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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. 

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Solar power brings light to the lives of tsunami survivors

Reuters: 13/02/2007" Source: World Vision International By Kristy Allen-Shirley and Marianne Albina

Thousands of families have benefited from the installation 1,234 solar light systems across Sri Lanka.

The project is a joint effort between World Vision and Light Up The World Foundation (LUTW). Families living in remote areas, fishermen, and people displaced by the tsunami and civil war have all benefited.

"The LUTW and World Vision partnership is one of our most innovative responses to the tsunami. Working with LUTW, we have been able to provide a clear, friendly light source, as well as creating a safer environment for women and children," said Perry Mansfield, World Vision Lanka Tsunami Response Programme Director.

Project beneficiary Sarammashe, who currently lives in transitional housing in Thampaddai village, said, "Ever since the tsunami we had no electricity and we had to struggle to find money to buy kerosene oil, which is very expensive. But now we have this new light. It is free of charge and does not give out heat."

Nirmaladevi, a mother of three children, said, "My children are now able to study at night. I feel much safer that we no longer use the kerosene oil and that we have this light that can warn us if there are snakes at night."

In Jaffna's east, a 30-40 kilometre long strip of land running between a lagoon and the ocean was hit hard by the tsunami. The community, mostly fishermen, are not allowed to rebuild their homes and had to relocate farther from the ocean, affecting the distance they travel to work and storage of fishing equipment. In response, World Vision designed Fishermen Rest-rooms, a practical building for the fisherman to store their gear and rest between fishing trips. Solar lights have been installed to ensure the rest-rooms can be used safely during working hours. In this same stretch of land, World Vision installed lights in newly built permanent homes.

In Palavi, in the northwest corner of Kilinochchi, families live in relative isolation and had not been able to access electricity. Through this project, solar light has been installed, benefiting key community structures such as the Catholic Church and a schoolhouse.

On the north-east coast of Kilinochchi in Kallaru, 130 shelters which World Vision assumed responsibility for are to be completed and handed over to war displaced families from Jaffna. Solar lights funded by the programme will feature in these homes.

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