Two voluntary organizations-one based in Sri Lanka and the other in the Republic of Korea-have joined hands in providing help and relief to people of Padavi Sripura in the Trincomalee district which is one of the areas worst-affected by the deadly Chronic Kidney Disease.
The Association for Social Development (ASD), a voluntary organization registered in Sri Lanka under the Companies Act set up in 1995 by like-minded persons desirous of helping the under-privileged sections of the society, consists of members drawn largely from retired public servants, international civil servants, bankers and other professionals.
It is a non-political and non-profit earning Association and undertakes social welfare activity with donations made by its members and other well-wishers. The Good Partners of Korea is a global non-governmental organization registered as an NGO in Sri Lanka to engage in humanitarian activity.
Representatives of these two organizations, having learnt of the plight of the people in Padavi Sripura in the Trincomalee district as a result of kidney disease, made several visits to the area and after discussions with local stakeholders decided three years ago to launch a well- integrated project under the banner “Project Hope” to help the families affected by the kidney disease. This was done on the well-founded basis that the kidney disease is a serious health and environment hazard faced by the people in the dry zone of Sri Lanka and tackling it cannot be left alone in the hands of the government but the civil society should also play a meaningful role in the efforts to combat the disease. The two organizations are happy to note that this is a view shared by President Maitripala Sirisena in his message when a special website was inaugurated on the prevention of kidney disease.
During the last three years the two organizations have, with the collaboration of the Pradesiya Sabha of Padavi Sripura, installed 18 Reverse Osmosis (RO) water filtering systems at schools and community centres at a cost of Rs 10 million for the provision of clean and safe drinking water to the community.
It is considered to be the immediate requirement of the affected people. A scholarship programme was started by the two organizations to help school-going children of families affected by the disease. Sofar under this programme, financial supportis being given to 121 students to continue their education despite the financial and traumatic hardships faced by theirfamilies. This programme will be further enhanced in the coming years.
Last year, a computer training institute equipped to train 25 students per session together with a Korean Language Training Centre manned by Korean volunteers were established. These two centres will no doubt go a long way in helping the school leavers of the area to equip themselves for new employment opportunities which will lead to the improvement of family incomes in a poverty-ridden area. In recognizing the trauma experienced by the kidney patients, their families and those connected and the need to assist them in coping with numerous health, social and economic problems confronted, a Counselling Programme was started jointly with Berendina, another social service organization active in the district.