Rotary in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire has had a long and successful relationship with fellow Rotarians in Sri Lanka. Following the devastating tsunami in 2004 Rotarians from our District visited Sri Lanka to look at what we could do to help with recovery. Through collaboration with the Rotary Club of Cinnamon Gardens we were able to raise sufficient funds to re-build one of the schools in the North of the country, now known as the KSV school. Over the years we have maintained good links with the Rotary Clubs of Cinnamon Gardens and the local Rotary Club of Kalmunai. We know from these links that times are still difficult for the people in Sri Lanka, particularly since COVID-19 hit.
In 2011 the Rotary Club of Skipton started to work with the Rotary Club of Kandy through the Micro-loan scheme. The first six loans were to very poor families in the area. More recently the Rotary Club of Roundhay have worked with the RC of Kandy who have issued loans through the Centre for the Handicapped, helping many more families to set up their own businesses. This continues to be regularly reported upon and very successful.
We have been saddened to receive the following news from Rotarian Shamil Parkes, one of our key links in Sri Lanka, at the Rotary Club of Kandy.
The Rotary Club of Kandy is the 4th oldest club in District 3220 which comprises all of Sri Lanka and Maldives and chartered 77 years ago. Over the years, they have been at the forefront of providing humanitarian relief to the under privileged. The Center for Handicapped is a State approved “not for profit” charity and is the premier mobility aid provider serving the physically impaired for the last 30 years having helped around 24000 poor men, women and children to live full productive and happy lives.
‘Today, the Rotary Club of Kandy together with the Center for Handicapped are extending our support to the poorest victims of the COVID-19 pandemic, hospitals and medical personnel who are struggling to cope with the growing numbers of people in need of care.
Sri Lanka had a relatively mild first wave of COVID-19 in 2020 during which we had only thirteen deaths for a good part of the year – one of the lowest mortality ratios in terms of population in the entire world at that time. Sadly, the situation has deteriorated in an unbelievably drastic manner and after repeated waves of COVID-19, we are now in the fourth wave with the highly transmissible Delta Variant which is causing havoc in both Sri Lanka and abroad. From having the lowest mortality percentage – we are now at perhaps the highest mortality percentage in relation to population at nearly 200 deaths every single day. The total infected population now stands at around half a million (in a population of around 22 million), and currently there are 70,000 active cases and sadly 10,320 known deaths to-date.
This terrible situation is further drastically aggravated by the unprecedented economic collapse which has resulted in shooting inflation, the collapse of the Sri Lankan Rupee causing even the most basic of imported items - such as fuel, milk powder, medicine, sugar and many other essentials for daily existence – to spiral up in cost in an unbelievable manner. The sharp increase in the parity rate for the Dollar has resulted in importers hoarding essential food which in turn has forced the Government to declare a State of Emergency for Food Security. The poor and underprivileged are at serious risk of starvation – quite apart from the deadly risk of COVID-19.
A large percentage of our population are daily paid workers who have no income and, therefore, no food, particularly during lockdown. They are also being ravaged by the pandemic. Unfortunately, the safety net that should have been in place by now from the State is not yet operative and even the little assistance being provided is totally inadequate.
The other area where urgent support is needed is the Health Care Sector which is at breaking point. Health Care workers at all levels have been tremendously supportive in the treatment process even though many of them have been infected with COVID-19 and some have even died of it. However, they lack huge amounts of vital equipment and consumables in relation to the overwhelming numbers of people who are getting infected and are stretching the health care facilities to breaking point.
The Rotary Club of Kandy and Center for Handicapped, are giving as much support as possible, within their limited means, and are providing relief to some of those in desperate need of food and basic necessities but the numbers are far greater than we can ever dream of supporting by ourselves.’
Rotarian Shamil Peiris
Snr. Vice President of the Rotary Club of Kandy
Shamil has identified two areas in which they are most in need of support:
|Item||Unit Cost - LKR|
|BIPAP Device||1,300,000.00 LKR|
|Multi para Monitor||300,000.00|
|Oxygen cylinder Jumbo||80,000.00|
|Masks KN 95 3 Ply||18,000|
September 16th Exchange Rate - 275.964 LKR to 1 GBP
The Rotary Club of Kandy and Center for Handicapped are committed to channeling every single Rupee that is received directly to the end purpose without any intermediary costs whatsoever. In addition the deployment of all support received will be very rapid as they are fully geared up with the human and logistical resources to do so.
Can you Help?
As a District we have agreed we will do all we can to help Shamil.
If you would like to make a donation you can do this through the District Treasurer, David Robinson, email@example.com who will then transfer all money together, saving on transfer costs. Please can you also e-mail myself on firstname.lastname@example.org so we can track all donations made?