeries. Around 75 patients, who were brought in by buses from various parts of the hill country, benefited from this camp. We would like to express our gratitude to Solihull Junior School Children, Staff and Parents for providing the funds, Dr Jeyasiri for volunteering to carry out the surgeries, Ratnapura Lions hospital for providing their facility to conduct the camp, and Vision 2020 for organising this camp. We have been informed that Solihull Junior School raised another £800 during the festive period and will be donating to Assist RR for funding further cataract surgeries. We would like to thank Solihull Junior School for their continued support towards the needs in Sri lanka. We are aiming to fund another 325 cataract surgeries using funds provided by Solihull Junior School.
Solihull Junior School pupils in the West Midlands, UK, raise funds for good causes every year. The school raised funds in 2009 and donated to Save the Children for the benefit of war affected children in Vavuniya. The school again raised £6400, which was a record breaking sum in their fund raising history, in 2013 to renovate two war damaged school buildings in Mullaithivu, following a request from Assist RR. Head of Junior School, Mr Mark Penney, invited Assist RR again this year to their assembly and asked to provide a presentation on the need for assistance to carry out cataract surgeries in Sri Lanka. During their charity week in October 2015, the pupils broke their previous record in 2013 and raised an amazing sum of £7820. Mr Penney invited the chairman of Assist RR and handed over a cheque for £7820, which would assist nearly 350 elderly and vulnerable cataract patients to regain their eye sights. Parents of two pupils, Mr & Mrs Majithia in Birmingham, donated hundreds of brand new spectacle frames, which would be handed over to Vision 2020 to help the needy. We are indebted to Solihull Junior School staff for agreeing to support our charity’s efforts, to the pupils for their hard work and the parents for their generosity. On behalf of the needy people, who desperately need our help back home, we would like to thank Solihull Junior school from the bottom of our hearts.
We would like to provide an update on the charity walk by Dr Philomena Karthikesalingam and Dr Jayanthy Gnananandan. As a result of their fund raising charity walk on behalf of Assist RR, they have now raised more than £11,000 towards building a male ward at Puthukudiyiruppu (PTK) hospital. On behalf of people of Vanni, Assist RR would like to express its gratitude to both doctors for their continued determination and commitment to assist the needy in our homeland. Please note that, in addition to doctors’ efforts, Aavarthana UK, Children Hunger Relief Fund UK, and Assist RR, UK, are also contributing to the construction of this male ward at PTK hospital. We provide some photos showing the current progress of the male ward. We are hoping to complete this ward by the end of November 2015. The government had agreed to provide medical equipment and we have been requested to provide furniture to the ward. Anyone interested in supporting this, please kindly contact us.
Further to the appeal made by Assist Resettlement and Renaissance (Assist RR) for providing temporary shelters to the Internally Displaced People (IDP) of Sampoor, Assist RR has been building 5 shelters using funds donated by individuals. One of these shelters was handed over to a family in Sampoor on 15 Sept 2015. The remaining four houses will be handed over on 17 Sept 2015 by Mr Pushpakumara, the Government Agent of Trincomalee. Photos of the shelter that was built by Assist RR are attached. Although UNHCR was committed to building only 134 families initially, UNHCR has now agreed to build temporary shelters to all 259 families, who were in the list of displaced people in 2006. However, there are 49 termed as extended families, who have become families through marriages since the displacement and do not qualify for any assistances either from the government or INGOs such as UNHCR. Parents of these families have given portions of their lands to these families. However, these families are not given any support towards shelters, toilets, etc by the government. Assist RR met the GA, Mr Pushpakumara, on 15 Sept 2015. He indicated that they won’t be able to make an official request to help these extended families but would not obstruct if we wanted to help these extended families. Since UNHCR is willing to provide shelters to all in the list, Assist RR has decided to stop providing shelters to the official list of displaced people. However, Assist RR would like to continue to provide shelters to extended families.
Latest information received from Trincomalee GA’s office confirmed that 305 families are allowed to return to the land. The extent of this land is 925 acres, which includes the land that was given to the BoI for investment and 70 acres of land that was occupied by two navy camps. As we indicated, UNHCR has funds to build transition shelters for 134 families. The GA of Trincomalee is still looking for funds to build another 171 shelters. We are happy to announce that Assist RR is the first to start building shelters in Sampoor for these families. We have started building five shelters. We have also completed building 5 toilets and renovated 3 wells to families near Kali kovil in Sampoor. We are doing these works using funds donated by generous individuals. The needs are huge and we are doing only a little. People have suffered long enough without proper shelter, employment, etc. They will be better off in their own houses and can and will look after themselves by embarking on their own livelihoods. We are building temporary shelters at a cost of around £525 per shelter and permanent toilets at a cost of around £200 per toilet. I am sure most of you can afford to support one family to have at least either a shelter or a toilet or both. Please kindly consider supporting a family by contributing. The government has allocated only Rs 38,000 per family towards resettlement and USAID is concentrating on infrastructure projects such as schools, hospitals, etc.