Sarvodaya Shanthi Sena Sansadaya successfully launched its Religious Leaders National Conference at BMICH in the presence of a large gathering of religious leaders who belongs to all religions of Sri Lanka
A new Centre to promote peace in the Eastern part of Sri Lanka was inaugurated on the day of 3rd Tsunami anniversary (26th of December 2007) at the Sarvodaya District Centre in Trincomallee.
The Sarvodaya Peace Resource Centre Trincomallee, the construction of which was sponsored by the Province of Upper Austria and IICP, will serve as a focal point for promoting inter-community and inter-religious harmony and capacity building in non-violent conflict transformation. This unique Centre consists of the following.
It has been three years since the Indian Ocean Tsunami of 26th December, 2004, the worst natural catastrophe in Sri Lankan history. The disaster killed 31,229 people and injured 23,189. A total of 4,100 people are still reported missing and the number of displaced was 516,150. Nearly 90,000 houses and 40,000 shallow water wells were either damaged or destroyed. Altogether more than one million people who resided along the coastal lines of 13 administrative districts in Sri Lanka were affected by the tragedy.
Durham University is this week celebrating two exceptional people who have played a pivotal role in the post-tsunami recovery efforts in Sri Lanka. It is awarding honorary degrees to the vice-chancellor of one of the country’s leading universities and the executive director of one of the largest non-governmental organisations in Sri Lanka.
At a ceremony taking place at the University of Ruhuna in Southern Sri Lanka on Friday 16 February, Professor Sir Kenneth Calman, Vice-Chancellor of Durham University, will confer honorary doctorates in civil law (DCL) on Dr Vinya Ariyaratne, Executive Director of the Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement, for his unfailing dedication to humanitarian causes and peace initiatives and Professor Ranjith Senaratne, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ruhuna, for his academic distinction, effective management and visionary development of an international strategy for his institution.
PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Germany had the first contact with Sarvodaya in Feb. 2005 in connection with the Tsunami Reconstruction activities in Sri Lanka. After watching the vast devastation caused by this most destructive natural disaster of recent times, Germany’s PwC leader Hans Wagener initiated a fund collection drive immediately and appointed a Task Force to follow up all Tsunami related activities of the German Company. At the same time the Global Company started the “People who Care Initiative” on an international basis.
Thirty houses in Galle district were ceremonially handed over to Tsunami-affected families in the villages of Akurala and Kahawa. Funded by Marks and Spencer with the support of Care International, these houses were built by the community led by the Sarvodaya Shramadana Society as part of the movement’s post-Tsunami reconstruction work.
In the midst of traditional drumming and music, President Mahinda Rajapakse declared open the Lagoswatta village that Sarvodaya constructed for fifty-five Tsunami-affected families from three villages in Kalutara. Designed and implemented as a model of participatory development towards environmental sustainability, the village is an innovative concept in Sri Lanka. It was financed by Sarvodaya as well as American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (AJJDC), the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) and the Asia Pacific Forum for Environment and Development (APFED).
President Rajapakse and the Founder-President of Sarvodaya, Dr. A.T. Ariyaratne ceremonially opened the village by unveiling the plaque of the housing project, hoisting flags, and handing over the keys of the houses to the new owners. President Rajapakse, Dr. Ariyaratne, and other dignitaries personally cut ribbons and took part in religious blessings in two of the houses while the rest of the house keys were handed over on the main stage. The celebrations were enlivened by dancers and the band from Kalutara Balika Vidyalaya.
Sarvodaya Eco-village development pilot project has been designed and introduced for 55 poor tsunami affected families in Kaluthara District in the western province of Sri Lanka as an innovative model of participatory development to address environmental sustainability. The pilot project is primarily financed by Sarvodaya with contributions for specific components of the eco-village by the American Joint Jewish Distribution Committee (AJJDC), USAID, Bush Clinton Tsunami Fund, the United Nations Environment Programme, the Asia Pacific Forum for Environment and Development (APFED). The early design advice was given by world renowned permaculture experts from Australia Max Lindegger and Lloyd Williams of Ecological Solutions and Global Eco-village Network (GEN). The architectural designs were by Mr.Chandana Edirisuriya, a Sri Lankan Chartered Architect.
Work has begun on the eco-village on 4th of April 2005 and the village will be officially declared opened by His Excellency the President of Sri Lanka Mahinda Rajapakse on 28th March 2006.
One year ago, the giant Tsunami waves that crashed onto the Sri Lankan coast carried away the lives of 40,983 people on the island and injured 23,189. A total of 4,846 people are still reported missing.
The greatest tribute anyone can make to those who were lost to the catastrophe is to help their loved ones recover their lives that were left in shambles.
Sarvodaya has indeed been engaged in this work for the past twelve months, but it did not forget to conduct a few ceremonies to mark the first anniversary of the worst natural disaster to hit the island.
After the devastation wrought by the Tsunami, women in the affected areas took a prime role in the rebuilding process, working tirelessly to get their families back on their feet. Sarvodaya Shramadana Sangamaya recognized the great courage of these women and took steps to lend them a supporting hand.