ACTED Sri Lanka recently hosted a visit from a representative of the Inter Department Group on Post Tsunami Relief, and the French Ambassador to Sri Lanka. They came to view notably ACTED's tsunami relief and reconstruction program supported by the Fondation de France, the Agence de l'Eau Adour Garonne and the French Embassy. This is providing transitional shelter, water and sanitation services, hygiene promotion, psychosocial and livelihood support to communities affected by the December 26th tsunami. Transitional shelters are providing secure accommodation to displaced families until permanent shelter solutions can be found. Well cleaning and latrine construction are providing drinking water and sanitation services to displaced families. ACTED involves the communities through providing boats, nets and fish processing equipment to communities as well as providing access to a cash income through cash for work programmes. In addition, psychosocial activities, carried out through women's groups, are providing child centred spaces and access to play to children shocked by the tsunami.
Batticaloa Children's Festival
As a result of the tsunami thousands of children are still living in IDP camps, either in tents, emergency and transitional shelters in Batticaloa, Eastern Sri Lanka. Although beginning to return to school, children lack safe places to play and have limited access to stimulating activities. To address this inactivity and the negative effects it has on children and their families, a group of NGOs, including ACTED, decided to organise a festival for children currently living in IDP camps.
The festival, a joint initiative between INGOs, community groups and the children themselves was planned over 3 months. Children prepared music, dance and drama performances, while the NGO community prepared themed activities. The festival was held over three days from May 6th - 8th. The first two days were spent in the camps with children taking part in craft and play activities. On the third day children from all the camps in the district took part in a colourful parade through Batticaloa Town.
ACTED was involved in preparing activities on hygiene promotion, with an entertaining puppet show emphasising the importance of hygiene practices to 3,000 children as well as providing water flasks for every child. It is planned to make the festival an annual event, which ACTED Sri Lanka will continue to support.