In August 2009, The Prem Rawat Foundation responded to the plight of the growing number of people in Sri Lanka displaced by the civil war in the Northern Province, Bavuniya District. A gift of US$20,000 to the Jeeva Shakthi Society provided food aid to hundreds of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) living in hastily formed camps.
The upheaval is the result of the decades-long Sri Lanka Civil War between the government forces and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), commonly known as the Tamil Tigers, who have fought for an independent homeland for the country's ethnic Tamil minority since 1983.
“Our hearts go out to all the people in Sri Lanka who have been affected by the war,” said Linda Pascotto, President of The Prem Rawat Foundation. “We are especially concerned for those who have been displaced and have been living in camps and settlements, sometimes facing severe food shortages and often not getting the nutrition they need. It must be so debilitating to fight the ravages of war and in a weakened state.”
The grant from TPRF provided healthy meals of vegetables, eggs and lentils for over 500 people whose foremost wish is to be able to return to their homes. Many of the people receiving the aid were so appreciative that they wanted to express their thanks.
C.A. Rajendrakumar, in the Vavuniya Welfare Camp, wrote, “Through your organization you have been providing help with essential supplies of vegetables, protein, and ingredients to make tea, among others. We accept your help with great joy in spite of our many difficulties and want to express our thanks to you.”
The assistant treasurer of the Tamil Junior College army camp wrote, “We wish to inform you that the nutritious food items supplied by your organization for the youth undergoing rehabilitation in this camp are received by them with joy and gratitude. We hope your organization will flourish for a long time.”
Shamila Malawaraarachchi, Treasurer of Jeeva Shakthi Society, also expressed appreciation. “There are hundreds of thousands of IDPs in Vavuniya camps. It was a very difficult problem to provide nutritious food, and they are in dire need. Thanks to the grant by The Prem Rawat Foundation (TPRF), it has enabled a large number of IDPs who are really in need of nutritious food to get it.”
Photos courtesy of the Jeeva Shakthi Society.