Community Centre For Healing

We are making an appeal to support the building of a community centre for healing in a very desperate place in the north east of Sri Lanka.  The building is to be multifunctional to serve the whole community.

The War was Won but the Peace is Lost

Seven years ago, April 2009, the 30 year civil war in Sri Lanka came to a brutal halt with the loss of over 40,000 lives.  Civilians and combatants lost their lives.  The visible scars of the war are not evident to the tourist though the emotional scars live deep in the hearts of the survivors.

In early April, we were privileged to visit these people who were so severely affected in the closing stages of the war in Tharmapuram in the northern district of Sri Lanka. 

Amongst a small collection of 15 people we counted over 40 close family members who were killed in the war, mainly women and children.  These were perhaps the lucky ones who survived the tsunami (2004) and the final stages of land and aerial shelling of the war (2009).  The human tragedy has been colossal.  Each had a painful story to recall.  

Human Tragedy 

Mr Siva a farmer explained how his family, whilst under aerial attack and being moved from place to place, took shelter in a trench and the adjoining trench took a direct hit.  He described how he dug out the dead bodies of two of his grandchildren, daughter and son in law with his bare hands.  He laid them in a row and could not bury them, but had to leave them there in the open air and run for shelter himself as the bombing became severe.  Seven years on he recalls the gruesome sight and the event in detail as if it had happened just a few days ago, yet without any visible emotions.

Miss Rita, a 14 year old teenager, sang for us a very moving song.  She lost all the members of her family, parents, two sisters and her brother in the closing stages of the war.  The song was a tribute to her mother who gave her life and she asks the question “My mother why have you deserted me?” and “What have I done to have survived alone?”   

The Unseen Scars of War

The emotional pain and memories of the loss of loved ones runs deep in the psyche of the war survivors.  A huge amount of unexpressed grief amongst the innocent people does still exist, that is seeking to find expression and solace.   

The Need of the People - Creating a Community Centre of Healing 

Each person has volunteered to give practical help towards the construction of the Centre, bringing their various skills and talents.  The building is to be used for the community as a centre for healing in practical ways through counselling, life skills training, pre-school classes, after school activities, mums and tots groups, health care clinics, a reading club for elders to mention but a few.

They are seeking to build a place for people to find spiritual solace that will be multi-functional to be operational seven days of the week, responding to the specific emotional and practical needs of the community.  These are resourceful hard working people who have experienced several disasters, yet committed now to restore themselves and their community.   

Our Pledge

As a charity we have pledged to raise the sum of £90,000 towards the building of this community centre of healing which will be part of the Church of Ceylon of the Anglican tradition but open for use by persons of all faiths and none, meeting the changing needs of the community.

The charity has been involved with humanitarian relief in the area from early 2000 through free Hope Medical and Vision Clinics and responded to the catastrophic tsunami by building 900 temporary shelters, over 100 permanent houses, a medical centre and three orphanages. Hope Outreach continues to support these children and the running of pre-school feeding programmes and after school clubs.

The Government has made good effort to restore transport, communication and electricity in the affected areas though unemployment remains significantly high despite an able and educated work force. 

We need your support today

Help us to rebuild a broken community with your donation today.

 

You can also read our appeal in the Milton Keynes Citizen.