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Relief and Rehabilitation Desk News Update
Diocese of Colombo
CEYLON 050425-1
April 25, 2005

[The Church of Ceylon (E-P) - Ceylon] 

Clergy Solidarity

We are very happy to welcome the following clergy from the Church of England who have come to us on short-term assignments to provide relief for clergy of the tsunami affected area:
* Revd. Dr Peter Knight to serve in the Archdeaconry of N'Eliya based at St Andrew's Batticaloa
* Revd. Helen Griffiss to serve in Jaffna, based at St John the Baptist, Chundikulli
* Revd Simon White to serve in the Archdeaconry of Galle based at Holy Emmanuel, Moratuwa.

This programme was initiated by Bishop Duleep in consultation with USPG. We are grateful to the USPG for having arranged this support at Bishop Duleep's request.

The following visited us to see and assist with our rehabilitation work:
* Bishop James Bell - Diocese of Ripon and Leads UK
* Bishop Rodger Herft - Archbishop elect of Perth Australia
* Revd Shariya Molegoda - Diocese of Massachusetts USA
* Ms Florence Creighton - Diocese of Chogler, Ireland

Relief & Rehabilitation in Progress

We have been encouraged by the large number of requests from clergy in tsunami affected areas for support for the recovery of livelihood.


The fisheries sector which was naturally the worst affected by the Tsunami continues to receive our attention. Fishing boats, engines, nets and other accessories have been lost or damaged. The Diocese of Colombo (DOC) has supplied some boats and placed orders for more boats as the supply of boats is severely constrained. In order to overcome supply constraints, the boat yard built in Hambantota in the South by a fisheries cooperative which was assisted and financed by the DOC, is being replicated in Batticaloa. The DOC has also financed a building for a boat yard established in the North for the manufacture and repair of boats which also serves as a training centre which provides training to people of the area in boat building and repair.The DOC wishes to extend further support to the fishing community by financing self help groups both to repair boats and build boat yards in the North, South and East. As a result, we are urgently in need of expertise in boat building and establishing boat yards. We request volunteers with expertise to assist us in this endeavour.

In the district of Batticaloa, 361 fishermen will receive petromax lamps and fishing nets to fish in lagoons and in the sea. In Patuwatha in the district of Galle, a number of fishermen will receive fishing boats, engines and equipment. In the Mullativu district 50 fishing nets will be distributed to affected fishing families.

Other Livelihood

Persons engaged in varied occupations are being supported to renew their livelihood. Carpenters have been given router machines, sanders, power drills and in some instances finances to reconstruct workshops. Masons have received tool kits comprising mason spoons, shovels, measuring tape, plumb lines etc. Similarly, welders, mechanics, electrical workers have received equipment. Those engaged in sewing have received sewing machines. Domestic self-employment too has been addressed by the provision of cooking utensils lost in the tsunami. Cookers, steamers, string hopper trays, hopper pans are some of the items provided.

Finance needed for the recommencement of a variety of other businesses such as retail trade, saloons, groceries, bookshops, pharmacies has been granted.


Bicycles enable people such as vegetable vendors to resume their work cycles. As bicycles are the principal form of transport for the poor the DOC has supplied large numbers of bicycles to both adults and children. For instance, in the month of March 2005 alone, money for the purchase of 429 bicycles was sent to the North, South and East.

School Children

45 school girls have been housed at Karuna Nilayan from March. They will be under the care of the Jaffna Archdeaconry at Karuna Nilayan until the end of December 2005. This will enable them to continue their education without disruption as they prepare to sit the forthcoming GCE Ordinary Level and Advanced Level examinations. The children will receive food, lodging as well as books to replace lost books and notes. 20 boys will be housed at Elim House Jeyapuram from the next school term.
We have responded to the request of a young student guild, for school kits to 224 students at Theruputta Prathamika Vidyalaya at Ambalantota. The school kit comprises cloth for a school uniform, a pair of shoes and socks, school bag and 12 exercise books. We have also provided money for 500 school children in the Eastern Province to obtain school kits comprising exercise books, pens, pencils, erasers, pastel colours and compass box.

Welcoming Centres

Two welcoming centres have been established in the tsunami camps at Sathrukondan and Kalkuadah in the Eastern Province. They serve to provide information and diversion specially for children in the form of games and a safe place to play. Adults are being helped to overcome the shock of the tsunami and strengthened to rebuild their lives. These Welcoming Centres provide quiet space and recreation.

Counselling Programme - March to May 2005

From March 2005, the Relief and Rehabilitation Desk began a series of Counselling Training Programmes using the expertise of professional psychiatrists and psychologists from overseas.

At our invitation Dr. Chrysantha Perera, Psychiatrist from the UK, Dr. Wimala Ismail, Psychiatrist from the USA and Dr. Jennifer and David Baughan, Psychologist and Physician from the USA, visited Sri Lanka in order to conduct Training Programmes and also advice the Diocese on the future Psychosocial programme it should implement.

Dr. Chrysantha Perera - was in Sri Lanka for approximately 2 1/2 weeks. His first programme was a Two day Trauma Counselling course for Clergy of the Colombo Archdeaconry. This was followed by a programme on Stress Management for the Bishop's Education Advisory Council. He then conducted a three day training course in Trauma Counselling and Bereavement for lay people in the Colombo and Moratuwa deaconries. Subsequently he visited the camps in the Kalutara District and later travelled to the Matara District, where, with Fr. Niroshan de Mel he visited the camps and also conducted a two day training programme for the Ecumenical clergy and clergy wives of the Southern Province. On his return to Colombo, he met with a group of clergy once again to give them a feed back on the Psychosocial needs of the people and came up with recommendations on how to deal with these needs.

Dr. Wimala Ismail - was in Sri Lanka for over 2 months. She was first based in Batticoloa, where she worked with the Ramakrishna Mission. She then travelled to Colombo where she conducted several workshops on Counselling for Children and Support Group Counselling for lay persons of the Colombo and Moratuwa Deaconries. She also conducted a special residential Support Group workshop for the clergy wives. Dr. Ismail brought with her a lot of literature on Counselling and Trauma Counselling, which she has donated to the Diocese, for our further endeavours in this area.

Dr. Jennifer and David Baughan - their visit to Sri Lanka is spread out over 2 1/2 months. Upon arrival, they first travelled to Pilimathalawa, where they conducted an extensive 10 day training programme on Trauma Counselling for the students of the Theological College of Lanka. While there, they also conducted lectures and workshops for the University of Peradeniya. The Baughans then travelled to the South, to spend the Sinhala and Tamil New Year in the midst of communities affected by the Tsunami. Subsequently they travelled to the East Coast, where they conducted Befriender programmes, Teacher Training programmes for lay people in Batticoloa. After Batticoloa they travelled up to Trincomalee to conduct a follow up Befriender programme for a group of lay people already given basic training in Counselling and Befriending. In both Batticoloa and Trincomalee, under the hospitality of Fr. Chandran Crispus and Fr. Jebam David, they visited camps and met with the people affected by the Tsunami. After a short break in Colombo, they will travel to Jaffna and the Vanni where, through the organisation of Ven. Nesakumar, they will conduct two, Two-Day counselling programmes, visited several camps and met with practicing psychiatrists in the area. Upon return to Colombo, they will advice the Bishop and the clergy on future programmes that need to be implemented in the area of Counselling.

Cathedral Counselling Mission - recognising the need for comprehensive and widespread training in Counselling, the Diocese has decided to revive the Cathedral Counselling Mission - which will ultimately aim to put together a group of people who will provide long term services in counselling and training in counselling. As a first step, the Diocese has organised lectures and training programmes through the visiting experts. Nine training programmes have taken place to date. As a second step, the Diocese will implement a concrete 160 hour Counselling Training Course.

Ministry of Mental Health - the Relief and Rehabilitation Desk has also maintained ties with the Ministry of Mental Health, in order to keep abreast of Government plans and polices in the area of Psychosocial development. In addition to this, the Relief Desk has also offered the expertise and help of its resource people to the Ministry, in their own Mental Health training programmes.

Pastoral Letter From Bishop Duleep

Given below is an extract from Bishop Duleep's most recent pastoral letter to all Clergy and Lay Workers of the Diocese

We have so far received 130 million rupees for the work of rehabilitation. Another 95 million has been pledged. Whilst we realise that this is money that people have been giving generously towards a cause, it is much more than we expected. Consequently we would like to stay with this budget and fall back on additional funding only if the needs of the people are not adequately met.

Our work is made up of the following sectors each of which has been budgeted for:

Other Livelihoods
Trauma Counselling
Child Care
Interim Shelter
Ad-hoc Grants
Establishing Community Care

Roughly one third of the total budget will be set aside for needs in the North, East and South respectfully. A Proposals Evaluation Committee (PEC) studies proposals received from the clergy and other responsible bodies/persons and makes recommendations to the Task Force for ratification. The Diocesan Accounts Department, under the direction of the Accountant , prepares documents for acknowledgement, makes payments and maintains accounts. Speed and accountability are the values we try to adhere to, in this work.

At present a total of Rs. 14.4 million has been approved for the work of rehabilitation. The regional distribution is as follows:

North 4.8 million
East 5.1 million
South 4.2 million
General 0.3 million

Important Church Contacts

Relief and Rehabilitation Desk - 0114740261, diocese_reliefdesk@wow.lk
NCC Temporary Relief Unit 0115335276/5335186 tru@nccsl.org
Bishop’s Office – 0112 696208, bishop@eureka.lk
Archdeacon of Colombo 0112-696363, diocol@eureka.lk
Archdeacon of Galle 0912246064, archdg@sltnet.lk
Archdeacon of Jaffna 0212222270, neshan@sltnet.lk
Archdeacon of N’eliya 057-2232481, archdenu@eureka.lk