October 3rd marks two important events for the Sarvodaya Shramadana Sangamaya. The society will be honored by the United Nations with an award for its outstanding humanitarian work following the Tsunami of last December. The day will also see the launch of “Waves of Compassion: Sarvodaya’s Tsunami to Deshodaya Plan After Six Months of Action,” a comprehensive report on the recovery work that was completed by the organization in the first six months after the tidal wave.
In a ceremony to be held in Jakarta, Indonesia to mark World Habitat Day, Sarvodaya will be presented with the Habitat Scroll of Honor award, a prize that is granted annually by the United Nations Human Settlement Program for outstanding work in the field of settlement and shelter. In a communiqué dated September 7th, Francisco Vasquez, the World Habitat Day Coordinator of the program, informed Dr. Vinya Ariyaratne, the Executive Director of Sarvodaya, of the honor. Vasquez wrote that Sarvodaya was awarded the Habitat prize because of “the way its well established network was able to intervene effectively when the country was hit by last year’s devastating Tsunami. Within hours, the Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement opened a national operations centre that provided half a million dollars worth of humanitarian aid in the first three months.” He went on to commend the organization for its work in towns and villages across Sri Lanka for almost fifty years to promote peace, adequate water and sanitation, a clean environment, and basic health, education, energy, communication, and housing for everyone. Even as the organization continues with this work, it has also made a large commitment towards the Tsunami recovery effort with an intensive, drawn-out plan, which encompasses not only building new homes and providing material comforts to those who lost theirs to the tidal wave, but also organizing programs to alleviate the mental trauma suffered by them.
The six-month report that is to be launched on this day reflects this work. The publication provides a detailed account of the precise efforts that have been initiated by Sarvodaya and the policy statements to which it has adhered during this work. It details the organization’s 5R Tsunami to Deshodaya plan, which encompasses a five-pronged vision for the recovery work, relief, rehabilitation, reconstruction, reconciliation, and reawakening. The publication also gives an explanation of the twelve areas into which the organization has divided its recovery effort such as the supply of water and sanitary services, livelihood support, and human settlement, and provides outlines of this work in twelve, carefully-detailed chapters. The report was published by the Sarvodaya Media Unit and is a part of the organization’s endeavor to provide transparency and accountability of its Tsunami recovery work.