Sri Lanka

All 26 families have by now received and moved into their new homes

January 26, 2006

Elaine Fortin

These photos were taken during Dr. Fuch's visit on June 16th, 2005, to the Powerloom Factory IDP Camp in Tangalle, on the south coast.

Martina is greeted by my smiling friends!

This camp has not been fortunate to be taken under the care of any large NGO. It is one of the 'missed' camps. Each of the 29 families here receives only 375 rupees a week from the Sri Lankan government, roughly $3.50 US and is at the mercy of passersby for all other donations.

This is the camp I worked at during my month in Sri Lanka, one month after the tsunami. During that time, I helped raise $2000 US from friends in the USA and Canada, which paid for 500 pairs of eyeglasses for tsunami victims in the Tangalle area, on the south coast.

Another do-gooder who, like me, was sent to this camp, Mervyn Church of Bristol, UK, has been a major benefactor to these people. He personally and with the help of friends and family, has paid for and implemented major improvements in the basic infrastructure of the camp, the food supply, education, health and housing. On his second trip to the camp, in June, he posted the following notice for other visitors who happen to wander into the camp:

Martina delivered a letter I wrote to these lovely people, which was translated for me into Sinhala by a student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dilan Jayawardane. Here we see it being read:

During her visit on June 16th, Martina brought donations of toys and clothing.

Clothes were also fun to receive!

The photo below is inside the factory, the temporary shelter which provides each family with four plywood walls, about 10 ft. by 20 ft.

It's been seven months since these people began living in this camp. They slept on grass mats until a good Dutch fellow dropped by the camp one day and bought mattresses. No beds. Monsoons were inevitably going to arrive, and other individuals donated money to let the residents build bed frames.

The family living in the unit in the next photo is lucky to have a shelf, a fan, and a curtain donated by other visitors. All other belongings must remain piled on the floor, hoping for another lucky day when someone can provide them with a cupboard. The wait for permanent housing goes on. It is not known when homes will be built and ready.

J.P. Malani, below, and her husband, own land which is a rice patty, not suitable for a home. She needs help raising $3500 US to buy a piece of land for a house. The German relief agency, GTZ, will provide a house, but her family has to procure the land first. Her husband, a fisherman, is fishing again, but his meager income will not afford a land purchase for many, many years. She is seeking financial help. The van was rented to transport Dr. Fuchs on this visit. No one in the camp has motored transport of any kind. Most don't even have shoes.

There are many other good, hard-working families like Malani's in this camp and many others in Sri Lanka. I have taken on a personal project to raise money for the families in this camp to buy land and therefore qualify for that requirement to get a house. At present, I am investigating the prospects of each family, and will post the total monetary goal as soon as that is known. Absolutely 100% of all funds raised for anything that Real Medicine undertakes, goes to the actual cost of the project, and is managed and monitored at the end location by our members in Sri Lanka, Anu Perera and Sylvia Hoebig. Your donations are all tax deductible. Can YOU Help?

You can help by donating here, and specifying 'Powerloom Factory Camp' in the Note to Real Medicine.

This photo was taken when I worked at the Powerloom Camp, in February 2005.

Country Page: Sri Lanka Initiative Page: Powerloom Factory Camp