Empowering the people of Poonakary | Daily News

Empowering the people of Poonakary

A lush green field in Poonakary

Appé Lanka is a rural development project, which is initiated by Awakening Lanka endorsed by the Sri Lankan Government’s Ministry of Rehabilitation and Resettlement. The project strives to positively impact and uplift the people of Poonakary, who have been severely affected by the civil war and are still struggling to regain a sense of normalcy in their lives. From December 2016 onwards, a two-year fundraising drive will be initiated by Appé Lanka to support and sustain its work in the north of Sri Lanka.

Appé Lanka primarily strives to provide renewable electricity and social services to households in villages recovering from the civil war. Additionally,the project offers psycho-social support to the youth of the community, by counselling school children and encouraging them to embrace an attitude of perseverance and strength. A total of 20 counsellors have been trained and deployed in Poonakary, to address important issues that are related to reconciliation and healing, such as how to overcome the loss of family and friends, abuse, bullying, fear and peer pressure.

To date, Appé Lanka has completed a pilot project that has provided solar home systems to 28 homes in Poonakary, and a further 1000 homes have been identified for future development.In addition to providing power, the project also supports education initiatives in the village, and recentlyraised funds to donate 38 computers, to 23 village schools.

Commenting on the project, Shaan Corea – Founder, Appé Lanka said: “The village of Poonakary is located in the heart of the Kilinochchi District, which was ravaged by Sri Lanka’s civil war. Poonakaryis at present home to a total of 20,000 residents, who are struggling to rebuild their lives after the devastation and anguish that they were subject to when living in the midst of a combat zone. The people of Poonakaryare now faced with the new challenge of movingon with their lives and they need access to opportunities that will enable them to improve their quality of life. Through Appé Lanka and our diverse empowerment and development initiatives, we hope to foster healing in Poonakary and restore this village into a thriving hub for hope and reconciliation, so that its residents may once again arise and enjoy a new era of peace and prosperity.”

All fundraising initiatives in the future, will be facilitated to help Appé Lanka achieve its long-term project goals and vision. Going forward, Appé Lanka will be using all funds raised towork towards building an educational training and retirement centre, that will create sustainable economic development and employment opportunities for the people ofPoonakary.

Other plans in the pipeline to support the people of Poonakary include the introduction of livelihood development programmes, where tailor-made training programmes will be conducted by specialists to help community members tap into the economic and business opportunities available in each village. The youth in the village will also be trained on how to install and maintain solar power systems in the area, enabling them to be self-reliant whilst supporting the needs of their community. A BPO (business process outsourcing) training programme will also be implemented to give youth the chance to live and work within Poonakary itself. To increase English proficiency in the village, a large-scale English language training initiative featuring multiple learning tools and methods will be facilitated to ensure that all children, youth, business owners and interested members of the community are able to communicate confidently in English.

Appé Lanka, which operates under the banner of Awakening Lanka, was founded by Shaan Corea in 2015 and the project is further supported by its network of partners which includes Michael Ondaatje(Patron of the project), the Ministry of Prison Reforms, Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs, Sampath Bank, Murad Ismail, D.L & F. De Saram and Olivia BonnalSansoni. 

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