On the day that it is awarded the highly prestigious UN Habitat Scroll of Honour from the United Nations in a special ceremony marking World Habitat Day in Jakarta, Sarvodaya has released its six month report of activities following the Tsunami on 26th December 2004.
Sarvodaya’s post-Tsunami work to date has spanned 226 villages from a matter of hours after the first wave struck up to the present day and the work is ongoing with a target of 1,000 villages as beneficiaries by 2008. With donations still coming in, Sarvodaya has so far received R397mill/- (US$3.97mill) from institutional and private donors. These donations are being and will continue to be spent in accordance with Sarvodaya’s ‘5R’ recovery programme – Relief, rehabilitation, Reconstruction, Reconciliation and Reawakening – ‘From Tsunami to Deshodaya’
Comments Dr A.T. Ariyaratne, Founder and President of Sarvodaya: ‘In the face of extraordinary tragedy, and in many cases the loss of their own homes, friends and family, all of our staff, villagers and international volunteers throughout Sri Lanka rallied together without hesitation and worked as a team day and night to help the communities and their own colleagues in the immediate relief programme. Such ongoing selfless and generous commitment is perhaps typical of the Sarvodaya spirit but it has especially touched my heart to witness such selflessness at a time of great tragedy and personal suffering.’
The initial response from 26th December was for all Sarvodaya staff at head office and in the districts plus additional volunteers to work together to distribute immediate, practical aid; by 8th February, essential food items, water, clothing, shoes, educational material and kitchen utensils to the value of R.44.6million/- (US$450,000) had been distributed. Sarvodaya received 48 shipped containers and a further 15 plane loads of aid from international well-wishers and donors – of those, 36 containers were handed over to the Social Services Department.
Mrs.Neetha Ariyaratne & Mrs Udani Mendis handing over the 6 Month Report (Acting Executive Director, Sarvodaya) to Ms. Rachel Perera (Director Donor/NGO/Civil Society Coordination & TAFREN) and to Mr.Miguel Bermeo (Country Coordinator UNDP)
Welfare Centres were created by Sarvodaya’s Shanti Sena Peace Movement in 113 villages in the south and east for the month of February; in keeping with tradition, these Shanti Sena volunteers from non-affected villages lived within the affected villages to work alongside and offer emotional support to their fellow Sri Lankans. The priorities were to organise clean-up, healing, first aid, water purification and nutritional support.
Following the immediate relief work in distributing aid, the ongoing work focuses on 12 areas:- Camp and Community Management; Water & Sanitation; Health & Preventative Care; Housing Resettlement; Women, Children & Orphans; Psychological and Spiritual Healing; Livelihood Support; Documentation & Legal Assistance; Environmental Management & Ecology; Communications; Disaster Management & Mitigation; Integrated Villages.
At all times, Sarvodaya’s principle aim is to work in complete harmony with the people of Sri Lanka and to carry out that work effectively, sustainably and efficiently whilst providing total transparency and accountability. It has formed the National Reawakening Council, consisting of 95 professional and intellectual Sri Lankan nationals whose goal is to formulate a national programme and principles which address all communities and direct the country towards national reawakening. The former Governor of the Central Bank advices the committee which takes charge of all funding and accountability. Sarvodaya continues to be in very close communication with all areas of the Presidential Secretariat, Government, Donor Community Group and TAFREN (Task Force for Rebuilding the Nation) and urges the country ‘not to rebuild poverty’ and to effect rapid resettlement in all parts of Sri Lanka together with an early-warning system.
Sarvodaya has developed a detailed Donor Relations Policy which ensures good governance, monitoring and evaluation on the part of Sarvodaya.
Sarvodaya’s website was updated daily with information on relief activity. As a result of this and its other chain friends and contacts, Sarvodaya received tremendous support from international and local communities and organizations.
Without their support from $ 10 to over $ 1 million, the immediate and ongoing
relief to reawakening programme would not be possible.