Von einem Moment zum anderen war nichts mehr wie vorher

Im Dezember 2004 wurden in Südostasien 230.000 Todesopfer durch einen verheerenden Tsunami beklagt. Allein auf Sri Lanka kamen ca. 40.000 Menschen ums Leben. Über 70.000 Häuser wurden von den Wassermassen völlig weggeschwemmt, weitere 35.000 schwer beschädigt. Sri Lanka war somit das am zweitstärksten betroffene Land der Tsunami-Katastrophe.

Wir, Malkanthi und Rajah Wirasekara, mussten durch die Medien erfahren, wie es um unsere alte Heimat stand. Telefonleitungen waren tot, wir konnten nur erahnen, wie es unseren dort lebenden Angehörigen ging. Das Leid berührte nicht nur uns. Zusammen mit deutschen Freunden gründeten wir im Januar 2005 den Förderverein Sahana (singhalesisch für Unterstützung, Fürsorge) mit dem Ziel betroffenen Menschen mit einer Flutopfer- und Wiederaufbauhilfe für Sri Lanka beizustehen.

Die Hilfsmaßnahmen umfassen bis heute ideelle und finanzielle Unterstützung von Opfern der Naturkatastrophe beispielsweise beim erforderlichen Wiederaufbau. Besonders am Anfang ging es um das reine Dach über dem Kopf. Inzwischen fördern wir ebenfalls Bildung, Erziehung und Handwerk.

- Rajah Wirasekara, Vorstandsvorsitzender

DeutschFrom one moment to the other, nothing was the way it used to be

In December 2004 when South East Asia was devastated by the Tsunami, it was clear how quickly things that you took for granted may belong to the past. The total death toll was reported to have risen to 230,000 victims. Sri Lanka alone counted at least 40,000. More than 70,000 houses were demolished and completely washed away by the floods, another 35,000 badly damaged making it the second worst affected country in Asia.   

We, Malkanthi und Rajah Wirasekara, came to know through the media what had happened  in our first homeland. Telephone connections were dead, we could only guess what our family and relatives living over there, were going through. Live media coverage illustrated how fellow-countrymen were suffering.  It was not only we, who were concerned. Together with German friends we founded SAHANA (the Sinhala word for "compassionate help") in January 2005 with the objective of giving targeted help to rehabilitate the displaced victims and to support the process of reconstruction in Sri Lanka.

Our relief efforts encompass non-profitable and charitable objectives ranging from helping the victims of the natural catastrophe as well as supporting the process of reconstruction. In the beginning the priority was housing the victims. In the meantime we are also focusing on other areas of community development such as promoting medical care, education, vocational training and also providing a spiritual haven (Link zum Tempelbau).

- Rajah Wirasekara, Chairman

We have been experiencing several difficulties that we have had to deal with, in connection with our charity work in S.L., during the last couple of years; in fact we still are experiencing them. These were discussed at the last AGM held in 2017. It is beyond the means of the Sahana Committee to overcome these shortcomings. It was therefore emphasized that careful consideration be given, as to how Sahana should best ensure the continuation of its charity work. The shortcomings include:

  1. The CfBA, our Sri Lanka Coordinators are finding it difficult to find replacements and staff willing to take over duties. The current office bearers have aged and some have had to enter into Care Homes. Junior members of the CfBA happen to be preoccupied with their professional duties and their personal and family matters. They don’t seem to have time to spare for charity work.
  1. b)The Local Coordinator of our project village, Ven. Maithri (the first Sri Lankan to donate a kidney) has been ill on and off and during the last several months. He has also been in hospital for some time. We don’t have a replacement for him too. A young lady teacher of the Dhamma School, that we reconstructed, was trained to assist Ven. Maithri. After her marriage a few years ago, she moved out of the village to another district to live with her husband.    
  1. It is getting increasingly difficult to hire skilled and unskilled workmen from the locality. Workers from other areas do not wish to work in a secluded settlement like Miyagala with only basic infrastructure. The remoteness of our project village restricts travelling and the free movement of goods and services. As such, some of the work that we had already started could not be finished in 2017, some others that we had planned to embark on, haven’t still been started (lack of progress).      
  1. My physical strength too is gradually weakening as I am now over 75 years old. Due to various reasons, I wasn’t able to make the project trip to S.L. last year. Therefore, I don’t have any letters to send you from the children, whom you are so kindly sponsoring. Please bear with me for that.

Based on the above mentioned background, we strongly feel that action should be initiated and followed up. At the last committee meeting held in Nov. 2017, we therefore decided on the following:

  • All donors/sponsors will be informed via newsletter not to transfer anymore donations to the Sahana bank account or to me directly as some of you have been doing.

  • With immediate effect, we shall cease withdrawing the annual scholarship fees from sponsors of children who have issued us direct debit authorization.

  • However, ongoing project work as well as the schooling project expenses will be financed through our bank balance, in compliance with our statutes. We shall not be stopping our charity work abruptly.

You have placed your trust in us ever since Sahana was founded in 2005, you have helped us morally and financially and some of you have even accompanied us at work in our project villages for which I thank you ever so much. We shall continue to keep you informed from time to time and as necessary.

With all good wishes also on behalf of the communities of Kosgoda and Miyagala.

Rajah Wirasekara

Sahana Relief Fund (www.sahana-germany.org)

Tsunami Relief Fund/Sri Lanka

Brunnenweg 1, D-27283 Verden, Germany

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