Two years after the Tsunami, tales of goodwill and generosity have given way to headlines about alleged mismanagement and malfeasance. Despite the challenges that remain, however, communities all over Sri Lanka have overcome odds stacked against them and set examples for reconstruction that can be replicated and should not pass unnoticed.
With support from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Young Asia Television (YATV) has assembled district-based teams of journalists and civil society activists in the East and South to highlight Tsunami recovery from the community perspective, drawing attention to how citizens, local government, relief agencies and the donor community have risen to the challenge of rebuilding livelihoods and infrastructure along the devastated coast.
U.S. Ambassador Robert O’ Blake at a launch ceremony for the series today said that USAID is proud to support YATV in showing the " ‘other side’ of the story – stories of hope, courage, and success."
Through weekly TV and radio broadcasts as well as print media coverage, YATV will present a 13-part series focusing on instances where communities have successfully rebuilt their ways of life or are in the process of doing so, identifying best practices of democracy and good governance and highlighting the positive contributions of donor- and government-funded Tsunami rehabilitation projects.
Titled "Coastal Rising," the series gives voice to district-based institutions and civil society clusters to share their stories with a national audience. Reportage emphasizes "people’s voices" to illustrate how the relationships have been built across socio-political borders and demonstrate how people can work together in rebuilding the communities in which they live.
"In the end, survivors of the Tsunami can be either victims or agents of change," said USAID Mission Director Rebecca Cohn. "The "can do" spirit of the stories in "Coastal Rising" promises to inspire people to uplift their lives and their communities."
The series began on March 25, the half-hour broadcasts in Sinhalese, Tamil, and English can be seen on four television networks in the evenings, and in Sinhalese and Tamil on SLBC radio Monday mornings and Tuesday and Wednesday evenings.