For twenty years, Sri Lanka has been ravaged by a civil war between the government and the minority Tamil Tigers, who occupied the northeast part of the country. Finally, in May of this year, after months of brutal fighting, the government proclaimed victory and an end to the conflict. The United Nations reported that there were over 250,000 war-displaced people in Sri Lanka: homeless, injured, and traumatized. It was into these remote northern villages of Sri Lanka that His Holiness Cealo, Amica-san, and a small delegation from Japan traveled to provide support and “Direct Action,” Cealo’s compassionate way of empowering people to become self-reliant.
The journey to these forgotten villages over rough terrain took almost 12 hours. Amica-san remarked that the villages “had nothing," and that the goal was to help rebuild the villages so the people could have a normal life again.
In the Trincomalee Seruwawila village area, mosquito nets, cooking oil, spices, water, shovels and hoes were distributed; 200 sets to families and 300 sets to children. Amica-san reported that the immediate challenge was to help the villagers build trust in the future. Although their sense of safety and security had been obliterated by the war, the villagers smiled and said “Thank You” in a big voice, again and again.
The challenge in Andarabedda was lack of water. There had been no rainfall for 6 months. The Cealo group worked with the villagers to discuss methods of making the soil healthier and some alternative crops, such as Neem for their subsistence farming. The village is in dire need of a water well, and with future donations, this will become a reality. Forty families received assistance in this village.
Our activity base, Karuna Global Harmony in Galgamua became the site of agricultural initiatives. Corn seeds from the United States were planted, and a research study using native trees for insect repellent and soil improvement was implemented.
Efforts continued to develop instructors in setting up a sewing center for the production of clothing, providing self-reliance for the people and future economic sustainability for the village. The local NGO Cooperation Organization Sihasara Panasiha Foundation collaborates with all of the Sri Lanka projects.
During their 10 day visit, His Holiness and Amica-san touched the hearts and lives of thousands of people. None of these activities would have been possible without the generosity of the American and Japanese people. Donations to continue the work we wish to do through His Holiness Gayuna Cealo and Amica-san can be made at www.cealo.org.