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Tsunami: 2 years after

Sponsored Tsunami Children Two Years On

23 Dec 2006

 

SOS Children’s Villages is supporting over 25,000 children and their families whose lives were turned upside-down by the Asian Tsunami on Boxing Day 2004. By running play therapy schemes, day-care centres and adult training courses, and by rebuilding community homes and schools, SOS Children’s Villages is responding realistically and effectively to the needs of tsunami-affected children and their guardians.

We would like to take this opportunity to share with you the work we have achieved so far with your support in India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Thailand.

India

 

Child born after the tsunamiThe decision was taken this year to build three new SOS Children’s Villages for children who were orphaned by the Tsunami. 57 young children are currently living with their SOS mothers in a big rented house in Pondicherry Town, eastern India, until SOS Children’s Village Pondicherry Town opens in June 2007.

Construction on SOS Children’s Village Nagapattinam Town will begin imminently, and will benefit 100 young children from August 2008. An SOS Social and Medical Centre will care for 1,500 people in the town too. Currently an AIDS awareness programme is being run in the town: street plays are performed to educate people about the disease, and the slogan-writing and poster-design competitions have proved to be popular.

The low-lying Andaman and Nicobar Islands were acutely affected by the Tsunami. A large percentage of their population was killed. In Port Blair, the islands’ capital, an SOS Children’s Village and an SOS Vocational Training Centre will be constructed. They will both open in summer 2008 and will benefit many of the islands’ children and young adults.

SOS Children’s Villages has reconstructed over 225 private permanent homes for families who lost everything in the tsunami. The building of the roads, water supply line and external sewage line is still in progress, but the houses are expected to be handed over in the next few weeks.

Sri Lanka

 

The SOS Social Centre in Peraliya will provide direct support for 200 children living in the coastal area of Hikkuduwa, where the tsunami destroyed homes, schools, businesses and infrastructure. The construction began in April this year and work is progressing well. The walls are built and the project is due to be completed by Easter 2007. The centre will provide day care, adult training, a medical centre, tsunami shelters and a nursery school. A Family Strengthening Programme will provide much needed support for vulnerable families living in the surrounding communities. Similar projects are underway in other parts of Sri Lanka too, and we are rebuilding a state-run high school for over 1,700 students.

In Komari, on the east coast, SOS Children’s Villages has built 282 houses for families who lost their homes, and we have renovated a further 66 partially damaged houses. SOS Children’s Villages plans to reconstruct a total of 375 houses in this area. A new SOS Children’s Village is planned for Komari too: land has been found, but we do not know when construction can begin.

Sadly, this is because increased political violence is making our work in certain parts of Sri Lanka almost impossible. As the National Director of SOS Sri Lanka, Cedric De Silva says, “The ‘civil war’ situation in most parts of the north and east of Sri Lanka is very unstable, with fighting and bombing being very common occurrences. In view of this, there is no way to predict anything at present … I am not willing to risk the lives of our children, mothers and co-workers.” We will keep you updated on the progress of this SOS Children’s Village.

Indonesia

 

12,700 children and their guardians are benefiting, or will soon benefit, from our long-term tsunami relief work in Indonesia. Private homes constructed by SOS Children’s Villages in Aceh Province for 201 families, for example, were handed over to their new owners in October. 350 families in Lambada Lhok village will soon enjoy the benefits of an SOS multipurpose community centre, which will house a primary school for 320 children, a hall, a library, a nursery school and a small mosque. A community clinic is currently being built in Suak Raya Village, near Banda Aceh, and 190 families will receive the health care they need.

We are building three new SOS Children’s Villages in Indonesia, which will care for 450 orphaned and abandoned children. Two of the Children’s Villages will be in Aceh Province: one will open in Banda Aceh, the other in the nearby town of Meulaboh. The third Village will be in Medan, on the island of Sumatra. Many of the potential SOS mothers are undergoing training, and many of the children who will live in the Children’s Villages have been identified. At each location, the first SOS mothers and children are living together in rented accommodation in the towns. In Meulaboh, for instance, 12 SOS mothers are caring for 36 children. SOS Children’s Village Meulaboh will have 15 family homes, a nursery school, a social centre and a small mosque. It is due to open in August 2007.

One child who will benefit from the support at SOS Children’s Village Meulaboh is Dian*.

Dian’s story

 

Dian does not know how old he is. He could be ten or maybe twelve. Dian's story begins well before the tsunami. His father, who works repairing bicycles, regularly vented his anger and frustration on his son. His mother and both of his older siblings had also often fallen victim to his father's violence. Dian's mother eventually left her husband and took their five children with her. It was then that Dian and his siblings began to fight for financial survival. Dian earnt a few extra rupiah as a car park attendant after school, which he contributed towards the family income. Despite the financial difficulties, the family was relieved to have escaped the domestic violence and the brothers and sisters had a very close relationship.

On 26 December 2004, it all came to an end: Dian's mother and two of his siblings died in the floods. The three siblings who survived, all of whom are still children, returned to their father. It did not take long for the beatings to start again. Dian decided to run away. He slept in mosques and earned a small amount of money for food, by helping to retrieve the countless corpses and clearing away the debris.

Now Dian doesn't have to work anymore to earn money to survive. He lives with Yudi Kartiwa and his family, goes to school in the mornings, eats with the family and sleeps in a proper bed. Yudi, a quiet, friendly young man manages SOS Children's reconstruction projects for the West Aceh region. He has taken Dian into his own home until SOS Children's Village Meulaboh is completed.

Dian is excited. He can hardly wait until SOS Children's Village Meulaboh opens. He is looking forward to having a mother and lots of brothers and sisters again. Dian is someone particularly special: he was the first child to find a home at the future SOS Children's Village Meulaboh. He already has plans for his future: with a shy smile on his face, he says that when he grows up, he wants to be a village director at an SOS Children's Village and help other children who have lost their parents.

*Name has been changed to protect Dian’s privacy

Thailand

 

SOS Children’s Villages has provided 70 families with fishing boats and reconstructed homes for 78 families, and we are building a primary school for fifty students in Ban Talay Nok village. The construction of an SOS Children’s Villages in Phuket for 120 orphaned children will begin in 2007.

The reconstruction of Ban Talay Nok School began in August following the necessary contractual processes. Local villagers helped to prepare the land by clearing the site and setting a boundary for the property. The levelling and flattening of the land was carried out in April, and today the foundations, walls and floors have been completed. It is estimated that the construction should be completed in early 2007 and the children should be able to start school at the start of the following Thai semester in May 2007.

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