Colombo: 8 February 2011 – RYTHM Foundation (RF) has partnered with Sri Lanka Unites (SLU), a youth organisation, to bring relief to school children affected by the recent floods that wreaked havoc in the Eastern, North Central and North Eastern regions of Sri Lanka
As part of this timely endeavour, RYTHM along with the Relief and Rebuilding Department of SLU focused on providing back-to-school packs to the students. Equipped with all the basic essential items to help the children resume their education after the turmoil, each pack contained stationary items such as pens, pencils, foot rulers, erasers, crayon and coloured pencil boxes and mathematical instrument sets. There were also eight exercise books, 1 kg of milk powder, clothing material for the school uniform, laundry detergent and bath soap, and a bottle of water in each pack.Schools from four affected regions were chosen for this project, namely Batticaloa, Ampara, Polonnaruwa and Mullaitivu, based on requests that came from the SLU’s grassroots network.
The worst-affected region, Batticaloa, was the first to receive assistance. Children from many affected schools in areas as remote as Kalmunai, Sammanthura and Akkaraipattu also benefited from the back-to-school project. Overall, 1,000 students have been able to return to school as a result of this joint initiative. “The reports we got from our SLU student leaders in the affected regions confirmed that around 1,000 school children were affected in the vicinity of our networks. Thus, we began an all-out effort to help as many students as we possibly could. After looking at our plan for the back-to-school project and reports of our past activities, RF graciously agreed to contribute towards this effort,” says Prashan De Visser, President of SLU. RYTHM Foundation was established by QI Group’s founder and Executive Chairman Vijay Eswaran, a prominent investor in Sri Lanka, with the aim of providing long term sustainable means of support to those in need. A key focus of the Foundation is protection and development of children. “Children are a symbol of our future and if they are nurtured and provided with a safe environment and the right opportunities to develop, they have the power to make a difference in the world tomorrow.
Our support for this back-to-school project by SLU stems from this belief”, said Vijay Eswaran of the initiative. SLU, which planned and executed the distribution of the back-to-school packs to the flood victims, is a youth civil society movement with national reach, and aims to foster reconciliation and youth leadership in community service. The organisation is led by a core team of young professionals drawn from all ethnicities and religions, working in various fields. One of the main reasons RF decided to partner with SLU is because it comprises of young adults between the ages 18 and 30, who are passionate about bringing about change through the actions of youth in the country, an area that RF is actively involved in. A second phase of this project is also being planned with a re-visit to Mullaitivu where a second round of rains has caused further damage. This is not the first time that RF has been involved in relief assistance or philanthropic projects in Sri Lanka. The Foundation of Goodness, an organisation well known for its post-Tsunami relief work in Southern Sri Lanka is an existing partner of RF for several rehabilitation projects in the Seenigama region and was also responsible for pointing the foundation towards SLU for this cause. Eswaran and his wife, who is from Sri Lanka, have been personally instrumental in providing the only pediatric laparoscopy machine in the country, to the Lady Ridgeway Children’s hospital. Earlier in 2004, in the aftermath of the Tsunami, the Foundation not only made substantial donations towards rehabilitation projects, but also sent a team of volunteers to all affected regions with relief trucks.