Rotary International District 1180
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Rotary / International Aid Trust - Sri Lanka Village Project Update (3 June 2005)
What is the Project? The project comprises the building of 4 villages in Sri Lanka to re-house families who lost everything in the Tsunami. At present, 2 villages are about to be built (on the same donated land) and as more funding is made available through Rotary Clubs and other initiatives, the next village will be planned.
Where is the Project The first two villages are being constructed at Panadura, close to the devastated village of Moratuwa, which is on the coast 30 miles south of Colombo. The next two villages will be built at Galle, Batticaloa of Trincomalee. At present, land has been identified near Batticaloa and this will probably be the next location.
Who is being re-housed in the first two villages? The homeless families from Moratuwa; the villages accommodating about 600 people in the 100 houses. The families are mostly from the carpenter trades (not fishermen!) and they are being selected regardless of creed and background by a group of social workers employed by our partnership. The Government is not involved in selection procedures.
Who is funding the villages?
4 North West Rotary Districts (1050, 1180, 1190, 1280) are funding the “construction costs” of Village 2 at Panadura whilst Village 1 (on the same site) is funded by RIBI from funds collected for its Tsunami Appeal. All the support costs are being met by our UK partner organisation - The International Aid Trust. Further villages will be funded in a similar way.
Who are the Rotary Partners in the Project?
The International Aid Trust in UK (well known by RIBI and included in the Project Library) and Help for the Children (a Registered Sri Lankan Charity) in Colombo. The Trustees of this latter NGO are non-paid and from numerous professional backgrounds (no politicians!) and the Director is Rangit Gunasekera who is also the Country’s liaison for the “Fair Trade Organisation” IAT has successfully worked closely with this organisation for over 5 years. PDG Colin has met with the Organisation and was involved with the planning and programming of the project with them in Sri Lanka.
How is the project and its funding controlled and monitored?
1. A Steering Group (SG) representing all 4 districts and International Aid Trust is already functioning with meetings every 4 weeks to discuss progress etc.
2. IPDG Colin (1180) is to meet at IAT weekly to monitor progress and report to the Districts.
3. A Joint bank Account (Rotary / IAT Sri Lanka Village Project) has been established. DGN Mike Payne (1050) and IP Treasurer Phil McCade (1190) are the Rotary Signatories for funding + 2 from IAT. The site manager in the village, will approve all construction expenditure and payments made from the funds lodged with Help for the Children. Ranjit and office staff will monitor and approve expenditure closely and will request funds to be transferred from Rotary/IAT when necessary. All bank transfers from UK to Help for the Children and any other expenditure require 2 signatures (1 Rotary and 1 IAT).
4. All these procedures will be subject to scrutiny at the monthly SG Meeting and modified if thought to be necessary to safeguard Rotary funds and its “Investment” in the villages.
How do we contribute to the Project? Cheques should be made payable to ROTARY/IAT VILLAGE PROJECT SRI LANKA and sent to the District Treasurer together with any individual Gift Aid Donations. The DT will collate funds (and claim tax rebates) and forward to IAT.
We read press reports that funding generally in Sri Lanka is not reaching those in need and that the Government is delaying some projects – how is this Rotary project faring? IAT had already been planning a Tamil refugee village in a different location before the Tsunami. Its negotiations were well-advanced with the Government and upon the Tsunami, the “Blue Print” for a village was “transferred” to help at Panadura. Just before the Tsunami, there were 200 NGOs working in Sri Lanka and after – 800 – many seemingly wanting to do their own thing. The Government has tried to prevent such piece-meal development and has attempted to draw up guidelines for development that can be incorporated in the longer-term. With temporary houses available, such breathing space for proper planning does not seem unreasonable (IPDG Col’s words!). The Rotary Project has the full support of the Government and the local people and is now progressing on land (coconut grove), which has been donated by a German NGO!
What are the specific costs of houses and can Rotary Clubs and others adopt one - complete with plaque? Each house, built to the Government specification, will cost in the order of £2200 and yes! we shall be most pleased if Clubs would like to adopt one (or more) and a plaque (Welsh, English, Tamil etc.) can be placed at its door! Small Montessori schools, community centres, dispensaries and possibly a general shop may also be built at each village and sponsorship (Schools, perhaps?) is available.
What arrangements are being for visits to the village? It is appreciated that some supporters may be holidaying in Sri Lanka near to the village and will want to visit it and this is understandable. To avoid undue disruption during construction and the settling-in period of families, it would help if prior arrangements could be made. In addition, it is planned to take a Rotarians’ tour to the locality sometime in February / March 2006. (IPDG Colin has been involved in and led similar tours – WaterAid, Sightsavers, Jaipur, Africa Hope – in the past. Please let him know if you are interested).
MORE INFO? PDG Colin James