[Sri Lanka] A third round of support for more deprived neighbors in Sri Lanka amidst the economic crisis
Currently, Sri Lanka is under a severe economic crisis due to last year’s national bankruptcy. The exchange rate has soared by almost 80%, and a shortage of jobs has caused a challenging job market. To make matters worse, the drought has added strain to everyone. Numerous people are starving, and, in the countryside, many soothe their hunger by foraging for wild food. Following the first and second rounds of emergency food support to 2,350 households, JTS provided 20kg of rice per household to 2,050 households through the third round of support in mid-September. We are now bringing you vivid details of the third round of support activities.
Sri Lankan local volunteers joined again as active members in this third round of support. Thanks to the village foremen who surveyed vulnerable households, we could select beneficiaries with ease. In addition, they inspected, in advance, the situation of the region where we would provide food support while they conducted market research and coupon distribution. Through cooperation with local volunteers, JTS efficiently prepared the third support activity.
This is the first day of the third round of support. Following the second round of support, JTS distributed 20kg of rice, which included 10kg of white rice and 10kg of brown rice, to 1,140 extremely poor households in the Passara area. Even while waiting in long lines, the faces of the village residents were filled with smiles. It was a precious moment when both the giver and the receiver felt happy.
Next, we continued our relief effort by handing out 20 kg of rice per household to 360 households in the Tholabowatta area and 500 households in the Meedumpitiya area. Additional support was given to 50 extremely poor households under distressing conditions in the Poland region.
These are the thoughts of activists and local volunteers.
- Although it is physically taxing, being able to provide rice to 2,050 households gives me joy.
- I felt very happy to be able to help by distributing coupons in advance.
- When we felt a little uncomfortable and discouraged, we strengthened our teamwork by putting everything out there during meetings and working through it together.
- I think our good teamwork has brought about the successful completion of more than 15 projects so far. Working with these team members was great.
- I am grateful to Venerable Pomnyun Sunim and JTS.
After completing the third round of support, JTS activists moved to Matatra. Our first stop was Matatra’s Kamburupitiya district office to check the current status of beneficiaries for the next round of support. Then, we proceeded to Colombo to provide bags and school supplies to 500 students in need who are attending schools in slum areas of Colombo. We learned that the intensifying economic crisis has caused an increasing number of dropouts among students. The sight of children smiling brightly and happily, carrying their new bags, left a lasting impression on us. Furthermore, rice and nutritious food were given to 55 undernourished pregnant women. Malnutrition often causes these pregnant women to collapse, and newborns don’t begin to walk for a long time because of delayed development. Additionally, we checked out the ceiling fans that we had installed in two schools located in slum areas of Colombo during the second round of support. The children who were studying in a crowded classroom in the stifling heat smiled mischievously and said ‘Thank you!’
Moreover, we inspected the current status of water tank projects in slums located in the mountainous region of Pogahalanda and planned the next relief activities. We hope that JTS’s wish to feed hungry people with warm food and help children attend school is felt by the Sri Lankans living in economic hardship. JTS will continue to be with them for a bright future in Sri Lanka.