sri express

School girls photo: Dr Tilak S Fernando

Last Saturday, this column highlighted how helpless Asirigama villagers in Habarana have been 'Deprived and Discarded'. The news went viral on the Internet to generate overwhelming responses from fellow Sri Lankans and the expatriate community living aboard. The main story revolved on the seven-day-old baby Kavishka Sandaruwan, who was killed by a dog, but the plight of the villagers too seems to have touched many a heart.

All human behaviour is composed of basic emotions, and its range and the nature become universally shared by humanity as a whole. This is what made fellow Sri Lankans, both local and expatriates, to contact the writer, desperately wanting to help, the immediate family as well as the villagers.

Utter shock

When all is said and done, it is mind-boggling that, not a single blind, deaf and uncaring politician was able to respond to such a calamity whereas, caring Sri Lankans from thousands of miles away felt there was a dire need to offer voluntary help during this tear-jerking situation.

On the day, the writer reached the dead baby's parents' shack, it came to light that the biggest hurdle faced in helping anyone was due to the lack of villagers possessing National Identity Cards to open a bank account for donor contributions. This placed the Samurdi official and the bank officers in an awkward position with their hands tied in assisting them. Namalpura villagers do not have permanent jobs, and the lack of water deprived them even from any cultivation, which means that the majority live only on a single meal per day, if they could find resources to fulfill that either. So, this neglected society's primary emotions are experienced through specific sensations, representing directly on the physical environment such as fear, pain, hunger, and their biological functions for mere survival.

The writer wishes to thank all those who contacted him by email, and showing their willingness to help and made specific enquiries as to how they could extend assistance. When bank accounts are opened for Asirigama folk, which is actively perused by the Dambulla TV correspondent, all relevant parties will be notified.

Among those responded to the article was Dr. Quintus de Zylva, all the way from Australia, in order that the AuSLMAT could extend a helping hand once again. The AuSLMAT is an organisation, under the patronage of Dr. Quintus de Zylva, who initially visited Sri Lanka during the tsunami disaster. Ever since a team of doctors from the AuSLMAT has been visiting annually to help Sri Lankans in many forms.

Roshini Pinidiya, the Principal of Hemachandra Maha Vidyalaya Mudugamuwa, Weligama offered the school to AuSLMAT for a free medical clinic at Weligama on Thursday 6 July2017, when the Australian team saw over a hundred patients that afternoon and enjoyed the interaction with students. The team also offered children ice cream after the clinic. AuSLMAT team has been invited by the Principal again to conduct a medical clinic on their next medical mission to Sri Lanka in 2018. The school itself was a donation made by Dr. Dilshani Jayewardene's grandfather. Dr. Dilshani is an endocrinologist in Melbourne and she too assisted the AuSLMAT at the clinic.

Childcare

AuSLMAT has a close association with children in Sri Lanka and assist them in their English and IT studies. Some of the children, who live in Weligama, and never been to a resort, were invited to host them when Nishani celebrated her birthday party at Calamander Unwatuna Beach Resort on 7 July 2017. The AuSLMAT wishes to extend its gratitude to the many donors who have supported this outreach since the tsunami of 2004. To coincide with their 2018 visit, the writer already liaised with Dr. Quintus de Zylva in an attempt to kill two birds with one stone.

Dilshan Kavindu, who is studying at the Mara Angunna Badulla Kanista Vidyalaya, was shown on TV studying with a help of a kerosene lamp while stretching on the floor. The writer contacted Miss.Neetha, the class teacher of Dilshan and found out how this boy, who scored 100 per cent in the Grade V scholarship examination, could not proceed further to maximize his talents, due to destitution. His father, a labourer, had been killed in a road accident, and ever since, the full burden of upbringing the family has fallen on his mother's shoulders.

Rubbing salt to injury, as it were, Dilshan has a brother of 13 years of age, who is paralysed. This very reason kept the mother at home, without any income, her prime duty being having to attend to the paralyzed son. For her salvation fortunately, her mother-in-law has taken over, part of the beleaguered family responsibilities and offered to look after the two kids and housed them in her family house, in order to let the daughter-in-law earn a living. Their clay hut has been devastated due to stormy weather.

Miss. Neetha informed the writer that on the day the mother-in-law is not there anymore to help them, this poverty-stricken family will have to end up on the streets. Dr. Quintus de Silva has communicated through the writer, and has arranged to meet with teacher and the family during their next trip to Sri Lanka in 2018, which the writer has conveyed back to Miss. Neetha accordingly.

In the meanwhile, on the Namalpura scene, there have been assurances to build a house to the deceased baby's family by a philanthropist and volunteers seem to visit the village and begun to distribute dry rations to the villagers.

“Great achievement is usually born of great sacrifice, and is never the result of selfishness” - Napoleon Hill

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