Last November, accompanied by Janneke and Wim Wes, and Chaminda our project manager in Sri Lanka have I, Jan van der Steen, again paid a working visit to inspect our water and sanitation projects.
• During the first week Chaminda became ill for a few days and after that, it was my turn. Being fit again we left for inspection of some old and new projects east of Polonnaruwa NC Province at a 7 hours driving distance of our base Negombo. First we went to a small school in a desolate area. Kansarmen Sri Lanka Foundation is finishing here together with parents a new water well. For a short film impression of these activities please follow this link.
• Not far from the school you see above, 128 families get their drinking water out of a lake (Wewa). As a matter of fact this water isn’t really drinkable, much algal growth and floating materials. In vain families tried by means of material setting reservoirs to purify the water. We see real chances with less than € 2.000,- to improve the quality of water considerably.
As Wilde Ganzen would describe this project: “SMALL PROJECT / BIG DIFFERENCE”
• After that we visit some schools located in tea plantations, south of Kandy in Central Province, mainly visited by Tamil children. This group of Tamils is overlooked and doesn’t receive any support. Socially and society wise these people are at bottom level of society but do want to have a future perspective for their children. Nobody is helping these people! Aid organizations prefer to skip this area and their inhabitants…! We already helped some schools in these regions. Also here we want to make a start offering help and assistance and we identified three schools and a drinking water supply for a Tamil community.
•We continue our journey to Wellawaya in de UVA Province. Here we identify some new school projects. Also we see a home with 55 people, aged from 2 to 54 years old and mentally handicapped, 45 of 55 inhabitants are incontinent….! Unfortunately they have no access to disposable incontinency materials. The motivated staff needs lots of water to keep everything clean. They really would like to have an extra high water tower. Why extra high? In that way we have more water pressure to clean all the clothes, is the answer …
Accordingly a request of the community of more than 500 families. Now the families have polluted water and at a distance of 9 kilometres there is a big natural well in the mountains. At the back of a motorcycle we are going to take a look. As a matter of fact, the plan isn’t really wrong, there’s a great demand for clean water, will be continued .. .
• Also we have set up a meeting with dairy company Fonterra in the Western Province. Together with Fonterra we realized 7 school projects. Both parties, Fonterra and our Foundation, are really happy in respect of our cooperation. New school projects are waiting for the start of 2016. These projects will take place in areas where Fonterra gets the milk from.
• During our last week we again have a meeting with the minister of Education and his secretary. Minister Mr. Akila supports us fully. This way we get a full permit to visit all schools in Sri Lanka. We maintain stirring up the government and try to achieve that clean drinking water is on top of the governmental agenda!
• The last 10 years Chaminda and I have visited many schools which requested to improve sanitation and water facilities. When these facilities are not sufficient available, the school will perish and is near to closure. The school gets a new opportunity when a new project is implemented in their school! And then after 2 years we again visit the school and you don’t recognize the school: enthusiasm, motivation, an even bigger smile, dynamic and active parents, children who started their own vegetable garden and teachers remain working at the schools! Together they see the future!!
• Seen old and new projects, intensified contacts, knowing that a team is working in the projects which is “overloaded with water knowledge and loyalty”, I return happily and satisfied to our cold “froggy” country”.
Jan van der Steen