From DJ Mitchell, a friend who has spent considerable time in Sri Lanka volunteering with Sarvodaya, a peace organization, comes this plea for funds. He is the bookkeeper for the Sarvodaya organization in the U.S.
Sunday’s deadly Tsunami left more than 77,000 people dead. Many of them were in Sri Lanka, where the tidal wave hit more than half the small country’s coastline. The tally so far: over 22,000 people dead, and more than a million homeless.
The Sri Lanka count is now 25,000 dead and 1.5 million homeless – 7.5% of the population.
Many of you know that I lived in Sri Lanka for 18 months, and spent eight years helping to end the civil war there. I worked with Sarvodaya, a Sri Lankan organization that has been helping people to help themselves since 1958. In the face of this natural disaster, Sarvodaya is uniquely positioned to help. They have volunteers in place in every province, and in almost every district: Sinhala and Tamil, government and LTTE.
Please join me in helping Sarvodaya to help those in need. Please send a contribution to Sarvodaya — a network of over 100,000 local volunteers already living in villages throughout the country.
Update: From Blog for Sri Lanka comes this simple explanation of why Sarvodaya is so effective. In a country with a long and bloody civil war, all sides trust them.
The president of Sarvodaya, Dr A.T. Ariyaratne, has just returned from a visit to the North. He went to the Mullaitivu District and as far as Point Pedro in Jaffna. The damage in the North is very similar to that in the South with the entire coastal belt destroyed and the death toll and number of injured very high. Sarvodaya is co-operating with the government, LTTE and voluntary organisations to provide relief to these areas.
Thus, the government and LTTE ( the insurgent Tamil Tigers) are co-operating with Sarvodaya. They would probably kill each other on sight, plus the government doesn’t go into Tamil-held areas. But they will speak to and co-operate with Sarvodaya, who are now getting help and supplies into areas when no one else can.