Category Archives: voluntary workers

Revisiting the Story of the IDP Camps, 2009 et seq: ONE

Michael Roberts

As with Eelam War IV the Western media juggernaut, primed and fed by the extensive LTTE networks abroad, mounted an effective disinformation campaign on this topic. One illustration was when Jeremy Page of the BBC reported in June 2009 that 1400 persons were dying per week in the Manik Farm camps.

Coping with the influx of internal Tamil IDPS from late 2008 onwards was in fact a huge administrative and humanitarian problem with security implications. The task was faced by the Government of Sri Lanka and a collection of INGOS and NGOs with the support of monetary aid provided by the Western governments and UN agencies and with a Coordinating Committee chaired by Mahinda Samarasinghe keeping an eye on proceedings.

Annet Royce (standing) and Sewalanak Cooking team at Omanthai transit camp in mid-May 2009 preparing food packets for IDPS bussed in from war front on way to Manik Farm Camps Continue reading

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Rakhita and Senel: Transforming Lives

A SUNDAY TIMES Feature, 23 July 2017 entitled “Young and Unafraid,”…

A month ago two young Sri Lankans were in London to receive the Queen’s Young Leaders Award. Established in 2014, the programme is aimed at discovering, supporting and encouraging exceptional young people between the ages of 18-29 across the Comonwealth for their contribution to their communities. This year, 21-year-old Rakitha Malewana and 26-year-old Senel Wanniarachchi were honoured for their work with HIV/AIDS and social activism respectively.

   Rakitha Malewana, raising awareness about HIV/AIDs. Pix by Indika handuwala

  Social activist Senel Wanniarachchi. Pic by Sameera Weerasekera

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Floods: Ruwani’s Swimming Efforts in Aid

A Tale from”Prasa,” her proud father

Dear Friends, …… I like to share something with you which made me very proud of my older daughter Ruwani, who is now in Sri Lanka. During last years floods she together with a group of friends formed an impromptu relief and rescue group.  To my knowledge it included two doctors,  a couple of divers, an ex Army Major and a handful of others including Ruwani.  They went when there was an appeal for swimmers to rescue marooned people. Last time she had swam out and done a number of swims carrying food parcels in siri siri bags in her mouth for the stranded victims who could not be brought a shore. They set up camp and treated many with first aid. They also collected dry rations clothes etc. individually through friends and made sure they went 100%  deserving.

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Bridging Lanka I: Sustaining Mannar’s Kulams

BRIDGING LANKA is a multi-faceted programme initiated by the Sri Lankan Austrailan Jeremy Liyanage and friends from circa 2009(?) to assist the social welfare of all the peoples in Mannar island and its adjoining hinterland. I was an observer at a town planning jam-session way back around 2011(?) and have been in touch with Liyanage ver since. Thuppahi is delighted to feature the several social service paths that BRIDGING LANKA is pursuing in the locality.

Protecting and Rehabilitating Mannar’s Kulams (ponds)


Our aim: This project aims to rehabilitate Periyakamam Kulam as a ‘demonstration kulam’ so that authorities and residents alike will be inspired to value, protect and rehabilitate other kulams in Mannar. The sharp decrease in the number of kulams caused by severe encroachment has led to worsening annual flooding in the urban area, resulting in much human displacement and misery.

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Stratagems & Spoils: Backroom Campaign to Oust Rajapaksa clarified by Kapila Ranasinghe

Chamitha Kuruppu, courtesy of Daily Ft, where the title is The mission to oust Mahinda, win over Maithri and select a common candidate”

In a candid interview with the Daily FT, Dr. Kapila Ranasinghe revealed a secret mission they launched to oust once-powerful President Mahinda Rajapaksa, convince the former General Secretary of the SLFP Maithripala Sirisena to cross over and the crucial task of selecting a common candidate. Dr. Kapila Ranasinghe is one of the few scholars who has had the privilege of studying at Harvard University, Cambridge University and University of Colombo. He serves as a Director in six private sector companies, Consultant in Strategy and Innovation and a visiting lecturer for masters programs in local and foreign universities. Following are excerpts:

Kapila RDr. Kapila Ranasinghe – Pix by Lasantha Kumara

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Walter Keller: A German with Lanka in his flesh and bones

I: “From people to places, the bond will always bring him back” – by Duvindi Illankoon in the Sunday Times

Walter-kellar-at-exhibition-pic-300x180 Walter Keller (in middle) at on of his photographic exhibitions

Back in 1977, Walter Keller-Kirchhoff was a 25-year-old Economics student fulfilling a young and carefree impulse to travel. He came to Sri Lanka on a little Volkswagen aboard a ferry, imagining it to be just another stop on his Asian tour. Life has a way of surprising us and Keller was no exception-almost four decades later he sits in an office down Jawatte Avenue on a sweltering Colombo morning, asking us if he can turn down the air conditioner because “it’s a little cold”.

_DSC0969 - CopyPerhaps some would recognize Walter more for his colourful photographs of the island, so often exhibited in its galleries. Most would draw the connection between the 62-year-old and his work with the GIZ (German Development Cooperation) in Sri Lanka. Yet there are those individuals who would simply remember him as the sudu mahattaya who helped them find a footing in the world. Whichever way you look at it and however you may know him, there’s no denying that Keller was a live spark within his circles. Continue reading


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Two CANDLEAID Projects in Lanka

I. LIBRARY PROJECT: Pethalai Vipulanandam Maha Vidyalayam is situated in Kalkudah in the district of Batticaloa in the eastern province of Sri Lanka. This school has been in existence since 1945. During the years of the ethnic war, the school suffered a fair amount of damage as it is situated in the conflict zone. Though some repairs have already been carried out, there is still work to be done to restore the school to its original status. Currently there are 837 students and 36 teachers. The school caters to students from Grades 4 to 13. In response to a request made by the School, CandleAid donated books to open a library facility for the students. The books were selected in consultation with the school authorities. The name board (please see below) for the library and stickers for the books amounted to Rs. 3,005. The total cost of the library amounted to Rs. 72,008. Continue reading

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