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Relief & Rehabilitation Work – A Narrative
CEYLON 060509-2
May 9, 2006

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

The following is a short narrative on the work of the R&R desk. Our work covered people of all faiths and ethnicities.

I Housing Repairs

The Diocese of Colombo (DOC) has undertaken a project for housing repairs in the East. The first phase is in place. Funds have been distributed to 241 families for their own repair work monitored by our own local staff. We anticipate that this repair project, which will include a further 300 homes, will be completed by June 2006 (subject to the security situation).

II Housing Construction

The Diocese has partnered with the church of St. Mary & John in building 16 houses in the South and the East. The Diocese has also partnered with the Inter-religious Peace Foundation involved in a project to build 55 houses and to repair 48 houses in the East.

III Pending Housing Programme

DOC has plans to build three 10 house communities in the Trincomalee District (one each for Tamils, Sinhalese and Muslims). There are also plans to build 1 small 10-house project in the South and a 6-house project in the North. The Diocese also plans to build two 30 house units in the North and the South respectively. We repeatedly encounter administrative and policy hindrances but anticipate that these projects will soon be underway and be completed by the end of this year.

IV Fishing Rehabilitation & Recovery

The Diocese prioritised the need to rehabilitate fishing communities and established a boat yard, each in the East and South, and a repair yard in the North, which have made a total of 252 fibre glass boats and canoes. We have also bought and distributed 46 boats, which were beyond the capacity of our yards. To supplement the boats & canoes, the DOC gifted 59 engines and a large number of nets and other fishing gear. We anticipate that our fishing budget will be exhausted by the end of the second quarter of 2006. Several youth were trained in boat manufacturing/repairs and are now well placed to continue in this line of employment.

V Other Livelihood Recovery

The Diocese gifted occupational equipment to many self-employed persons such as electricians, mechanics, masons, musicians, cooks etc. After meeting that need, the Diocese sponsored long-term training projects and vocational centres. These projects included poultry farming, home gardening, beauty-culture and lace-making. Our livelihood budget has been exhausted.

VI Bicycles

Over 1500 bicycles were distributed. As bicycles are a primary form of transportation for both personal and vocational purposes, the Diocese purchased ladies, mens and childrens bikes for distribution in all regions of the country.

VII Trauma Counselling & Psychosocial Care

To address the psychological effects of the tsunami, the Diocese conducted counselling workshops and training programmes in the affected regions with the help of visiting and local professionals. The Diocese also funded counselling work by partners for tsunami victims. We have begun an extensive in house training programme of barefoot counsellors in Karuna-Nilayam. The Diocese plans to set-up a programme, with our partners, thereby making available counselling services in many parts of the country.

VIII Medical Equipment/Care

In the latter part of the year the Diocese was approached to provide much needed high-priced medical equipment to tsunami-area hospitals. Thus, we have gifted three ambulances to the North, South and East. Other equipment gifted to Government Hospitals include one Topcon Tonometer SLIT Lamp with accessories, one Yag Laser machine and one Phacoemulsifier. Two more ambulances have been requested and we are in the process of purchasing these.

IX Childcare & Protection

The DOC has provided school equipment, educational materials and study items to both institutions and individuals. The Diocese has also established study centres in refugee camps to address the lack of resources available to children. The Diocese has also provided residential facilities and sponsored the education of children until their upper-secondary and tertiary education. The Diocese plans to formulate a sponsorship programme, which addresses the educational, health and community concerns of the youth.

X School Links

The DOC schools have partnered with State schools in the affected areas to help with reconstruction, provide school supplies, enhance student and teacher interactions, and build a long-term exchange/learning relationship. Regular visits of staff and students both ways, and exposures into each others curriculum and events are proving an opportunity for the widest interaction. Following is a list of the school links:

* Chundukuli Girls’ College, Jaffna – linked to Sivaguru Maha Vidyalayam, Velvettithurai

* St. John’s College, Jaffna – 1. Roman Catholic Tamil Medium School; 2. Government Tamil Medium School, Mullaitivu

* Bishop’s College, Colombo – Revatha Maha Vidyalaya, Balapitiya

* Ladies College, Colombo –1. Madampe Maha Vidyalaya, Ambalangoda; 2. Paddiruppu MahaVishnu Vidyalaya, Kalmunai

* S. Thomas’ College, Mount Lavinia – Hegalle Maha Vidyalaya, Kosgoda

* S. Thomas’ Preparatory, Kollupitiya – Mihiripenna Dharmaratne Maha Vidyalaya, Galle

* S. Thomas’ College, Bandarawela – Pandiruppu MahaVishnu Vidyalayam, Kalmunai

* S. Thomas’ College, Gurutalawa –Al Athan MV, Ninthavur

XI. Integrated Community Services

The Diocese sponsored clean-up efforts in coastal areas through ‘shramadana’ programmes and assisted in the establishment and care of refugee camps and welcome centres.

XII. Advocacy

The Diocese has partnered with two organizations – Diriya Foundation and Janawaboda Kendraya - to provide Human Rights Education to tsunami victims in the refugee camps. The two organizations have different approaches to their work. Whilst one provides awareness seminars to various communities in affected region, the other provides training workshops to victim-representatives from the camps. The Diocese anticipates continuing these two partnerships for the 2006 year.

XIII. Affected Anglicans

The DOC helped affected Anglicans with grants according to the damage suffered – death, house fully damaged, house partially damaged. All recommendations were by the clergy in the affected areas.

XIV. Other Ad-Hoc

DOC repaired damaged Anglican churches, vicarages, Buddhist structures. DOC built 5 Welcoming Centres in camps equipped with games, television, newspapers, sewing machines, bicycles and other sources of occupation and comfort. We anticipate no further expenses in this line item.

XV. Clergy Relief Support

The Diocese provided additional allowances to clergy to facilitate their increased workload. Diocese also financed vacations for clergy and families working in tsunami areas. More recently, DOC sent teams to Thailand and USA on invitation from Episcopal Relief & Development to learn strategies and share experiences with delegations from all tsunami-affected countries. DOC has also provided funds for sabbaticals of the Archdeacons of Galle, Jaffna and Nuwara Eliya.

XVI. Internal Capacity

The clergy and lay workers and their spouses in affected areas were an indispensable source of initiative, energy and spirituality in all this work. We place on record our gratitude for their leadership. We are also grateful to other clergy together with a few visiting Clergy persons from the UK who voluntarily served in the affected areas. DOC set up a Diocesan R&R office comprising six competent and committed persons who provided admirable leadership at all times. In the regional offices we have employed 3 field and 2 office coordinators to assist the clergy, and provided them with motorbikes to facilitate travel. Regional Advisory Committees helped the clergy in assessing needs and making proposals. A Task Force of competent and experienced persons met regularly since the tsunami and gave of their wisdom, time and skill to monitor the work. The Diocese has hosted several foreign visitors, and two conferences/consultations for the clergy in the tsunami affected areas. A Disaster Management Programme for all clergy and their families is planned for the latter part of 2006. All this has been a huge learning experience for all concerned.

XVII. Finances

a. Budget allocations have been made on a 1/3 basis for the North, East and South respectively
b. Galle, Baddegama and Jaffna have begun their audits. All other regions will start in early May.
c. The Diocese has also outsourced accounting and auditing of our R&R fund.
d. The Standing Committee will be appraised of all financial transactions and audit reports in due course
e. A copy of our final Statement of Accounts and Audit Report will be sent to the Controller of Exchange at the Central Bank of Sri Lanka

With kind regards,

Relief and Rehabilitation Desk
Diocese of Colombo