Reconstruction of Samaritan Children's Home Construction of Samaritan Vocational Training Centre, and Samaritan Home for the Aged
i. Brief outline of Sri Lanka.
Geography: An island in the Indian Ocean off the southeast tip of India, Sri Lanka is about half the size of Alabama. Most of the land is flat and rolling; mountains in the south-central region rise over 8,000 ft (2,438m).
Area: 25,332 sq mi (65,610 sq km).
Population: (2004est.): 19,905,165
Growth rate: 0.8%, birth rate: 15.9/1000; infant mortality rate 14.8/1000; life expectancy: 72.9; density per sq mi:786
Languages: Sinhala 74% (official and national), Tamil 18% (national), other 8%; English is commonly used in government and is widely spoken.
Ethnicity: Sinhalese 74%, Tamil 18%, Moor 7%, Burgher, Malay, and Vedda 1%.
Religions: Buddhist 70%, Hindu 15%, Christian 8%, Islam 7%.
ii. Brief history of Samaritan Children's Home:
Samaritan Children's Home was founded by Dayalan Sanders in 1994 on a 4-acre property that overlooks the Indian Ocean on one side and the lagoon on the other in a village called Navalady in Sri Lanka's eastern province of Batticaloa. Construction of the Children's Home was the brain child of Dayalan who was touched by the desperate plight of orphans left by Sri Lanka's 20-year civil war. Dayalan returned to Sri Lanka in 1994 to fulfill his life long dream, but remains a US citizen. The orphanage was built with donations from friends and family and the sale of Dayalan's townhouse in Maryland. On the morning of Sunday Dec. 26 2004, the powerful Asian tsunami destroyed the Samaritan Children's Home and all its belongings leaving only the rubble and debris. Miraculously everyone at Samaritan Children's Home was saved.
The kind and generous donations of people in the U.S, and all over the world have given Dayalan, his family, the 28 children in his care and the staff hope and assurance that their home will be rebuilt and re-equipped. The donations have been used to also meet the following immediate needs:
- To lease temporary housing in the town of Batticaloa
- To purchase vehicles for transportation
- Purchase clothing and household items such as beds, cooking utensils, linen, etc.
iii. Pre-tsunami situation:
The civil war between the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and the Government of Sri Lanka has resulted in the death of over 60,000 people. Approximately 800,000 people, one-third of whom are children, have been displaced, sometimes many times. Of the 2.5 million people living in the areas directly affected by conflict, approximately 1 million are children under the age of 18.
The commencement of peace negotiations has given rise to new challenges and opportunities on the humanitarian front. Humanitarian access has increased to all areas in the conflict-affected North and East, except the high security zones.
Over 183,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDP's) have returned to their places of origin and large-scale movements of people are expected throughout 2005. More than 1,000 refugees returned from India and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees predicts that more will return before the end of 2005.
Returning children are especially vulnerable. UNICEF estimates that in the LTTE-controlled areas of the north, one third of school-aged children have dropped out or have never attended school. The IDPs and refugees are moving back to areas that are contaminated with landmines and unexploded ordinance. The physical destruction of these areas means that they are returning to towns and villages that lack basic infrastructure, such as shelter, water and sanitation, education and health facilities.
In terms of health, the North and the East suffer from a shortage of health professionals and medical supplies. Communicable and infectious diseases are expected to increase with the return of the IDPs, as is the risk of HIV/AIDS with the return of refugees from India. Chronic malnutrition among women and children is high in parts of Sri Lanka, but is worse among returning IDPs.
iv. Post-tsunami situation:
According to the international news agency Reuters, 22,493 people were killed and 800,000 affected in Sri Lanka by the tsunami. As bodies are either extricated from debris or washed ashore, the death toll keeps rising rapidly. Also, over a million people (5% of the population) have been rendered homeless.
Statistics for Navalady according to the local Grama Sevaka (the village council):
|Population prior to tsunami:
||683 including 125 children
|Children orphaned by tsunami:
||18 (lost both parents)
|| 93 (children who lost one parent)
It is believed that over 4,000 children have been orphaned in Sri Lanka (full or semi).
v. Samaritan Children's Home's priorities, aims and objectives**:
Samaritan Children's home is scaling up its operations to address the needs of children affected by armed conflict and meet the immediate and long-term needs of children affected by tsunami by building an orphanage that would comfortably shelter and provide care for around 100 children.
Since the government of Sri Lanka has barred residents from returning to and rebuilding within 200 meters of the coast line, Samaritan Children's Home has been looking at various parcels of land in order to acquire and build a brand new facility for the orphans.
Following the Tsunami hundreds of thousands of displaced people have moved inland. This influx inland has caused the land prices to soar by astronomical proportions. One perch* of land which sold in the city for SL Rupees 75,000 prior to the Tsunami is now hard to come by even for Rupees 200,000. At the present moment we are negotiating with land owners for parcels of land that are for sale well out side the city limits but close to schools. Each of these lots is about 5 acres in extent. Once the price has been agreed upon we hope to finalize the transaction hopefully within 2-3 weeks and start the construction work.
* approx. 25 square meters
2) Many of our children will be graduating from High School very soon. A majority of these children would not qualify to enter the university. This is also the case for a lot of the poor children in the village. To respond to this situation, we intend to provide them with the opportunity to learn certain occupational skills of their choice by establishing a "Samaritan Vocational Training Centre” (SVTC). We intend to provide a one year diploma course and a three-year degree course in fields such as carpentry, masonry, refrigeration, electrical wiring, welding, sewing, typing, computer studies, etc.
The civil war has produced not only orphans but also aging parents with no children to look after them. The war has claimed the lives of so many young men and women, and many young people have taken up arms. Many parents who lost their children to this war now spend the evening of their lives in poverty and are hardly able to fend for themselves eking out a miserable existence.
In order to alleviate the suffering and hardship of these aging and destitute persons, and to provide them with a home in a caring family like atmosphere we intend to establish the "Samaritan Home for the Aged.”
**subject to social and political environment
Pastor Dayalan Sanders, Founder/Director of Samaritan Children's Home
Batticaloa, Sri Lanka
March 1, 2005