As Plan Sri Lanka marks its 25th year of working for Sri Lankan children, it has launched a website detailing its work in this country. The new website, gives special emphasis to Plan Sri Lanka`s ongoing efforts to rebuilding lives and communities that were shattered by the tsunami. Departing from the traditionally prosaic development news focus sites, the Plan Sri Lanka website reflects Plan`s focus on children, with its colourful child-friendly pages, and cheerful cartoon and photographic illustrations. Special features include children`s pages highlighting articles and drawings sent in by children from villages where Plan works, stories written by sponsors about their visits to their sponsor children in Sri Lanka, and an archive of the recent newsletters, research reports, educational material and community awareness campaigns published by Plan.
Plan`s Country Director, Mingming Evora, said `we decided to develop our own website partly as there was an immediate need to create much greater awareness of tsunami-related projects and news that need a customised local format. We also decided to share more details of our work with our donors, with other governmental and non-governmental organisations working in the area of child and community development, and with everyone who has an interest in helping disadvantaged children in Sri Lanka.
Particularly after the tsunami, it has become even more important to let donors see exactly how their money is being spent and how great the actual benefits are for the victims of the tsunami. We wanted the website to have a special child-friendly feel, because children are at the heart of everything we do at Plan`.
The site also contains a wealth of information on the work that Plan is involved in Sri Lanka, including sections detailing specific issues facing Sri Lankan children and the communities that the live in, and the projects that Plan is carrying out in order to help improve their situation and promote children`s rights. `As a child-centred community development organization, we always involve children in the planning and implementation of our projects, making sure that they are given an opportunity to express their own viewpoints, and tuning in to their aspirations for the future`, explains Ms. Evora.
After the devastating tsunami, Plan Sri Lanka focused much of its relief work in the. Hambantota District, where. Plan has had a development program since 1996. The. Organisation has already committed US$ 17 million (approx. 1.7 billion rupees), to its tsunami relief programs, and hopes to further increase its contribution as work progresses.
As described on the pages dedicated to `Supporting Tsunami Survivors` on the site, Plan has, to date, commenced work on the construction of three villages to house 36-5 families who lost their homes in the tsunami. The three villages, Yayawatta (200 houses), Egodabedda. (38 houses) and Bata-ata (127 houses), are being built on land provided by the Government of Sri Lanka in the Hambantota district. The layout of the villages and the designs of the houses were finalised in consultation with the men, women and children who will live in the new settlements. In addition Plan has committed to supporting the construction of 130 houses on individual plots of land (on family`s own land) in Tangalle on a self-help basis.
With seven schools in Hambantota having been destroyed by the, tsunami, Plan has undertaken to build a new school complex, the Ruhunu Vijayabha Maha Vidyalaya in Tangalle, Hambantota, which will provide primary and secondary schooling for 3,000 students. Plan will also rehabilitate or upgrade 12 other schools, affected by the disaster.
Plan has also implemented several projects for the benefit of all tsunami-affected children, including the publication of books and the production of a video to be used as tools to help children to get over the psychological trauma of the tsunami.
Plan International is child-centered community development organization, currently working in 60 countries. Plan now works with over 24,000 poor children, their families and communities, in 22 divisional secretariat areas in the eight districts of - Hambantota, Moneragala, Kandy, Badulla, Matale, Anuradhapura Kurunegala and Nuwara-Eliya. Plan has no religious, political or governmental affiliation.