The living standard of thousands of farmer families in the North Central and Eastern Provinces of Sri Lanka is very low. They are living in small huts and 90% of these families do not have sanitary facilities. The fluorite level in the water in these provinces is very high and 12% of the population is suffering from renal diseases due to this. The schools in these areas do not have even the basic facilities and do not have sufficient teachers. Due to this the children do not get proper education. In some villages the sick has to walk 10 to 20 km to a health centre and the children to a school. We have selected the underprivileged villages in North Central Province for development under this project.
RURAL SECTOR DEVELOPMENT
Three villages, namely Periyakulama, Katukeliyawa and Thammennakulama in the Anuradhapura District, have been selected for development under this project. The North and South of these villages border the Vauniyawa District.
There are 386 families in these three villages with a population of 1,469 of which 773 are female and 696 are male. Out of the 696 men only 73 have found employment in the forces and the rest rely on farming for their livelihood. The women are unemployed and they help their husbands in cultivation work. There are 298 children who attend school amongst whom are two undergraduate students.
The land in this area is very fertile. The people in these villages had a fairly good living standard till 1985 thanks to a fertile land and a decent harvest. Owing to terrorist activity which sprang up in 1985, the people had to give up on their farming. In 1988 terrorists killed three villagers and torched several houses in these villages, opening the path to a massive exodus. The villagers moved out from their homes and were forced to live in refugee camps. After clearing out operations conducted by the Sri Lanka Army, the villagers settled back in, and there now remains a permanent Army camp offering security to the area.
The tanks in the area have been abundant from 1985 and the villagers have no way of continuing with their farming. Crop cultivation is carried out annually in the wet season. They are without work during the rest of the year. If these tanks can be repaired they could collect water during the monsoon and carry out their farming through out the year.
The school in Thammennakulama has been shut down as a result of damage due to terrorist attacks. The relevant authorities have not taken any steps to reopen this school. The children in this village have to walk an exhausting seven kilometers to the school in Periyakulama for their education. We are in negotiation with the Department of Education to reopen this facility at least as a primary school. US$ 40,000 is needed to reconstruct the buildings with usable sanitary facilities along with electricity and water and we are seeking a donor to fund the development of this project.
The residents of Periyakulama, Katukeliyawa and Thammennakulama also suffer from a lack of medical facilities. The sick, the old and the very young alike, have to walk or go by bicycle all the way to Medawachchiya which is 22 km away from their border. A Mobile Medical Clinic and Dispensary is an urgent necessity for these villages.
The families who lost their homes due to terrorist activities are managing in small clay huts with straw roofs. They do not have even the basic facilities. There are a total of 42 families in these three villages, all of whom are badly in need of housing facilities.
We have already built ten houses for the above families with available funds. Each house has one bedroom with a sitting area and has cost US$ 1,500. Without the unprecedented community participation each house would have cost approximately US$2,000.The recipients made the bricks themselves in addition to helping out with their unskilled labour. We hope to build many more houses for these villagers according to the donations we receive.
Periyakulama which has 149 houses does not have electricity. Gaminiwewa College, the only school for all three villages, is situated in Periyakulama. This school does not have a computer lab as there is no power supply even though a high-tension electricity line runs ironically right over this village. Gaminiwewa College also does not have the basic facilities for its students. There is no water service resulting in inadequate sanitary conditions. There is a room for the library but no books are available while all lab equipment is available for the science laboratory, but no building to house it in. Karuna Trust has already built the laboratory building at a cost of US$ 10,000.
While there exists a pre-school in Thammenakulama (which is the only pre-school for all three villages), that too does not have the basic facilities. The Jephcott Charitable Trust in the UK has donated US$ 14,000 to build a pre-school in the village of Periyakulama. We are presently in need of funds to develop the existing pre-school in Thammennakulama and to build an additional one in Katukeliyawa.
The main sources of water for domestic use at these villages are the garden wells, field or tube wells. The majority of the residents (78% of the population) use the garden well, a direct result of which is why 12% of the people in this area suffer from chronic renal failure. Recent research conducted in this area shows that 8% of children under 18 years are having signs of early renal disease. We tested the water in a hundred selected wells and found that the average fluoride level in the well-water is 1.8%, whereas the normal level should be between 0.5 and 0.8%, proving that it is not suitable for consumption, especially for children under the age of six years.
There are three major medically proven reasons for renal diseases:
1. A high fluoride level in the water.
We have started a project to supply each house with a fluoride filter along with a set of clay pots and educate the people on how to take precautions in preventing early renal disease. Such a fluoride filter will cost around US$ 20 and a set of clay pots US$ 10. The average cost to fill the filters with brick pieces, transportation, distribution and seminars is estimated to cost US$ 10 per family. There are 386 families in all three villages and the total cost of the project is US$ 15,440. This should be considered a priority project as the health of these villagers is of utmost importance. We have already distributed 100 fluorite filters to the families with children under six years.
Out of the 386 families in this area 243 do not have access to proper sanitary facilities. The estimated cost for a basic toilet is US$ 200.
We are carrying out the Periyankulama Project with the assistance of the District Secretary of Anuradhapura and the Divisional Secretary of Medawachchiya with the Village Officer of Periyakulama monitoring the progress of the work being done.
Asokapura Development Project
Asokapura is a village in Mihintale Divisional Secretariat area, in Anuradhapura district. In 1985, some of the war refugees from Jaffna were settled down in this village. This village is 5km interior from the main road, and the road to the village is an unpaved gravel road where there is no public transport. There is a stretch of about 2km that goes through a forest reserve. Read More
Home for the homeless
26 new homes built for the homeless including 16 new houses in Madawachchiya divisional secretary area and other parts of Sri Lanka such as Mihintale, Rambukka, Thelijjawila. Read More
Flood Relief donations handed over in affected areas including Galenbinduniwewa and Mathugama. Read More
Few general donations