The rebuilding of Periyakulam village is already underway. The foundations of all 50 new houses have been completed. At the moment workers are building the walls. There are 9 teams involved with the construction project.
Just recently, we joyfully celebrated the successful reconstruction of two entire villages previously destroyed by war. Even though there is obviously much more work to be done to assist the people affected by the long war, it was my intention to wrap-up this aspect of our humanitarian projects after the opening celebrations.
A few weeks later in a meeting with my sponsor Mr. Perera, we reminisced about the wonderful experiences we shared over the past year as we put our energy, efforts and resources toward helping the people affected by the war. At the end of our conversation, Mr. Perrera told me, “Although you have already decided to end the work for the victims of war, I am interested in sponsoring the reconstruction of another village for the Tamil people.” Even though I had already made up my mind not to get involved with any more of these challenging humanitarian projects, I could not refuse his generous proposal to help more people.
Well? it was time to head back to Sri Lanka and put things together. Once again I made the familiar trip, set the process in motion. Over the course of two days, I met with the army commanders in the area and traveled through many villages that were devastated by war. After visiting and meeting with the village leaders, the military leaders and some government officers, I chose a Tamil village named Periyakulam.
This village is located in an area where many years of heavy fighting took place. All the houses were completely destroyed. In Periyakulam, about half the families are single women with children, whose husbands have either died in the war, or who are currently in prison. Seeing so many of these widowed and single women compelled me to help this particular village. Currently there are no homes, only temporary shelters that were setup after the war. All the people are very poor and mostly farmers. Upon assessing the situation, we decided to build low cost homes for 50 families.
During my second visit to the village, after meeting the 50 families who will be receiving the homes and hearing their needs, we also decided to sponsor two agricultural wells. We will dig approximately 30 feet down and 25 feet in diameter. The plans are already underway for construction. Since the majority of the people in the village are Hindu, we are also constructing a new Hindu temple. We are in close communication with the government authorities to improve the roads and get an electrical connection to the village. By opening day we will make sure that the roads and electricity are ready.
We are expecting to complete the entire village project, with 50 brand new homes, two agricultural wells, and a new Hindu temple, by the end of December 2010.Our hope is that these people will be able to celebrate the New Year in their new village. The total cost of the homes will be sponsored by our generous philanthropist, Mr. Perrera, to whom as always, I give my heartfelt gratitude.