For thirty long years the Northern Province of Sri Lanka was under siege. The ordinary citizens of the north abandoned their traditional abodes and fled for their lives. After many years of a disturbed existence they are now ready to go back to their villages.
The village we chose to develop, Thiruppam Maduwa, is one such village that has been ravaged by war. It is a village where poor farmers lived earning their meager income from agriculture. Seventeen years ago, the separatist rebel group known as Tamil Tigers attacked the village and ambushed military vehicles. They killed many people in the surrounding villages too. When the villagers escaped and ran for their lives their homes and property were destroyed. Robbed of their own lands and their livelihood they lived in temporary settlements in the safer areas. After 17 years the military has cleared the villagers to return to the village but there are no houses remaining. Also the embankment of the reservoir that provided water to farms is damaged and needs to be repaired and the water wells need to be re-constructed.
We have planned to build 35 homes for 35 families in the first stage of this project. The village will be renamed Triple Gem Village and we hope to finish construction and complete the first stage by the end of December, 2009. We are also planning to renovate the tank embankment so that it can provide water to over one thousand families for farming and agriculture. In the second stage, depending on the financial situation, we will build the rest of the homes.
Three months have passed since the end of the 30 year war in Sri Lanka. We have launched many projects to help those who were affected and became victims of war. To re-establish peace and promote social harmony among all Sri Lankans we need to continue our efforts. So we thought of building permanent homes for those who became homeless because of war. I visited many villages that are completely devastated by the war in northern Sri Lanka and chose the Thirappam Maduwa village of 65 families for re-construction. We are planning to rebuild the village and build permanent homes so that the families can return to their village. I know?. it is a big project but I am confident that we can do this.
Many villages in the northern regions where the war was fought have been completely destroyed. Rebuilding a village requires the co-operation of all government agencies, the police and the military since the area is under military control. During my short visits to Sri Lanka in July I met with numerous officials, military and police officers. I am glad to let you know that everybody has offered their full support and co-operation for our project. All the permits and contracts have been signed and I am happy to let you know that when I visited Sri Lanka in August 2009 I was able to do the ground breaking and blessing ceremony in order to start the construction work.