It is with great joy and gratitude that I wish to tell you about the completion of the construction of the Tirappan Maduwa Village, in Northern Sri Lanka. This project included the building of 35 brand new houses, and the renovation of a reservoir for farming, agriculture and electricity.
Incredibly it took only six months to complete all phases of the project, but it required seven trips on my part to Sri Lanka, from Europe or the US, to resolve the numerous issues and urgent matters.
At the end of the 30 year war we took up many complex and diverse projects as part of our effort to rebuild peace in Sri Lanka. Despite all of our experience, however, this was one of the most challenging humanitarian projects we have undertaken thus far.
Nineteen years ago the people of the Tirappan Madua village ran away from their homes under fire from the separatist group known as the Tamil Tigers. The former residents then lived in temporary housing for 19 years, and were incredibly impoverished. When the war finally ended in 2009, these poor families were so excited at the possibility of returning home. Sadly, their homes no longer existed. Their village had been completely destroyed in the war.
The Tirappan Maduwa Village Project was a wonderful collaborative effort, including assistance from the military, engineers, contractors and the government. The Sri Lankan Army volunteered to supervise the project. The government built the roads and put in the electricity. All things considered, it could not have been done without the cooperation of many generous people. Our generous benefactor, Anura Perera, sponsored the entire Tirappan Maduwa Village Project in the name of his daughter, Thanja Perera.
Just following the first anniversary of the war’s end, we celebrated the grand opening of the Tirappan Maduwa Village. It was a joyful event. Many dignitaries, government officials, high ranking Buddhist monks, military commanders and contributors in the building, were present. I was received by the head of the village. To show their gratitude for all our efforts, I was shown the upmost respect and honor as I walked under a ceremonial umbrella on a white carpet sheet.
A few hundred people came out to celebrate with dancing, music and the planting of trees. It was an exciting and beautiful day. More importantly, the humanitarian project was a great success. Everyone was smiling in appreciation of all the efforts that went into the task of rebuilding the village. Within such a short time the lives of 35 families had been transformed, never to be the same again.
It is with deepest gratitude that we thank our village sponsor, Anura Perera and his family, our chief engineer Patmasiri who worked under most challenging conditions, Major Gen. Kamal Gunaratne, Brig. Napagoda and also our driver Sidath, who often worked with me day and night.