Monday, March 21, 2005

School Rebuilding Project - Update

The school committee visited Batticaloa on 13th March along with the architects and civil engineer.

The Onthanchimadam Sri Vinayagar Vidyalayam is to be re-located since the original location is at risk for any future tsunamis. We visited the site of the old school, and saw the devastation that the tsunami had caused. It was a blessing in disguise that the tsunami hit on a Sunday, if not most if not all the children in this school would have been victims, since this school was located on an arm of land that extended into the sea. A beautiful location when you see it now with the calm waters around it, the school was basically on a beach.

After meeting up with the Principal Mr. Peranantham, we visited the new land that has been allocated by the government. This 4 acre land is yet to be formally handed over to the school, but since it is state land this is not foreseen to be a problem. Currently on this land, UNICEF has set up temporary classroom structures, and provided furniture, and children attend school as usual. They will continue to do so whilst the new structures are being made. At the far end of the land IOM (International Organization for Migration) has set up a refugee camp for approx 350 families. These families will receive housing around the school (there is sufficient free land for this purpose) and their children will continue to school at Sri Vinayagar Vidyalayam.

The architects have drawn up the lay out plans and provided estimates (approx Rs. 64 Million - USD 640,000 - before provision for contingencies and VAT) , which have been submitted to the District School Committee on schedule. In the interim the architects drawing will be completed by Monday (21st) and we hope to have a meeting with the principal this week since he is visiting Colombo.

OUR SECOND SCHOOL - Mankerny RCTM Vidyalaya, Batticaloa
The District School committee has requested our club to be involved with Mankerny RCTM Vidyalaya, Batticaloa. The lead club for this project is the Rotary Club of Pamunugama, our role would be to assist in sourcing donors to assist building this school.

Mankerni Roman Catholic Tamil Missionary School is a Primary and Secondary grade school with classes from Grades 1-10(O Level). It is a Type 2 school. The school has a total of 490 students, 213 male and 277 female. The majority of the students (359) are in the Primary School, which is from Grades 1-5. The school has 12 teachers.

This is one of the schools that was almost totally destroyed by the tsunami and has to be relocated owing to its close proximity to the sea. Negotiations are presently underway with relevant Government officials and the Ministry of Education to identify a suitable block of land on which to relocate the school.

However we estimate that the school building will cost approx Rs. 64 Million ( USD 640k) as Sri Vinaygar, since the student population is the same.

We seek the assistance of any kind donors who would like to help us fund the rebuilding of this school. Please contact Chamila on if you would like any further details of the school or would like to make a pledge/donation towards the school.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Contribution from Wausau Earlybird Rotary Club, WI, USA

Rotarian Russ Erickson, Treasurer Wausau Earlybird RC has been in touch with us since January 2005. They have shown a keenness to contribute towards our school rebuilding project, and have now made a contribution of US$5,225.

Thank you Rtn. Russ and Wausau Earlybird RC for your generosity.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Housing Project Update

The ground work on the Housing Project is being completed, and so far we have:
1. Registered with the relevant authorities as a donor for providing housing for tsunami victims
2. Identified a community that needs their lives and livelihoods rebuilt
3. Conducted a needs assessment on the identified community group, to formulate effective programmes to benefit them in the long term
4. Formed liaisons with project partners (so far with the Rotary Club of Batticaloa, and the local governing bodies such as the Provincial Urban Development Authority)
5. Got land allocated to construct houses for the community identified

At present, we are liaising with the relevant authorities to enter into a formal agreement to obtain the land for construction.

Need Assessment Research Results are in

The results of the Need Assessment study conducted to identify the real needs of the people displaced by the tsunami in the Dutchbar area in Batticaloa reveals that, among other needs, shelter is a prime need. The research findings are instrumental in fine tuning our long term project plans, and to deliver an effective rebuilding programme. The study was conducted by ACNeilsen, a premier international research company in Sri Lanka, and was done free of charge as a part of their contribution towards the Regency relief efforts, and as a part of their Corporate Social Responsibility Programme.

The research team lead by Crystal and Niranjan Boniface worked tirelessly to conduct this comprehensive research, and Regency thanks them for their invaluable inputs.

The research findings revealed that:

  1. of the three areas of needs tested - Housing, Livelihoods and Education, Housing was the most urgently felt need. Majority of the community had brick houses with two bedrooms, living room, kitchen, toilet (detached from the house) and their own well for water.
  2. The group prefer to be relocated from their current location into a safe area, and wish that the entire community will be relocated together.
  3. Prior to tsunami, the people had a relaxed lifestyle, and took pride in being independent. They do not like to be dependent on others now, and want to start livelihoods soon.
  4. Occupations varied from carpentry, tailoring, mechanics, blacksmith and fishing. Some considered to be retrained in a new livelihood as well.
  5. Education is considered a necessity, but they are confident that the facilities would be provided by the state.
  6. Two months after tsunami, and after several shifts from and to temporary shelters, they are beginning to lose hope for a better tomorrow.

Regency intends to bring back the element of hope into their lives, and plan to expedite the relief programmes.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Regency Reconstruction and Rebuilding Projects

With the assistance of our generous contributors, Regency has committed to being a part of the country's major reconstruction and rebuilding plan. We will be reconstructing a village, redevelop livelihoods, reconstruct two schools, and help re-equip 10 more schools.

The objective of Regency in delivering these projects is to upgrade the lives of people affected by the tsunami, for we believe that we can make a positive difference in their lives.

Housing Project

Construction of houses will be the major project undertaken by Regency. We have selected one of the hardest hit villages for this. With the help of the Rotary Club of Batticaloa - the Club closest to the affected area, we have selected a village located in the eastern coast near the city of Batticaloa. This village known as Dutchbar, consists of 263 families, and is of a mixed ethnicity. We have committed to build 100 houses in this village, and plan to start reconstruction using a part of the funds received.

The cost of constructing a house which is at least 500 square feet in size with basic facilities such as electricity and water, and community facilities for the village is estimated to cost SLR 500,000 (USD 5,000).

The community in this village is closely knit, and have requested that they be housed together as far as possible when they are relocated. We have started dialogues with local and foreign Rotary Clubs and other donors, and are hopeful that we will be able to raise funds to finance houses for all these families.

Livelihood Development Project

We will also be redeveloping livelihoods of the villagers in a bid to help them restart their lives as soon as possible. Primarily we will focus on the village of Dutchbar, where our housing project will be. We will be providing them the financial means to restart their livelihoods, and provide them guidance to manage and their businesses at a later stage.

Up to date, we have sponsored:

  • Three outboard motors and other requirements of fishermen co-ordinated by Pottuvil and Arugam Bay Fisherman’s Association - a registered organization for providing relief in the East. The sponsorship was Rs. 500,000
  • Two outboard motors for fishermen in Komari, in the East Coast. The purchase is co-ordinated by Re Build Sri Lanka. Total cost of this is Rs.252,000 at Rs.126,000 per motor.
  • Six Diyakawa Fishing Oru (Boats), fishing gear and 1 Motor Mechanic's Tool Set for fishermen in Payagala, in South-West Coast. The purchase is co-ordinated by the Vanguard Foundation, at a total cost of Rs.271,780. (Cost of each Oruwa is Rs.26,250, and the cost for a set of fishing nets with ropes and floats required for each Oruwa isRs.18,290. The cost of a Tool Kit for a Motor Mechanic is Rs.4,540)

There are several more requests similar to the above that we will consider depending on the funding available.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Danish Rotarians Fund 3 School Re-Building Projects

Rotary District 3220 - Sri Lanka has undertaken the reconstruction of 25 tsunami struck schools. Regency has been given the responsibility of co-ordinating the construction of two schools.
We are pleased to announce that rebuilding of one of these schools - Sri Vinayagar Vidyalaya in Batticaloa, will be funded by Rotary Denmark. A four-member delegation from Denmark visited Sri Lanka, and visited Jaffna, Trincomalee, and Batticaloa. They took part in some of the relief work, and gained first hand experience of the situation in these areas. The team signed a Memorandum of Understanding to sponsor the construction of three schools.
The three schools sponsored by Rotary Denmark are: Kudaththanai Karaiyoor in Jaffna, Thamaraivil Al-Rawla in Trincomalee and Sri Vinayagar Vidyalaya in Batticaloa. These schools were selected jointly by the Apex Committee and the visiting team.
Please refer to
Rotary Sri Lanka for more information on the visiting Rotarians from Denmark.
Thank you Rotary Denmark – your generosity will long be remembered by a grateful nation.

School Rebuilding Project

Regency will assist the Sri Lanka Rotary District in rebuilding two schools. We have been appointed as the Lead Club for rebuilding Onthachchimadam Sri Vinayagar Vidyalayam, Kaluwanchikudday, Batticaloa. The school was visited by President Mario and was found to be in ruins, with only one building standing. All other facilities of the school had been washed away.
Subsequent to this visit, it was found that the Government has identified this school for relocation since it was within the 200 metre coastal line. Land has already been identified and handed over to the Principal of the school. We are awaiting an official letter from the Provincial Council confirming the hand over of the land. Reconstruction of this school will be funded by Rotary Denmark. [Read more on Rotary Denmark involvement]

The school has approximately 500 children from grades 1 to 10. Currently the Principal has set up temporary sheds in this land and is conducting classes.

Rtn Chamila and Rtn Gehan, who are members of the school project committee, are scheduled to visit Batticaloa next week to meet with the Principal and Zonal Education Director to get specific feedback on their requirements, since we also understand that the school is now to be expanded to house Advanced Level students. ( i.e. up to grade 12). Once this is done, we will work with the Rotary District Co-ordinator to obtain architectural designs and estimates.

The estimates will be forwarded to the Rotary District by the 15th of March. They in turn will evaluate costs and advise us if we are to go ahead. Construction will commence in April.

In addition to this school, the Rotary School Re-Awaken committee is in the process of allocating a second school - also in Batticaloa, for us to work on as an Associate Club with the Rotary Club of Pamunugama. We will get details of the second school over the course of the next few days.

The estimated cost of rebuilding 2 schools is approximately LKR 75 Million ( USD 750,000). This includes building and equipment such as computers, library, water and sanitation etc.

Project Chair - Rtn. Chamila Wickramasinghe
Phone: +94 777 364618