Assist RR Chairman Dr V Sarveswaran visited Sri Lanka earlier this month accompanied by  Dr Jeyapooranabala, an Eye surgeon, and a trustee of Assist RR . They considered that it was a very useful trip and were able to meet a number of service minded people during their visit. The people they met were Mullaithivu GA, Mr. Vethanayagan, Dr Sathyamoorthy at Vavuniya hospital, Vaddukodai Tech Director, Mr Hoole, Dr Sathyaruban from Puthukudiyiruppu and Swamijis at Ramakrishna Mission (RKM) in Colombo.  Dr. Sarveswaran visited 16 pre-schools and a number of parimary schools in Puthukudiyiruppu, Mulliavalai, and Kilinochchi and witnessed the extent of the damages. Dr Jeyapooranabala conducted a number of eye clinics in Vanni and Kaithady.
Remains of the war at Mullivaikal on 06 March 2013
Livelihood Projects

Dr V Sarveswaran met six families identified by Ramakrishna Mission (RMK) as in need of livelihood assistance. Following this meeting, AssistRR handed over cycles to five families in Puthu Mathalan.  Two of these families have lost their parents at the end of the war and live with their grandmothers.  Three families are headed by women as a result of the war.
AssistRR also promised to provide livelihood support such as cows, poultry and fishing nets to these families. GA kindly accepted the invitation from Dr Sarveswaran and joined them to hand over the cycles at Puthu Mathalan and also promised to provide assistance to the two families who lost both parents.
However, due to the war, there are more women headed families, who need assistance to start their lives and to stand on their own feet. AssistRR is in the process of selecting some more families in need of assistance. These families will be provided with livelihood assistances. AssistRR need more funds to assist many more families in need of desperate help. With support from friends and families, AssistRR can help more families.
AssistRR Meeting five families in Puth Mathalan
Handing over cycles to the five families by the GA of Mullaithivu, Mr Vethanayagan
Eye Camps and Surgeries
Dr Jeyapooranabala carried out eye clinics in Kaithay, Puthukudiyiruppu and Mannar. He has seen about 70 people at kaithaddy elderly home, 8o people at puthukudiruppu hospital, and more than 200 people at Murngan and Pesalai hospitals in mannar. They all had check up for Glaucoma, cataract, diabetic retinopathy and other eye problems. He has identified people with glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy and referred them for follow up treatment  at Vavuniya hospital.  He has  provided about 300 reading glasses, eye drops for dry eyes and identified people who needed cataract surgery in the near future to improve their vision.
Eye Clinic at Puthukudiyiruppu by Dr Jeyapooranabala
Dr Sarveswaran and Dr Jeyapooranabala also met with WHO Vision 2020 organisers at the Health Ministry in Colombo and requested a cataract surgery clinic in Mannar.  The ministry provide surgeons, and other facilities except the lens and a few other consumables.  ARR agreed to provide funds for these items.  A cataract surgery camp will be conducted in April in Mannar. Vision 2020 also agreed to organise another camp in Mullaitivu in the near future with the support of Assist RR. Mannar Cataract camp will jointly be sponsored by AssistRR, and Gods Own Children Foundation and Tamil Engineers in Australia.
AssistRR contacted Jaipoor artificial limbs in Jaffna, who indicated that they will be able to fit artificial limbs free of charge but we have to provide transport.  One of our local volunteers is progressing on this and will ensure that some of these people will be fitted with limbs.  AssistRR will fund the transport cost.
Educational Projects

Scholarships for University Students

During the visit to Vanni, AssistRR were requested to consider helping university students from Vanni to continue their studies as their parents are struggling to support them financially. Although some these of students are given Mahapola scholarships, it is worth only Rs 2500, which is not sufficient to live and learn away from Vanni.  There are locally registered educational trust funds in Mullaithivu and Vavuniya. The GA and Dr Sathyamoorthy are members of these trusts, which have been helping some of these students. They said the need is huge and they have been able to support only a fraction of the needs. They asked whether we could assist with providing assistance to some of these students. AssistRR have decided to provide assistance to some of these students.

Mullaitivu Technical College

The GA also suggested that Mullaithivu district would benefit from a Technical College as there are none at present in Vanni.  Dr Sarveswaran met a few relevant people and discussed about this proposal in Colombo. It is feasible to start a Technical College in a temporary building, starting with a few trade courses such as Masonry, Electrical Wiring and Plumbing and then extend to other trades.  The GA also promised to find a temporary building to start the courses.  A full time lecturer in Colombo is currently working on the necessary materials for the courses, human resources, and costs.  Another engineer from Colombo is working on the formation of the college.  We need to raise some funds to support this initiative.

After School Tuition Centres
AssistRR were also asked whether we could support after school tuitions and seminars to O/L & A/L students in Vanni. Following this request, Dr Sarveswaran met up with one of his former principals from Jaffna, who agreed to organise and coordinate this.  He is hopeful that this will be rolled out in the near future.  We need to provide some incentives to the teachers who would be involved in this.
Pre-School Projects
Dr Sarveswaran visited 16 pre-schools and a number of primary schools in Puthukudiyiruppu, Mulliavalai, Mullaithivu and Kilinochchi and witnessed the extent of damages. He also discussed the needs of rebuilding and renovation of these schools with the GA of Mullaithivu.
GA stated that UNICEF has been helping with building temporary shelters for Primary Schools.  A photo of a temporary primary school shelter by UNISEF shown below.  He therefore suggested that AssistRR could focus efforts elsewhere.  Another organisation called JRS has built temporary shelters for some pre-schools, a photo of this is also shown below.  However, there are still nearly 10 pre-schools in need of shelters.  Some photos of damaged pre-schools in need of renovation and rebuild are shown below.

Sri Subramaniya Vidyasalai Primary School, PK – A damaged building
Sri Subramaniya Vidyasalai Primary School, PK – Temporary shelter by UNICEF
Senthamil Pre-School, Thevipuram, PK built by JRS – This shelter houses 52 children
Following the visit to Vanni, AssistRR have decided to rebuild and renovate at least a minimum of six pre-schools. AssistRR will work hard and raise funds to rebuild and renovate the other pre-schools in the near future. During the visit to Vanni, AssistRR have met a number of local engineers and other volunteers who have agreed to help Assist RR to monitor and support our school projects in Vanni. 
List of the pre-schools that Assist RR wishes to re-build at the earliest:
1.  Tamil Maran Pre-School, Mullivaikal, Puthukkudiyiruppu – 32 kids
Currently operates in a tent but there is a sound structure without roof and in need of renovation.  No toilets.
2. Chandran Pre-School, Mullivaikal East, Puthukkudiyiruppu – 23 kids
Currently operates in a temporary small shelter and no toilet.  But there is a permanent and sound structure without roof.  Can be renovated including roofing.
3. St Teresa Pre-School, 4th Circuit, Mulliavalai – 17 kids
A temporary structure is in a danger of collapsing. Needs a new structure.
4. Subramanium Pre-school, 7th Circuit, Puthukkudiyiruppu – 28 kids
This has no building and the children are learning at a temporary building .  Need to build one.
5. Anantharasa Pre-School, Manthavil, Puthukkudiyiruppu – 26 kids
No buildings, but operates from a temporary shelter.  Needs a shelter in the allotted land.
6.  Kanthan Pre-School, Kaiveli, Puthukkudiyiruppu – 26 kids
Operates in a temporary shed and does not have any toilet facilities, needs a new building.
7.  Benazir Pre-School, Alambil, Mullivaikal – 46 kids
Operates in a temporary shed.  But there is also a permanent structure without roof.
8.  Elilkannan Pre-School, Vallipunam, Puthukkudiyiruppu – 28 kids
Does not have any toilet facilities, needs a new building.
9.  Pokkanai Pre-School, Pokkanai , Puthukkudiyiruppu – 36 kids
Operates in a temporary shed does not have any toilet facilities, needs a new building.
10.  Thirumurugapuram Pre-School, Manthavil , Puthukkudiyiruppu – 42 kids
A sound damaged structure is there, in addition to a temporary shelter, needing a roof and renovation.
How can you help?
We hope you can see the extent of problems endured by the people from of Vanni.  Please support our efforts and donate generously so that we can contribute in a small way to the enhancement of the lives of people affected by the war. 
You can make donations by standing orders for £5-£10 per month.  We have already placed money boxes in businesses.  Let us try and help these unfortunate people who suffered the most at the end of the war.
Lastly, we would like to point out that visit to Sri Lanka by our members are self funded and not funded by our charity.  We want to utilise 100% of the raised funds to the needy people. This would be our policy forever, i.e. any visits to SL will be self-funded.