Report from Dr. Rev. Jeynesan Nov. 2006

Correspodance from Dr. Rev. Jeynesan Nov. 2006

St. John’s Mission, Batticaloa, Sri Lanka

Love and greetings from St. Johns centre Batticaloa from me and other friends. Thank you for sending me the mail regarding the changes of your addresses. I have taken note of those.

Situation in Batticaloa is not very good. War effected Internally Displaced Persons have become a major issue in the North and East of Sri Lanka today. Daily shelling and fighting is going on in many places in the East and more and more refugees are coming out of the battle areas.

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Report from Dr. Rev. Jeynesan June 2006

Correspodance from Dr. Rev. Jeynesan June 2006Dear Trevor,

Greetings from St. John’s Centre.

I have come back to Batticaloa after my trips to Canada and USA. I am grateful to our Lord for all his mercies.
I am thankful to David and the team for all their good work even in my absence.

I thought it is proper that I send you a mail about the present political situation of our region.

After the pressure mine exploitation which killed 67 people in Kepitipolawa in Trincomalee district all the INGO’s and local NGO’s have stopped all their relief works and have vacated the places and gone to Colombo because of fear and the advice of their own Governments.

Read more…

Report 1 On Relief for Tsunami Tidal Wave-2004 (1st Anniversary)

” In as much as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto Me” Matthew 25:40

Dear Friends,

Greetings from St John’s Mission He left heaven’s glory and came in humbleness and simplicity to an understanding world….. May the wonder of such love fill your heart with joy and thankfulness.
Most of you are aware that the Tsunami Tidal waves hit the coastal areas of Sri Lanka as well as some of the other Asian countries on 26th December 2004.
The aftermath of the Tsunami waves is death and destruction of alarming proportions. This is the first time all of us experienced such a terrible destruction and sufferings. This is now history. But the trauma and the consequences linger on and are very vivid in the minds of the people who went through this sordid experience. It is a fact that those who survived this tragedy do not seem to like to even look at the sea.

Perhaps it will take a long time for the people to totally come out of their traumatic conditions. Even though one year had lapsed, yet the basic needs of the victims have not been met. The victims are more and more dependant on the NGOs and Churches rather than Government This is very clearly evident in the Northeastern areas of Sri Lanka. The Non-Governmental Organizations, having seen the plight of these hapless victims and are doing their very best to offer them relief in many ways. This offer of help is certainly a great blessing from God to these poor people.

We thank God and all Charity & Care Institutions, corporate bodies and individuals who generously contributed and continue to do so with their time and money to offer redress to this people.

Basic Needs

Basic needs such as food, water, sanitation, clothing, health education, childcare and connected services are being provided in an adequate manner at the present. The need for supplying food items are very much reduced as the people have begun to generate income through various cash for work programme offered by us, others and on their own too. We still have problems with drinking water. Only 20% of the wells we dug produced good drinking water. The rest were saline of different levels, but suitable for washing and irrigation.

We now supply tankered drinking water and some wells with good water are also being used. Sanitation had been taken care of through health education and the provision of proper toilets, drainage etc; Health needs are very well taken care of. As reported earlier, with the assistance of volunteers from many parts of the Globe, we were able to conduct regular medical clinics. At the present regular clinics is permanent feature and the villagers under our purview are being serviced twice a month.

We have established a well equipped medical facility at Grace Care Centre Trincomalee.. This facility will take care of the medical needs of the Children and elders under our care as well as offer medical services to the villagers around Grace Care Centre. Additionally we have also established a medium size medical centre at Periyaneelavanai in our Church premises to look after the medical needs of the inmates as well as the villagers.
Further in the last three months we have conducted a few on the spot medical clinics at Vaharai, Ralodai villages with the help of Northwest Medical Aid Team. Hopefully from January 2006 onwards we are likely to join them as partners to offer medical services in a more regular and meaningful manner to a few villages in Batticaloa and Ampara District.

Child Care

As you all are probably aware, Childcare is a very important ministry for us and therefore this receives our utmost attention at all times. We have 514 boys and girls in our 6 Orphanages in the eastern coast from Periyaneelavanai in the Ampara district through Batticaloa District to Uppuveli in the Trincomalee District. Additionally we are running 4-Day Care Centres looking after 318.children. Our 5 Nutritional Feeding Centre looks after the needs of 273 Children.
Most of these centres are situated in Tsunami hit areas. At the present, we are constructing 3 Day Care Centres one at Ralodai, one at Batticaloa and another at Periyamneelavanai. The steele Day Care Centre that was partly destroyed by the Tsunami was renovated and running to capacity.

Training Programmes

With regard to the training activities, we have 368 Students in the various faculties of the Vocational Training Centres in Batticaloa and Trincomalee. Currently we are conducting 3 Village based Mobile Vocational Training Centres in 3 different villages in Tsunami affected areas with the view to give the Tsunami victims on the spot basic training in Carpentry, Masonry, Electric welding, Agriculture and Sewing so as to improve their skills and provide them the necessary training to fit into some livelihood activity.

For instance those who learn Carpentry and Masonry find employment in the village itself where Permanent houses are built for them. The programmes in respect of Agriculture, Sewing and Welding are designed to encourage self-employment for the trainees. This effort has taken care of the shortage of skill workers in the villages. Additionally some who received training form us have found employment in neighboring rebuilding villages Permanent shelter to the Tsunami victims is a burning issue at the moment.

To the best of our knowledge and belief the Government did not do anything appreciable in this regard in our areas. Some Non Governmental Organizations have just commenced construction of permanent houses. We at St John’s are glad to report that we have handed over 172 Permanent houses to the Tsunami victims. 80in Periyaneelavanai in Ampara District, 52in Ralodai in the Batticaloa District 30at Sampur in the Trincomalee District and another 10at Kattankudy, a predominantly Muslim village in the Batticaloa District.

It must be mentioned here that we are the first Organization to hand over Permanent houses in Ampara, Batticaloa and Trincomalee Districts. This was possible because of the very quick and prompt responses we have had from our major partners in Tsunami Relief and Rehabilitation Programme, namely; Woord en Daad – Netherlands, Kinder Not Hilfe – Germany, Ceylon Christian Care Foundation – Netherlands. Uniting Church Overseas Aid – Australia, VeAhavta – USA and Other Churches and individuals. We are hoping to build a total of around 1100 houses at different locations. At the moment we are handling a total of 510 houses and the construction is in progress.

Livelihoods

A solid means of livelihood is an essential requirement for a person to stand on his own feet and to care for his dependants. The Tsunami deprivedthe victims of their means of livelihood and these people are forced to look for alternate ways of generating income. These people who were gainfully occupied in the pre-Tsunami period had to be found alternate employment or some kind of self-employment. We have designed and devised certain on the spot training programmes for the victims to improve their skills and to receive training in certain areas that would help them to find employment or be self-employed.

We have succeeded in finding employment for quite a number of them at the building construction sites., We have also provided SLR 80 000 worth of sea going canoes, nets and fishing gears each to about 86 fisherman thus providing employment for another 100 fishermen who will be involved in assisting and mending nets etc. As for the womenfolk we are training them on the spot in agriculture and sewing so that they can earn money by cultivating vegetables and sewing garments So far we have had good response and the villagers are fully occupied as they earn a living and they are happy too. However the other programmes we had in mind such as handlooms, weaving of mats, pottery did not receive much interest among villagers.

We are also glad to report that by way of helping skilled men to carry on their different trades we supplied Masonry, Carpentry and Agriculture tools and implements to 672 persons. We have given over 1500 bicycles to fish, vegetable and other small – time vendors who go from village to village selling sundry items. Bicycles were also given to needy students. 325 sewing machines for distributed to village women who lost their machines in the Tsunami. We are now looking at the prospect of finding more ways and means to improve on the livelihood matter. We welcome suggestions and support.

Grace Care Centre Repaired

We are pleased to report the entire Grace Care Centre facility had been repaired and renovated. The Mercy Home to house 100 destitute elders had been constructed and declared open. We are in the process of filling with needy inmates.

Herman’s Girls Home and Boys Home Samuel

We are glad to report that the completely destroyed Herman’s Girls Home had been built in a new location and is fully functional. We have also taken some of the Tsunami orphans in to this new home. Partly damaged Boys Home Samuel is also repaired. Additionally living quarters for the Pastor, general Office and a unit to house the Medical facility too also built.

Future Projects & Development Programmes

We have carried out a survey of post Tsunami situation and performed a needs assessment and through this process, have identified number of areas that required our attention and service. We have some programmes in the pipeline and we are now engaged in negotiation and seeking out partners who would extend support towards implementing these programmes.

  • 6-Day Care Centres in Ampara, Batticaloa and Trincomalee District.
  • 6 Nutritional Feeding Centres in Ampara, Batticaloa Trincomalee District.
  • 2 Widows Empowerment Programmes.
    • Construction of 2 Primary schools one at Ralodai the other at Periyaneelavanai. Both being severely affected by the Tsunami.
    • 2 numbers English Medium International schools.
    • Teaming up with Northwest Medical Aid to offer medical services to the needy.
    • Construction of additional 500 Permanent Houses for Tsunami victims, ethnic war victims and poor villagers.
    • Providing means of livelihood for about 600 Tsunami affected families.
    • Providing basic furniture and household goods for about 1000 Tsunami affected families.
    • Setting up a toy library
    • Village Based Vocational Training centres in 6 locations.
    • A permanent unit for Trauma Therapy and Counseling.

Conclusions

We at St John’s take pride in humbly reporting that we have out-performed most other Organizations engaged in Tsunami Relief, Reconstruction Rehabilitation programme. Almost all the major partners visited us and the sites of our operations and were fully satisfied with our performance. In fact some of the major NGO’s expressed the view that they have to learn a lot from us, perhaps because of our efficient planning and handling. This was very encouraging and a pleasant surprise too.

At this juncture I would like to thank all the officials in the team, who worked tirelessly and with dedication to accomplish this mission. All these would not have been possible if not for the timely response and the support extended by the international communities to which you all belong.

We thank every one of you, be it Institutions or Individuals for your most generous contributions to help the victims in many ways. Visits by representatives of institutions as well as individuals with various missions of support were very encouraging and we look forward to future visits too. You are all welcome to visit us, to be with us and see for yourselves the relief work that is being done by us. We certainly value your advice and guidance as before. “Wishing you the very best This Holiday Season And continued happiness In the coming year – 2006”

Yours in His Service,
Rev.Dr.S.Jeyanesan

Report 2 on Relief and Rehabilitation Tsunami Tidal Wave 2004

Dear Friends,

Greetings from St John’s Mission. With your very valuable support financial and otherwise, we are able to sustain the relief programmes that we set out to do. The Tsunami affected people in some areas are still in want of basic needs and we are able to offer relief to them. It is very clearly seen that the people are depending more on the NGOs than the Government for emergency as well as permanent relief, because the Government is not doing any appreciable rehabilitation in this part of the country.

Food and Other Essential Items

We see a slight improvement in the food situation in villages where NGOs are constructing temporary or permanent houses. This is so because the NGOs employ some of the villagers in the construction work sites and they are able to earn wages. But in other villages the situation remains almost the same. We took stock of the situation through needs assessment programme and distributed around 3000 packages of food items and infant milk food at regular intervals. We also give fresh vegetables. Additionally we gave washing and toilet soaps, kerosene oil and other essential items including Kitchen utensils, plates etc.

Water and Sanitation

The quality of the water in the wells we dug is good and not salty. However the pre Tsunami wells still has a low percentage of salinity, though less than before. However the overall water and sanitation is quite satisfactory.

Clothing and Shelter

We are continuing with the distribution of school uniforms through the schools in almost all the affected areas along the Eastern coastal belt. The emergency temporary sheds and tents are worn out much faster than we anticipated. Therefore we realized the urgency to put up transitional shelters and with the help of our main sponsors and other agencies, we are now nearing completion of 150 transitional houses at Roladai, This is a village that lies 45 Kilometers to the North of Batticaloa.

At this same site we have commenced construction of 150 Permanent houses alongside the temporary transitional houses that are already built and occupied by people. In the meantime last week, we commenced the building of 60 permanent houses out of the proposed 300 houses we are going to build at Periyaneelavani, which lies 40 kilometers to the south of Batticaloa.

We are happy to report that we have already handed over 20 houses to the beneficiaries. At this juncture we are pleased to record that we are the pioneers in completion of permanent houses in Batticaloa, Ampara and Trincomalee district. Building of permanent houses involves land clearing construction of road ways, culverts, drainage and other infrastructure. Facilities and resources at our disposal are inadequate to go through the entire programme of work that is before us and therefore we would like to appeal for assistance from our friends who are willing to extend their support.

Health Education and Child Care

During the period from last report to the date of this report we have conducted 14 Medical clinics in different villages to the north and south of Batticaloa. At these clinics people with dental, visual diabetic hypertension and other chronic ailment were identified and treated while others were referred to local hospital for treatment or investigation. These clinics were conducted with the assistance of Doctors and Nursing volunteers from USA and New Zealand along with Dr. Dushyanthi who is the daughter of Rev.Dr.S.Jeyanesan.

We are continuing with the supply of exercise books and other stationary items to students whose parents have still not succeeded in generating any income whatsoever. The students are also given school uniforms and such other requirements. Our Child Care Ministry goes on unabated as usual. As some of you are probably aware we have roughly 500 orphans under our care and other 500 in the Day Care Centres as well as the Nutritional Feeding Centres. By the Lord’s Grace and your continuous support we are able to sustain these programmes effectively.

As we reported earlier some of our Day Care Centres and Nutritional Feeding Centres were razed to the ground by the Tsunami and we are carrying on in temporary structures until we are able to complete construction of permanent building for these purposes. Some of our main partners who support these ministries such as KNH Germany, Woord en Daad Netherlands, VeAhavta USA and Uniting Church Australia visited some of these orphanages and other centers.

Livelihoods

We are quite saddened by the state of affairs with regard to livelihood problems of the Tsunami victims. Nothing substantial had been done to solve this problem on a permanent basis. Of course cash for work programme are ongoing in certain areas, but this is quite temporary.

We have drawn up plans to offer some sort of permanent livelihood means to people whom we serve in villages like Vaharai, Roladai and Periyaneelavanai. Crash Mobile Vocational Training programmes are conducted in these and other villages to train the Tsunami victims in Carpentry, Masonry, Electrical, Plumping, Sewing and other trade and at the end of the training, trainees will be provided with basic tools to start working,
Another scheme is to provide canoes and nets for fishing and sewing machines for women folk. Additionally we are looking at few cottage industries too, such as handlooms, weaving of mats, pottery and the like. In two villages we have distributed canoes to 90 persons, fishing nets and gears to 75, Carpentry tools to 76, masonry tools 45, and small grocery shop to 44 persons at Kithul and Morakatanchenai areas. We have also given tools and implements to labourers also.

Mercy Home Grace Care Centre – Trincomalee

The Mercy Home (The Home for destitute elders) at Grace Care Centre Trincomalee was ceremonially declared open by Mr. Eric Parkinson, Chairman, VeAhavta and Dr. Cheryl Huckins on 29th May 2005. Around 800 people from various places gathered for this function.

Herman’s Girls Home – Periyaneelavanai.

We are glad to report that the Herman’s Girls Home, that was totally destroyed and razed to the ground by the Tsunami was relocated and a spacious Girls Home was built. This was declared open by Mr. Herman van der Weerd, President, Ceylon Christian Care Foundation, Netherlands in association with Mr Wijbren Jongsma on 08 August 2005.

Conclusion

By the Grace of our Almighty God and your continued support, we are able to sustain some of these relief and rehabilitation programmes. We thank God for His mercies and Thank you all too. May God Bless you all.
Yours in His Service,
Rev Dr.S.Jeyanesan

Area Minister and Project Director.

Tsunami relief funding for the Batticaloa area

Even though this is not directly related to St. John’s Orphanage project, I am delighted to say that approximately £52,900 is going to be donated for various projects in the Batticaloa area.Immediately after the Tsunami, the Lion’s clubs in the District from Cheshire to Shropshire comprising of 66 clubs set up Disaster committee and asked me to head this committee. The committee decided that all the clubs in the District will be encouraged to take part in fund raising activities and the donations will be used for projects in one community and in one country.

The decision was to focus on Sri Lanka and a specific community in the Batticaloa area, where the St. John’s Orphanage is. A child care centre will be completely funded by the District and will be built in Kaluwanchikudy, near Batticaloa. In addition eighteen boats with all the necessary equipment and six sets of carpentry tools will also be made available through the Batticaloa Lion’s club for some communities in the Dutch bar area.

The boats are going to be named after the counties in the District. The 11 counties are:

  1. Cheshire
  2.  Shropshire
  3. Staffordshire
  4. Wirral
  5. Wrexham
  6. Flintshire
  7. Denbighshire
  8. Conwy
  9. Gwynedd
  10. Anglesey
  11. Powys

In addition three of the boats will be named after three clubs who have contributed more than £5,000 each.
These are:

  1. Shrewsbury
  2. Burton-on-Trent
  3. Cheadle

In total a sum of nearly £67,000 has been donated to areas in and around Batticaloa over the last three years. Once again, a massive thanks to all those who have contributed to the various projects.

Report 3 on Relief And Rehabilitation Tsunami Tidal Wave 2004

Dear Friends,

Once again we thank you all for your generosity, care and concern for the Tsunami affected people of our region. With your financial assistance and expertise, we were able to offer food, clothing, drinking water and such other basic needs and amenities. This provided some measure of relief to the victims and helped them to come out of their traumatic condition and improved their living standards.Though the expectation of the victims from the Government did not come to fruition they now realize that there are people to help them, and these people are none other than you all.

Food Distribution

Since the last report, the situation had not improved much. The Government is yet to come up with a regular plan of foodstuff distribution. Two weeks ago they stopped this and have now recommenced the supply. What is given is insufficient. We were able to help a section of the people in our area. We distributed around 2500 packages of essential food items including infant milk food in two villages, Ralodai 45 KM to the North and Periyaneelavanai 35 KM to theSouth of St John’s Church in Batticaloa .

Utensils and Implements

Since last report, we are now distributing utensils to areas that we have hitherto not reached.. We also distributed a set of implements to each family consisting of an Axe, Crowbar, large knife, Shovel and Coconut scraper for 1000 families, mainly to enable them to take active part in the rebuilding and reconstruction process. These are necessary to clear land for permanent housing and farming activities also.

Water and Sanitation

Despite frequent pumping operations, the salinity in certain wells still remains, but less than before. The experts advised us that this will keep on improving. Therefore we have a programme of periodical pumping operations. In such case we have dug wells in close proximity and have succeeded in getting clean drinking water. We are still in the process of digging more wells.With regard to health and sanitation, things have improved since the last report. We have constructed a few lavatories and even now are constructing a few more in the newly settled areas.

Clothing

Ample clothing had been distributed since last report. We have distributed 4500 sets of school Uniforms to 15 schools in 10 villages. We are in the process of stitching more school uniforms that are to be distributed outside the area of our Tsunami operations. Besides these we also distributed more than 15000 units of used and nearly new clothing, sent from abroad by some of you to nearly 1350 families in 12 villages.

In this connection it must also be mentioned that very considerable amount money has to be paid out as sewing charges. As we value Child Care and Education as an integral part of our ministry we are continuing with this process to ensure that Children are well clothed and kept happy and also to ensure that Children do not stay at home without attending school for want of School Uniforms.

Shelter

Having come through the emergency relief, food, clothing, sanitation and temporary shelter, etc, we have now come to another phase i.e.: the problem of permanent houses. This is a burning issue that had to be addressed in an effective and meaningful manner.

As we apprised you in our last report and consequent to signing the MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) with the Government to build 900 permanent houses, we have commenced preparatory work such as Land clearing, surveying, blocking out the lots etc and are ready to commence construction work.

We are in communication with our sponsors and are awaiting the release of funds. Some other agencies have already commenced work and therefore, we are under pressure from the Government and the dependant people to start work immediately.

Our problem now is finance. This is particularly so because the Government insists on providing minimum of 500 Sq ft housing units per family which is likely to cost around SLR 520000 or US$ 5200 per unit.
We are pleased to record that our main partners who have come a long way with us in the entire process of Tsunami Relief and Reconstruction, namely:

  • Kinder Not Hilfe, Germany,
  • Woord En Daad, Netherlands,
  • VeAhavta, USA,
  • Ceylon Christian Care, Netherlands
  • Swiss Contact, Switzerland

All have pledged their continued support to this end.We are very grateful to these institutions and the Brothers and Sisters who are the players in the teams.

Health and Trauma Therapy

We are very glad to report that, the “Mercy Home” building for Elders at Grace Care Centre, Trincomalee has been completed and a final polishing up is underway now and will be declared opened on 28th MAY 2005 by Mr. Eric Parkinson, the Chairman of VeAhavta USA We will be failing in our duty, if we do not mention the fact that the Mercy Home will provide a home with full medical facilities to hundred destitute elders who would otherwise suffer and die on the streets.
This concept was developed by Mr. Eric Parkinson who had personally seen the plight of our elders on the streets. We salute and thank brother Eric and all his colleagues at VeAhavta. This will also establish a permanent medical centre for the area as well. Health and Medical care to the Tsunami victims are being handled by few agencies and the services are very good.

Our trained counsellors in trauma therapy are at work and they have succeeded in their mission. Victims now appear a bit relieved and with permanent housing and livelihood provided, there is every possibilities that they could come out altogether.

Education and Child Care

We are able to see some improvement in the field of education in the affected areas. Government schools have become functional and therefore we closed down 6 camp Schools and at the moment are left with one our camp school.

We have provided exercise books, school bags, pens, instrument boxes etc to well over 1500 students attending regular schools. Not much is needed in this sector at the moment. The attached schedule shows the number of units we have at the moment.

We are pleased to record that the “Herman’s Girls Home” which was razed to the ground is being rebuilt on a new property purchased on the main road at Periyaneelavanai. New Pastor’s residence and the Day Care Centre building work are also underway. We are grateful to the Ceylon Christian Care, particularly to Mr. Herman and Mr. Laurens of the Netherlands.

Challenges

Permanent housing and providing the means of livelihood is the top priority at the moment. We have not noticed any changes or shift in the Government’s policies or attitudes. It remains the same since the last report. We are at the moment in communication with our main partners listed above.

Livelihood is another burning issue that we identified which draws our immediate attention. Most of the inhabitants affected by Tsunami are fishermen. We have ordered for 75 canoes, the nets and fishing gear and around the middle of this month hope to give out 15 canoes and there by provide livelihood for 30 families, as two men go to Sea in one canoe.

The cost of 1 canoe and fishing gear is approximately SLR 80,000 or US$ 800. In this manner we hope to provide the means of livelihood for about 150 fisher families initially In addition, we have provided 150 Gents and 100 ladies bicycles for needy persons and Students who lost their bicycles. A total of 157 Singer sewing machines too were given to needy persons.

Some of the recipients are using these machines to sew school uniforms for Tsunami relief purposes and thereby earn a substantial income. Some of the bicycles are used by fish and vegetables vendors as well as casual and manual workers to move around to find work. We are trying our best to find the funds necessary to provide a meaningful livelihood. Our main partners have come forward to help these people.Few individuals too have donated toward this.
This is a worthy cause and we solicit the favour of your response please. We are happy to report that we have already worked out a comprehensive on the spot Mobile Vocational Training Centres in the areas of our activities to draw in the village youth and offer them training in skills that are necessary to enhance their own standing as well as the overall reconstruction process of their villages.

General Relief

Some of you know the activities at St. John’s and Grace Care Centre prior to Tsunami as well as after Tsunami, and those who visited us have seen for themselves the magnitude of relief work done by us. However for the benefit of all concerned, we have attached a schedule that explains itself.

Conclusion

In concluding the report, we thank God for all His mercies. We never thought that we could accomplish so much in so short a period. But God’s grace and guidance, your prayers and support made all the difference. Please bear with us for the lengthy report. We simply wanted you all to have some insight into our activities and operations. We all must be thankful to God for having used all of us to be instruments in His Mighty hands to serve the needy Let me thank you all again.
Please pray for our mission, Ministries and the affected people.
May God Bless You all.

Yours sincerely.
Rev S Jeyanesan Area Minister & Manager.

Report 4 on Relief and Rehabilitation Tsunami Tidal Waves 2004

Dear Friends,

Let me take this opportunity to thank you all our dear friends for all the help and support that you have given us thus far and continue to do so to help the affected people in many ways. If not for your timely help and support, I am sure we would not have been able to help so many people as we have done so far.

Friends, we owe you a huge debt of gratitude and we at St. John’s Centre Batticaloa most profusely thank every one of you jointly and severally for every thing that you have done. Please accept our gratitude.

Some of you who were able to visit us here in Batticaloa and Grace Care Centre Trincomalee had the opportunity to see for themselves the devastation caused by the Tsunami and also the relief work that emanated from St. John’s Centre Batticaloa & Grace Care Centre Trincomalee. During this period it is possible that there could have been problems with accommodation and other conveniences.

We might apologetically say that these were beyond our control, mainly due to the influx of Aid Workers suddenly converging at these Centres and the hive of activities in relation to the nature of relief work involved. Please bear with us for any inconvenience caused to any of you.

Food Distribution

The Food situation among the Tsunami Victims had not improved appreciably; for, the people have not regained their livelihood and are still unable to fend for themselves. This is mainly due to the fact that the Government had so far not worked out a solid package Plan for the future of these victims. They are merely handing out inadequate rations and therefore the food situation needs to improve.

Having identified this need, we moved towards serving a section of the victims by providing food items as follows:-3820 packets of food items were distributed in two stages – 1850 packets at Periyaneelavanai and the balance 1970 at Vakarai, Ralodai, Vattavan, Kirimichchai & Mavadiodai.

These packages contained more items than the previous packages. We have provided additional Milk Foods with Vitamins as well.

Utensils

Since last report temporary shelters and semi permanent structures have sprung up in certain areas replacing the tents. This has created a demand mainly for kitchen utensils. We have distributed over 7000 units of Utensils to 850 families and these consisted of cups & Saucers, Plates, Aluminium Wares, Pots, pans, buckets. etc.

Water and Sanitation

Since last report we completed this work that was undertaken in almost 15 villages. The quality of the water had greatly improved but still a few wells are yet to be cleaned up again. We are still in the process of distributing drinking water in keeping with the demand in certain areas. This operation now has been limited to the supply of bottled drinking water.

Clothing and Shelter

As we reported to you earlier we have provided considerable amount of school uniforms to the students and are presently engaged in stitching uniforms for both boys & girls to be distributed in the very near future. This program will take care of the uniform requirements of approximately 8000 students.

We also distributed clothing for adults and other children in six villages in the coastal area. Some of these clothes were new while some were used. These were collected and sent to us by well-wishers.

We also locally purchased underwear mainly for females and distributed these along with the clothing.

We were able to distribute to over 3500 families. We also received one container of used clothes from the Churches of Toronto and Australia. Shelter – Temporary Shelters and semi-permanent shelters have sprung up in few areas replacing the Tents.
However, the temporary shelters are not a solution in the long run for with the on-coming monsoonal season in October-January when the rains come they can be washed away. Therefore the solution is permanent housing.

Even though we were not engaged in constructing temporary shelters we have been effecting repairs to quite a lot of temporary shelters that were very badly leaking and worn off.

With the resources available at our disposal we have already commenced construction of 25 permanent houses in the Trincomalee District and have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Government of Sri Lanka to construct 900 permanent houses.

Medical and Health Situation

The Medical Personnel sponsored by VeAhavta, USA have very successfully concluded their mission and this has greatly reduced the necessity for regular medical clinics. However, we had with us six Medical Personnel from New Zealand and another eight from Australia who were with us for two weeks towards the end of March and beginning of April in Batticaloa. They too were able to assist the local hospitals.

I am very happy to report about the “Mercy Home”, Home for the Elders, sponsored by VeAhavta, USA and put up in Grace Care Centre. Trincomalee will be declared open on the 28th of May 2005. This will house 100 destitute Elders and will have an emergency Elders Medical Unit. This will deal with the elders as well as the children. This is the first of its kind with all facilities to the elders.

Trauma Therapy

Counselling has become an important matter among the Tsunami Victims. The Victims appear to be suffering from many disabilities resulting from the loss of their dear ones, property, livelihood, etc. Rubbing salt to the wounds, there is no concrete package deal from the government for rehabilitation and the victims feel severely let down too. We have around 30 Counsellors mostly trained to visit the victims, console them and to offer them counselling.

We have realized some measure of results in that the victims are gradually coming out of their trauma but not fully overcome as yet. It is our belief that unless the Trauma Victims are provided with permanent housing and livelihood so as to keep them occupied and earn a living for themselves.

This will greatly ease their pain of mind and lessen their burdens and naturally pave the way for peaceful living and thereby there is every possibility that they could be expected to come out of their trauma once and for all.
Currently we are working out a scheme to provide a full package of total relief at least to the most affected victims, of course with a hope that we could succeed in getting them out of their trauma.

We are happy to report that we had two Training Programs for the Trauma Therapists and to other community and social workers. Ms. Irene Kanagy from USA and Dr. Bo Mills conducted series of lectures as Resource Persons.

Education and Child Care

Consequent to the Tsunami disaster there had been a great need for Nutritional Feeding Centres for children. As at end of last reporting period we increased the Feeding Centres to 10 and now opened additional four centres and the total stands at 14 Centres.

The seven camp schools are being managed and serviced by us. Now during the school vacations we propose to improve the standards of these schools. We are happy to report that some of the children in our children homes are willing to serve in these Childcare Centres during their school vacation. This will not only help the children in the refugee camps but also enrich the children’s outlooks from their homes.

Challenges

As we reported last the Government has still not come up with definite programs of rehabilitation in a meaningful way. However, having been constantly at their doors, we were able to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the government on the 23rd of March 2005 to build 900 permanent houses in the villages of Vakarai, Ralodai, Vattavan, Mavadi Odai and Kirimichchai and its environs which is 75 Kms .to the North of Batticaloa and at Periya Nilavanai village which lies 40 Kms to the South of Batticaloa along the coastal belt in Ampara District. These two areas suffered severe damages by the Tidal Waves.

As we advised earlier Kinder Not Hilfe Germany and the Woord and Daad Netherlands who are our Main Partners in the construction of permanent houses will shortly provide us with the necessary funds to commence the construction. Providing the families with fishing Boats, Nets, Agricultural Tools for them to earn a livelihood is another matter of utmost importance and urgency. It is a challenge before us and we are exploring all possibilities to provide assistance.

Distinguished Visitors

We had the privilege of receiving a lot of visitors during this reporting period. There were Medical Doctors, Technical Men, Donors, Well Wishers & others who assisted us, visited the Tsunami victims and contributed much in various ways alleviating the pain of the victims. We appreciate their presence and participation, which is invaluable.

Among the visitors we have had the privilege of the visit by our dear brother Luuk Van Schothorst, Desk Officer, Basic Needs & Emergency Relief of “Woord en Daad”, Netherlands. He was with us during the period 30th March to 4th April 2005.

During this period he visited many projects and refugee camps and was able to see over himself the devastation and the relief operation we undertook St. John’s Centre. He spared no pains to guide us and sets the standards and helped us in many way. His visit was most encouraging, meaningful and a source of strength of us.

We are greatly encouraged. We sincerely thank “Woord & Daad” for his visit. We have also with us Mr. Ruben Wedel, a qualified Mechanical Engineer attached to Tsunami Rehabilitation Group of Asia & Easter Europe Department of the Kinder Not Hilfe , Germany. He will be here with us for some time.

He will guide us and assist us in all relief and rehabilitation work connected with the Tsunami Reconstruction Process. We are grateful to KNH for sending Mr. Ruben to be with us. He is certainly an asset to us.

Conclusion

We thank God for all His mercies and protection during these troubled times. With the help of our brothers and sisters locally and globally we were able to accomplish what we have done so far. Whenever we are involved in the welfare of others, we are mindful of the fact that we are part-takers in building the kingdom of God.

It is again a blessing to be an instrument of God in alleviating the pains of the suffering people. We are glad that we have come to the final phase of rehabilitation process by looking into the possibilities of providing permanent houses and livelihood for these people and with this end in view; we solicit the favour of your continuous support, advice and prayers.
May God bless you all.

Rev. S. Jeyanesan Area Minister & Manager
St John’s Church Uranee,Batticaloa Sri Lanka

Tsunami – initial reports

Below are two reports taken from emails by Joseph Vos who has been involved in the campaign to support the St. John’s Orphanage.

First Report on tsunami in Batticolai, East Sri Lanka.

From: Joseph Vos (vos@netvision.net.il)

Dear Friends,

I would like to inform you about what is currently known about the situation in Sri Lanka. As far as I am aware of at this point, Sri Lanka was hit with the full force of the tsunami from a 8.9 richter earthquake off Indonesia. Twenty foot high waves swept away whole villages.

I have been in contact with Rev. Jeyanesan, area minister of the Eastern Province for the JDCSI. The contact was very brief and communication was very difficult. He said that in Batticaloa only there were at least five thousand dead people and this number can rise.

He was just coming back from visiting one of the orphanages. He told me that the tsunami hit this orphanage so hard that the whole orphanage was destroyed completely. The pastor’s wife for the orphanage and their baby were swept away as well. They are still missing. She had been standing outside at the time the wave struck.

The children were in church at that time and were safe. Rev. Jeyanesan told me through another pastor by email that all the children are safe.

The situation in the other centers is as of yet not very clear, but one friend in Colombo told me that the other centers are probably safe.

Your prayers are in need at this time. The aftermath of such a disaster often means many broken families and great distress for all people inthe area. Please keep them in your prayers.

Joseph Vos
For the St. John’s Orphanages

Second Report on tsunami

Dear Friends,

It seems that many villages were completely destroyed in the Eastern Province. The highway connecting most parts has become impassable as the water has also reached that. I have heard that in one center in Trincomalee the children had been loaded into a bus just before the waves damaged some of the structures there.

The refugee camp next door has suffered great damage and many of the people there have been taken by the sea. I heard that none of the fishermen who were on the sea survived. Often, these fishermen do not know how to swim.

Apparently, many of the children from the homes were on leave for the holidays and were with relatives. It is as of yet unknown how many of the children have survived. Those children that were in the homes at the time of the tidal waves have all survived.

At this time also an appeal goes out for financial help. Access to the area is severely limited. All activities are severely hampered also by the devastation and also some by the bad weather. It is not possible to travel into the affected areas, but we are able to send funds to help the emergency needs.

We have been to a village of the indigenous Veddahs in the coastal regions and have brought them emergency supplies. Their village was completely erased, but the people had left before the destruction came. None of our structures in that area were found.

Still many bodies are strewn about in trees, in destroyed buildings, in the water, everywhere. They are starting to decompose and there is actual danger of an outbreak of diseases as a result. Many areas are normally already inaccessible and now especially the access is severely hampered. Supplies of drinking water have been contaminated by the sea water and latrines. Supplies of food are being hampered by inaccessible roads. Many people are without homes and many have lost their complete families. The disaster is of enormous magnitude. Still communication is severely hampered and only those with mobile phones can at times be reached, though this is also severely overstressed.

At this point estimates in the Eastern province alone are that around thirty thousand people are dead or missing.

The missing people are assumed dead as most do not know how to swim. The financial damage is enormous as well, as none of the people were insured, their lifes have been destroyed and many have lost their families. I am sure that with combined help we can bring some relief into the situation and I make therefore an appeal to you.

Please also continue to pray for these poor people as they wander about unknowingly what to do next with their life. They will need to find some kind of direction in their lifes now that so many have lost all that is dear and near to them.

Yours,
Joseph Vos

Nov. 2004 Financial update

We have now received audited accounts for all the moneys we have donated
to the Orphanage project. A copy of this was also given to the Lions club
in Batticaloa, Sri Lanka.

Many of the children sent us greetings written on shaped pictures they
had drawn and cut out of paper. Just a few are shown here.

An application has been submitted to LCIF for a Grant of $5,000 towards
equipping the printing shop in one of the Vocational Training Centres.
The criterion for such a grant is that we ourselves need to match the
funds.

To this end the whole of last year we had accumulated all the donations
given to this project. This amount now stands at £3125. This should
more than adequately meet the LCIF matching fund criteria.

We hope to hear the outcome of the application in the very near future.
The indications are that it would be favourable.

Donation matrix is also posted here showing how the funds have accumulated
towards the Vocational Training Centre printing shop equipment.

Latest Funding 2008 Update –

A summary of our funding achievements

So far approximately £25,000 has been collected and donated to the cause since this initiative began. Presently about £1200 every quarter is remitted. We have about 20 regular donors and two companies who also donate on a regular monthly basis. Occasionally we have unusual donations, one of our regular donors who got married recently requested his guests to donate to this initiative.

Read more…

£5,250 so far sent to Sri Lanka

  • A further sum of £1750 has been sent to Sri Lanka to support the project making a total of no less than £5,250. Most of this came from donations made by the various Lions clubs in the Zone, when they adopted this as the Zone Project. We also have 15 donors who are contributing monthly a sum of £5.00 towards this project.
  • An application is being prepared to be submitted to the Lions Club International Fund requesting donations to extend an existing Vocational Centre in Batticaloa. Rev. Jeynesan feels that more young people can be given the opportunity to acquire skills and fend for themselves. To meet the necessary criteria of LCIF matching funds raised by Lions clubs towards capital projects, we are actively seeking large organisation that are prepared to donate towards this project. Once again we are delighted to say GEMNI Group of companies have agreed to donate a regular sum of £100 on a monthly basis to kick off this second phase of the project.
  • The President of the Lions club in Batticaloa has expressed a wish to come over to the UK and meet up with members of the Lions club in Shrewsbury. Coincidentally Rev. Jeynesan, the Manager of the Orphanages project is also going to be visiting the UK at the same time. Members of the club are very much looking forward to these visits. These are scheduled for the latter part of August 2003.

The Initial Spend

Report on how £3,500 that was raised towards this appeal was spent.According to Rev. Jeyanesan the first instalment of £3,500 was invested in the Nutritional Feeding Programme run in the Eastern Province. The following centres are being supported at a cost per month of £145  per month per centre:

  1. St. John’s Nutritional Feeding Centre with 60 children which is being run on the compound of the St. John’s Church in Batticaloa. This is the main church centre from which Rev. Jeyanesan orchestrates all the various projects and which functions as his home-base.
  2.  Kiran NFC, 60 children, Kiran is a village 27 km north from the St. John’s Centre which was affected by the Indian peace keeping force and later by the Sri Lanka army and special task forces. Many people lost their bread winners, and so many children need help here.
  3. Periyanilavanai Nutritional Feeding Centre has 55 children. Periyanilavanai is a border village between Muslim and Hindu villages and is situated 41 kilometres south from the St. John’s Centre. This Nutritional Feeding Centre is run on a compound together with a church and the Herman’s Girls Home.

These three centres have been running from the February 1st from funds provided by us. At the end of each year, we will be provided with Financial Statements audited by a Chartered Accountant. Monies will be spent solely on these three centres.

The activities going on in the Nutritional Feeding Centres are as follows:

  1. Feeding: the children often do not get more than once a day food. This program allows them to receive two extra meals a day
  2. Preventive medicines and vaccinations. The centres do provide medicines and vaccinations as necessary.
  3. The older children can go to school instead of having to stay at home to take care of the younger ones.
  4.  Nursery education. The children are also receiving some basic nursery education.