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Serving Sri Lanka

This web log is a news and views blog. The primary aim is to provide an avenue for the expression and collection of ideas on sustainable, fair, and just, grassroot level development. Some of the topics that the blog will specifically address are: poverty reduction, rural development, educational issues, social empowerment, post-Tsunami relief and reconstruction, livelihood development, environmental conservation and bio-diversity. 

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Sri Lanka government to buy back excess boats

Colombo Page: 7/7/2006" Some of the boats are not suitable for sea fishing due to poor quality of them.

July 07, Colombo: Sri Lanka government is planning to buy back the surplus boats which have been distributed among the fisher folks after the tsunami disaster. Ministry of Fisheries is now collecting information on these excess boats.

There are many fibre glass day boats which are not used and lying idle in beaches. These boats are not in use because of the lack of skilled fishermen to work in them, due to operational losses caused by the government's restrictions such as high security zones and due to the lack of fishing gear. In some cases the boats have been received by non fishermen who do not have the fishing skills.

Many non governmental organizations also have distributed boats and some of them are not suitable for sea fishing due to the poor quality of them.

About 5000 fishermen lost their lives and tens of thousands of fisher families were made homeless due to the tsunami on 26th December 2004. According to government estimates, 54% of the country’s fishing fleet was totally destroyed by the tsunami.

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“Viyaparika Diriya” in tsunami hit areas

Daily Mirror: 08/07/2006" Handloom manufacturers take initial steps to link the East to the South

The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, together with the District Chambers of Commerce is facilitating a UNDP assisted market-linkage project “Viyaparika Diriya” in Tsunami affected areas in a bid to expand market access of Tsunami-affected entrepreneurs beyond their regions.

As part of this sustainable recovery project, handloom manufactures from Ampara will meet with businessmen from the South, from the 16th to the 20th of July, 2006, with a view to forming profitable market linkages.

Accordingly Micro entrepreneurs attached to Maruthamunai Development Company (Peoples) Ltd and Zam-Zam Cooperative Society Ampara will meet entrepreneurs in Kalutara, Matara, Matara and Hambantota districts.

The project methodology relies on a well-researched platform. Medium, small and micro enterprises (MSMEs) including Tsunami-affected entrepreneurs have found it difficult to expand their markets beyond their regions. Further there are no formal or informal modes to promote regional market links. Thus, all District Project Officers (DPO’s) will screen the regional situation and identify the needs of thrust industries in their areas. Thereafter information will be shared with the UNDP project staff and other district project officers through the CCC as market offers. The receiving project officers will then identify suitable buyers for the offer in their areas. The next step will be for the manufacturers to visit potential buyers and during the visit the project officers at both ends will assist to arrange one to one meetings.

During the visits, the manufacturers will get the opportunity to exhibit their products to potential buyers. Prior to the visit they will provide a price list and the product specifications to the DPO are thus enabling them to promote viable market linkages. Throughout the process, the project officers in the district chambers together with the UNDP field officers will play the role of facilitation and coordination. The entrepreneurs at both ends will be responsible for the entire business transaction.

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Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Red-tape worse than tsunami for victims

SAMN: 03/07/2006"

Even after a lapse of sixteen months, red-tape, political favoritism and bureaucratic bungling has led to several of the tsunami victims still being left homeless in Galle. Life however goes on for them although they are slowly losing hope in ever getting their livelihoods back, some even wishing that their lives were taken away by the tsunami, rather than waking up to another day of uncertainty.

“People who have not even been affected by the waves have received permanent housing while we are still stuck here suffering,” said N.K. Shyamali from a shelter near the Dodanduwa Bridge in Galle.

Eight families live in these transit homes in Galle who say it was given to them by the JVP. Most of these families, including about twenty children, were involved in the fishing industry before the tsunami.

“Now we live with what we can earn on a day to day basis,” Shyamali said, adding that when the government distributed houses it did not go to the people who really needed them. “At first, when we were subjected to a 100 metre restriction, there were so many people ready to build us houses. But after they restricted it to 35 metres there is hardly anyone to help us,” she explained. “There are 400 houses still to be given out in the Monroviyawatta and nothing has been done yet.”

Still fearing to venture out to sea, they say that their children suffer with the images of the tsunami. “They wake up at night screaming sometimes,” Shyamali remarked.

G.H. Banduseeli who is trying her best to make ends meet remains a sustainable force in the Koggala Transit Camp, close to the Singhadeevara village. Her father had died long before the tsunami and Banduseeli, who owned a small dressmaking shop, also lost her mother to the tsunami.

“They didn’t recognize me for compensation because I wasn’t in the householders’ list,” she said adding that she received a sewing machine from an NGO and was managing to make ends meet with her little shop. “We do not even have proper drinking water. So I pay for a bowser to come and fill a tank near my house,” she said, adding that people in the area pay her for the water, helping her to cover the cost.

The Habaraduwa Transit Camp is situated in the former G.V.S. De Silva Primary School which has been moved to another part of the town now. Again subjected to the 100 metre restriction, the families here could not reconstruct their homes and hardly received any compensation from the government.

Most of them have had small businesses before the tsunami. “The shelter we live in now was made by the Dutch Church in Galle,” said one of the residents adding that they had to use a common kitchen to cook their meals.“We have repeatedly gone to the relevant authorities, written to the President and to Ministers, but we are still where we were two years ago,” she went on echoing the sentiments of the others whose only wish is to be able to survive.

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National Symposium on career guidance, counselling first ever

Daily Mirror: 04/07/2006"

The first ever National Symposium on Career Guidance and Counselling was held on Sunday by the International Scholar Educational Services (Pvt) Ltd (ISES).

In view of the lack of proper career guidance facilities in Sri Lanka, ISES has been involved in this endeavour through their programme “Helping Sri Lankans to be International Scholars”, the institute’s Chairman / CEO said.

“We have been very fortunate to get the blessings and support of Ministry of Education, Universities Grants Commission (UGC) and the Post Graduate Institute of Management (PIM) in organizing this event. With the support of these institutions, we were able to put together an eminent panel of resource personnel to do presentations in their respective professional areas,” he said.

ISES provides a unique service, which is rendered free of charge in offering the best study options to suit one’s financial status and in the country of one’s choice as well.

According to the institute many prestigious institutions have approached them to be their representative in Sri Lanka

The very high level of professionalism displayed and the ethical manner adhered to in the deliverance of service is recognized and appreciated by principals, parents and students alike.

It has been noted that ISES provides for representation of universities in Australia, the UK, the USA, Malaysia, India, Russia, the Netherlands and New Zealand.

ISES caters to the requirements of a wide cross-section of students as they represent more than 45 institutions in 11 countries and have established an offshore campus in Sri Lanka to conduct courses of international recognition.

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