Sri Lanka Deaf Mission: June 2020
Response of Deaf Link, Methodist Church Sri Lanka, to Covid-19 pandemic. Supported by Uniting World Australia and Christoffel Blinden Mission (CBM).
After the first Covid-19 infected case of a female Chinese tourist was reported in the country on 27 January 2020, the first Sri Lankan patient, a tour guide who provided services to a group of Italian tourists, was reported on 11 March 2020. There onwards many persons were identified carrying the virus. Several Navy personal from Welisara Navy camp were found positive and those who went out on leave spread the virus to others where they had close contacts. Recently many arrivals from Kuwait, Dubai, Qatar and India too reported positive, as per the information received from Ministry of Health.
The situation became worse day by day and as at 25 March, 2020 the total positive cases increased. Due to the rapid increase in numbers, the Government has made arrangements to convert many hospitals to accommodate the Covid-19 patients. In the meantime Government declared curfew covering all districts in the country. The curfew was lifted for a shorter period every other day to enable the public to do their purchasing. However, due to the shortage of food items long queues were seen in front of all most all the supermarkets and petrol sheds. People were panicking to purchase their requirements.
All Government and private establishments in the country have been closed, transport services came to a halt, no arrival of flights, no postal facilities and almost the entire country was at stand still. As a result of the this situation those who are working on daily basis have not got the opportunity of going to work for over many weeks. Similarly, the farmers, fisherman, taxi drivers and other street business persons have lost their earnings.
Response Intervention and Implementation by the Government: the Government of Sri Lanka responded with financial support for those who are having low income by paying LKR 5,000/- for each family for the months of March and April, 2020 in all districts through the Divisional Secretaries. Further the Government announced a grace period to pay utility bills of every family (Electricity, Water, Telephone, Leasing premiums).
Response Intervention and Implementation by Deaf Link
Methodist Church: Deaf Link ministry commenced its immediate response by providing dry rations packs to the most vulnerable persons in their working districts covering the persons with disabilities, children with disabilities, women headed families, self-help group members and other needy persons. Funds were transferred from two projects funded by Uniting World Australia and Christoffel Blinden Mission (CBM) of Germany, handled by the Deaf Link Ministry through the Department of Social Responsibility of the Methodist Church of Sri Lanka.
Dry ration packs for the value of Rs. 1,000/- or cash were distributed to the following self help groups involved in the CBM project.
|| No. of SHGs
|| No. of members
|| Total Value of packs-LKR|
|Mannar|| 13|| 196|| 196,000.00|
|Killinochchi|| 06|| 110|| 110,000.00|
|Mullaithivu || 11|| 163|| 163,000.00||Anurathapura|| 15|| 190|| 190,000.00
|Jaffna|| 14|| 171|| 171,000.00|
| 830|| 830,000.00|
Deaf Link collaboration with other agencies to fight Covid 19 pandemic
- Brian Holden an NGO working with CBM project supported to give 200 dry ration packs to SHG beneficiaries in the District of Nuwara Eliya and 50 packs for special need children in Kalmunai. Each pack valued at 1000/-
- Data organization an NGO working with Deaf Link supported to provide 50 packs of dry rations for persons with disabilities in Jaffna. Each pack valued at 2,500/-
- In collaboration with Sri Lanka Red Cross Society deaf Link staff made arrangements to spray Chioroquine Chemical in Radella, , Nanu oya, Ragala, Galwewa and Orvelliya estates to cover the locations of the working areas.
- Dry ration packs were distributed to persons with disability at Glassaugh Estate in Nuwara Eliya supported by Sri Lanka Red Cross Society. In addition Cash vouchers were given for the value of Rs. 3,500/- for 61 persons with disabilities in Kotmale and 70 persons in Nuwara eliya.
- With the involvement of Deaf Link staff with Government funds (Divisional Secretary) 31 packs of dry rations were issued to persons with disabilities in Kopaay DS area for the value of Rs. 2000/-.
- With the support of deaflink general fund, distributed dry rations for 50 families in Jaffna, Killinochchi and Anuradapura. Cost of a pack was Rs. 2,000/-. Further, distributions of dry rations were made in Tilloultry Estate for 24 elders.
- Deaf Link staff arranged with a disabled person (both legs amputated due to a bomb attack) to make face masks and made arrangements to sell 200 mask during a week.
Educational Activities by Deaf Link Uniting World Project: with the support of the Assistant Director of Education and in service advisor, special education children were contacted through their teachers and gathered information about them. Deaf Link staff encouraged them to get involved in drawings and handy craft work to keep them engaged during the lock down period. It was difficult to involve them in on line studies. Most of the children participated in the drawing and handy craft, had their choice titled "chase corana."
Deaf Link encouraged the persons with disabilities and children with disabilities to start home gardening during the lock down period. Deaf Link issued 175 packs of vegetable seeds to parents of CWDs from Killinochchi Central Primary, Palai Central College, St. Thresa girls school, Bharathy Vidyalayam, Mayavanoor Vidyalayam, Ampara Kanista Vidyalaya, Kariathivu Shanmuga Vidyalayam and Kalmunai Wesley College. In addition, issues to SHGs in Kalmunai and Vannerikulam. Further, distributions were made to Children's club in Kalmunai, teachers and staff. Rev. Nishantha Gunaratne guided the interested parties the manner in which a home garden has to be maintained and the importance of the natural home garden and its benefits. Vegetable seeds were also issued to 5 special education students in Kariathivu. Rainbow organization has promised to issue vegetable seeds for the special education students.
Social Activities with the support of other agencies arranged by Deaf Link: the following activities were carried out by Deaf Link with the support of the Divisional Secretaries, local NGOs and other well wishes to support the persons affected by Covid 19 pandemic.
- Dry ration packs were issued to 210 beneficiaries in Ampara, Potthuvil Kalmunai, Karaithivo and Killinochchi for CWDs, PWDs, SHG members and vulnerable people.
- In the month of May 2020 Revends Gnanarajah, Sathish and Mr. M Mohanadas visited Killinochchi and issued dry ration packs to ASSETS home including 30 mentally retarded children. Dry ration for 13 beneficiaries and sanitary napkins for 3 adults.
- Deaf Link issued 60 dry ration packs to CWDs with the support of Brien Holden Foundation at YMCA, Kalmunai with the participation of Principal of Wesley College and Secretary YMCA.
- Revnds Gnanarajah, Nishantha, Earl Soloman visited Killinochchi to issue dry ration packs and hand sanitizers to 381 parents of CWDs from Central Primary and Palai Central Colleges. This programme was arranged by Asst. Director of Education - special education unit.
- Revnds. Gnanarajah, Nishantha Gunaratne, Vinoth, Earl Soloman and Principal of Shanmuga Vidyalayam made issue of dry rations and hand sanitizers to 31 children club members, 15 parents of CWDs of Shanmugam Vidyalayam and 7 SHG members.
- With the participation of Rev. Sasikumar, Asst. Director of Education, Principal, Teachers and Deaf Link staff, dry rations and sanitizers were issued to 7 parents of CWDs in Thressa Girls School. Further 16 packs of dry rations and sanitizers were issued to Vanneri SHG members. Bro. Karunairajah of Aniavizhunthan Methodist Church also participated.
- Dry rations were issued to 14 parents and guardians of CWDs of Bharathy Vidyalayam by Rev. Sasikumar in the presence of Vice Principal, teachers, SDS Secretary and staff.
- Deaf link arranged with NGOs to issue dry rations to 14 PWDs in Tricomalee and 10 vulnerable families in Jaffna.
Our thanks: We thank the almighty God for all His love and care upon everyone during this period of Covid 19 pandemic. With much gratitude we would like to express our sincere thanks to our donors especially CBM of Germany, Uniting World Australia and other partner organizations, individual donors for their timely assistance to support the victims of Covid 19. At the same time we much appreciate the guidance and the blessings of our President of the Methodist church Rev Asiri P Perera, and the encouragement of the founder deaflink Rev S S Gnanarajah, and support of director DSR Rev Anura Prera.
Highlights of the events
Rev G A Sathish