VOLUNTEERS OF AMERICA OF LOS ANGELES

SRI LANKA RELIEF FUND

 DECEMBER 2006 UPDATE

It has been almost two years since the tsunami and, fortunately, far fewer tsunami affected people are now living in temporary shelters. Many of the permanent housing structures promised for tsunami victims have now been constructed and are now occupied.  Clearly, not all of the funds donated by caring people all over the world were ultimately used by those responsible for reconstruction to help those in need and it is sad to say that many people are still suffering the effects of the tsunami.  However, significant progress has been made in helping those who suffered from the tsunami.

The aid situation has clearly entered a different stage due to the length of time since the tragedy, as well as the deterioration of the peace process over the last several months which many believe will lead to a return to civil war. There are tens of thousands of displaced people in the north and eastern parts of the country - people displaced not from the tsunami, but from the fighting between government and rebel forces.  Unfortunately, these people that previously suffered from the tsunami are now suffering again as a result of the fighting. It is not safe at this time to travel to the north or east, including many of the tsunami affected areas where we have previously provided aid.  Our nursery school, located on the east coast of Sri Lanka, is currently unsafe to visit and we hope that the children, family and staff are all fine.  We will closely monitor the situation and, for the benefit of everyone,  we hope that peace will return as soon as possible.

Fortunately, there is also some good news to report at this time! In order to help provide a long-term solution to the severe poverty afflicting many people in tsunami affected areas, we have chosen to provide significant funding for a micro-credit program in the Hambantota District in southern Sri Lanka. This program, which has operated successfully for several years, will provide interest-free loans to very poor individuals in tsunami affected areas.  This program is similar in structure to the Grameen model in that borrows are in groups of five and members of each group will get loans as loans are repaid by others in their group.  Initial loans will be 5,000 Rs (approximately U.S. $50) and will be used to purchase income generating assets.  These loans will enable poor individuals the opportunity to improve their livelihood and help them become more self-sufficient.  100% of funds we are contributing to this program will be used to provide loan funds as our program operator has secured additional funding to pay for all administrative costs.  We are very excited about this program that will initially help 100 families, expand to 500 families within the next 2 years and then, as loans recycle, help similar numbers of families in future years.  We will watch results of the program over the next several months, and if the program remains very successful - which is what we are expecting, we will hopefully increase our funding to this program to help provide a long-term solution to the problem of severe poverty in tsunami affected areas.  

Thank you for your continued support of those in need in Sri Lanka!


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This page was last updated on:  August 24, 2007

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