Dear Friends and Students,
I am here in Sri Lanka helping the IDPs (Internally Displaced Persons) of war. As some of you might have heard, the 30-year war between the Sri Lankan government and the Tamel Tigers has officially ended. During this time over one hundred thousand people have died and hundreds of thousands have been injured and displaced. As the guns have become silent, the victims of war continue to suffer.
There are more than three hundred thousand IDPs in camps in northern Sri Lanka. The government is trying its best to take care of them. I have spent a few days in the IDP camps that are in a restricted area in northern Sri Lanka, and already I am involved in some projects to help them. For example today we distributed thousand liter plastic water tanks. We have also provided school supplies for 2000 students of 8th, 9th and 10th grades, so they can have some normal activities. Whatever the most urgent needs are I am trying to attend them. I have met relevant military and government officials and will continue to meet more of them over the next few days. Although there are some imperfections, the food distribution system seems to be working well. The major concerns currently seem to be water and shelter.
There are many other problems that naturally arise as a result of the sudden influx of a few hundred thousand families who have become homeless. I am happy to be here to contribute what I can to make their life easier and alleviate some of their suffering.
The government and all Sri Lankans have enormous challenges ahead to heal the wounds of war and live in peace. In spite of personal challenges, I am happy to be here and hope that my presence will make a small difference. We have already made arrangements to build 250 temporary or semi-permanent homes within a month. Starting tomorrow, we will be making improvements in a temporary Hindu temple in the camps, knowing prayer and meeting in community will be a source of strength and hope for all.
If any of you can be part of this healing and peace building process, please send donations to:
Triple Gem Society
P.O. Box 713
Princeton, NJ 08542
Or you can make donations here. You can expect a report of our projects very soon.
May you be well and happy. May you, and all beings, be at peace.