Sri Lanka

Tsunami relief effort for Sri Lanka - Jun 2005

Source
Posted
Originally published
Innovation applied to inform communities about how they are making a difference in Sri Lanka

Srilankadirect.org have just completed their fifth humanitarian aid mission to Sri Lanka.

Whilst the provision of aid solutions is their most important priority, srilankadirect.org place a huge amount of emphasis on keeping communities informed about the situation in Sri Lanka and how their aid solutions are making a difference to the people of Sri Lanka.

Srilankadirect use a number of innovative ways to provide feedback on their successes and increase understanding of the aftermath of the tsunami against the background that the media has adopted the habit in recent weeks of headlining news about aid delays, etc which tend to give the public a negative impression and fails to emphasis the fantastic things already achieved.

Exhibition, video and talks

Displays of their aid work are provided at community locations such as leisure centres, schools, public libraries, and clubs in the UK, where they also provide roadshow talks and show video they recorded in Sri Lanka of the carnage and their humanitarian projects.

A key feature at their events is that they hand out free gifts to children who come along such as lollipops and aid stickers with their logo. They also donate items from Sri Lanka to local schools.

As early as the 10th of February, srilankadirect.org were at a large leisure centre in Romsey, Hampshire showing children and parents video footage of their aid being handed over to schoolchildren in Ampara. It is estimated that over 1500 children who visited the centre were able to see for themselves how grateful the Sri Lankan communities were for this support.

And, on the 24th of May, about 400 boys plus teachers from Bellemoore School in Southampton were fascinated by a talk and video of the aid achievements. Graham Kettles, founder of srilankadirect.org handed to the school two giant posters of Sri Lankan cultural sights to brighten up their classrooms and donated the Official Cricket Aid T Shirt to the school .

Customers of the British Legion Club received a talk about conditions in Sri Lanka on the 12th of May and were able to see and purchase some splendid throwovers imported from Sri Lanka.

Srilankadirect.org have a large exhibition at Winchester library for the next couple of weeks aimed at informing children and parents about how their aid has helped refugees and school children. As part of this feedback event the award winning childrens author Geraldine McCaughrean visited the library and gave a talk to children from local schools and read from her books.

Visitor Hosting and advice in Sri Lanka

And their communication does not stop at roadshows and exhibitions. Graham Kettles, their founder, has been appointed the Tsunami expert for gapyear.com, advising youngsters who are considering volunteering to help in Sri Lanka. Graham receives requests for advice from as far away as Canada

And they are also hosting visitors to Sri Lanka to get a real life experience of a humanitarian aid mission. Nicki and Jonathon from England have just returned from Sri Lanka where arrangements were made for them to join the latest srilankadirect.org humanitarian mission!

Nicki and Jonathon traveled to Matara on the 19th of May where Nicki was given the unique opportunity to personally hand out 100 school uniforms, schoolbags, shoes and socks to children of Kaburupitiya Maha Vidyalaya School. This is what Nicki said about the experience:

"Inthikhab and Wazeer (our aid partners in Sri Lanka) are truly lovely genuine people who I am humbled to meet, thank you for introducing me to them. They welcomed us so warmly, like old friends, and organised the handing out of aid with such efficiency, we were truly overwhelmed with the work they are doing. You should see the lovely bags, shoes and material you have donated - it would make you cry so see those little faces. I had the privilege of handing over some aid on your behalf, it gave me such pleasure. Keep up your excellent work Graham, you have found a real life father christmas in Basil - a most wonderful man."

Internet, web pages and e-bay

Their web pages at www.srilankadirect.org are constantly updated with news about their aid missions, but also include details about their communication events, roadshows, donators and hosting of visitors to Sri Lanka. For the technologically "signed up" community, one method they use to attract people to their site is through sales on e-bay. Since February, srilankadirect.org have had at least twenty items constantly on sale at e-bay UK and e-bay Australia. Links are provided to and from the www.srilankadirect.org and the e-bay selling pages. As a result, many e-bay "shoppers" have become aware of their achievements and many e-mails saying "well done, keep up the good work" have been received from around the world.