Update – Charity Walk by Dr Philomena and Dr Jayanthy

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.

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Sampoor Resettlement – Providing Temporary Shelters

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.

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Update on Resettlement of IDP Families in Sampoor

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.
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Puthukudiyiruppu Hospital Male Ward Building Project

We hope you remember Dr Philomena Karthikesalingam, who did a charity walk last year to raise funds on behalf of Assist RR. The funds raised by her part funded building a paediatric ward at Puthukudiyiruppu (PTK) hospital that was destroyed towards the end of the war. Assist RR is currently building another ward at PTK hospital for male patients with contributions from Children’s Hunger Relief Fund, UK, and Aavarthana, UK. As there is a shortfall in funds needed to complete the work, Assist RR recently made an appeal for support. Dr Philomena Karthikesalingam and Dr Jayanthy Gnananandan came forward and are embarking on a charity walk on 29 August 2015. They are walking from London to Cambridge on an epic endurance challenge. They will be walking non-stop for 24 hours across the open countryside. The money raised will aid building a male at PTK Hospital. With the completion of this male ward, PTK hospital will have nearly 70 beds for male, female and paediatric patients. This was made possible only by the generosity of many Diaspora Tamils. We would like to kindly request you to visit the following link and donate generously and support the efforts of Doctors Phil & Jayanthy. They are doing the hard walk: can we share their pain by contributing to their good cause?

Please sponsor Dr Philomena and Dr Jayanthy

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Assistance to School Children in Manthai East, Mullaitivu

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.

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Exercise books Donated by London Brindishe Manor 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. 
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Another Free Cataract Surgery Camp helping 99 Pateints

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

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