Great-Hearted Help from Adoptie Sri Lanka Belgium for Needy People of Sri Lanka
Susith Sarana Foundation (SSF), of which I have the honour to be the Secretary and Administrator, is a Social Welfare Association working as a non-governmental volunteer organization. It generates some Programs with aim to give maximum benefit to POOREST of the POOR living within the Postal Area of Pamunugama, which includes 16 villages with 1800 families representing a population of 5800 at the end of 2007. Nearly 1200 families out of 1800 are struggling to look after their children, aged and sick members. As SSF wanted to help their families without considering their race, cast, religion of political alliance I wrote for help to Mr. Gaston DILLEN, president of Adoptie Sri Lanka Belgium vzw, whom I had known for many years and presented to him a few social assistance programs. As a result Adoptie Sri Lanka sponsored several of our social assistance plans
Among other things :
- Susith Sarana Educational Assistance Program: Under this program assistance is given to needy students who belong to the families living within the boundaries of the Foundation, twice a year, i.e. in January and July to provide the school stationary and utensils to four categories as beginners, primary, junior and secondary level in grade 1 to 11.The usual way of distribution of assistance is the gift voucher system. At the moment almost 700 children benefit annually and so far over 3000 students obtained this assistance
- Susith Sarana Foster Parents Program: This is a program to assist needy children for a period of five years. So far 236 children have been adopted thanks to Adoptie Sri Lanka vzw.Susith Sarana Help Aid Plan: This is a plan to assist on necessary social, nutritious, welfare requirement, mainly for sick, disabled, elderly and economically set back individuals among the needy.
In July 2004 managing director John VAN DIJCK and his loving wife Line who personally sponsored a three-storied building with a preschool for 80 children and a children’s park came to Pamunugana for the official opening. After hoisting the national flags of Sri Lanka, Belgium, Flanders and Susith Sarana Foundation the building was officially and ceremonially inaugurated, cutting the ceremonial ribbon and unveiling the commerative plaque.
This was done in presence of Mr. Gaston DILLEN, president of Adoptie Sri Lanka vzw, a group of fellow-travellers and a large crowd.
In his speech Mr. John Van Dijck mentioned that during their journey in Sri Lanka they were in a position to meet one of the world’s friendliest peoples, its history, its culture, its religions and traditions, its joys and aspirations. By sponsoring this project both he and his wife Line wanted to prove that when we join hands we can achieve something.
In giving a helping hand to Mr. Nanayakkara he wanted to uplift the living conditions of the villagers of Pamunugama and particularly to assist less fortunate village children in their primary and secondary education and to become educated citizens capable of making their way in life.
Finally he added “Mr. NANAYAKKARA, we appreciate your work enormously and promise to continue assistance in the future”.
Since then our sponsors from Belgium donated also a communication centre, a waiting and reading room, a library with Sinhala and English books, a computer training centre, educational equipment and several other projects.
On the evening of Sunday 26th December 2004, day of the Tsunami that struck Sri Lanka, Mr. John telephoned and inquired with deep concern, whether there was any damage to Pamunugama or its people. I informed him that with God’s blessings, nothing happened to Pamunugama area. Later Susith Sarana Foundation intervened to distribute the donations of members of Adoptie Sri Lanka to help Tsunami victims. Particularly we built two houses in Galle and Negombo. Sponsorships were given for 40 Tsunami affected children in Payagala and Negombo area under the Susith Sarana Foster Parents Program. SSF knew that Adoptie Sir Lanka vzw built 35 houses for Tsunami effected families in Southern Province, in co-operation with the newly founded Sri Lanka-Belgium Association, of which Mr. Gaston DILLEN and Mr. John VAN DIJCK are patrons.
In December 2005 Adoptie Sri Lanka received a donation of more than 700 toys from the children of the staff of IBM Belgium. Part of it was distributed among the children of Pamunugama.
Some other members of Adoptie Sri Lanka vzw are providing funds for particular programs of SSF such as clothes for poor elders, assistance for vision disabled persons. Over seventy-five poor cataract patients who could not undergo surgery due to lack of funds are now seeing the world better again. This program was funded by Belgian citizens persuaded by Mr. Jos COVENTS of Antwerp who is a regular visitor to Pamunugama. Their contributions were over 0.3 million Rupees. Over five hundred people received the spectacles collected by Mr. Gaston DILLEN.
Adoptie Sri Lanka vzw has contributed over 30million Rupees so far for the needs of most poor citizens. It is a pleasure to note that three fifth of this amount is a personal contribution of Mr. John VAN DIJCK and Mrs. Line VAN DIJCK.
Susith Sarana Foundation does not hesitate to appreciate the services rendered by Adoptie Sri Lanka vzw for the benefit and development of Sri Lanka and offers its sincere thanks for Adoptie Sri Lanka vzw and its President Mr. Gaston DILLEN, Managing Director Mr. John VAN DIJCK and his loving wife Mrs. Line VAN DIJCK and other Directors and members and all kind-hearted citizens of Belgium.
This article was written by
Mr. J.D. Cyril J.S. Nanayakkara
Justice of Peace for All Island &
Notary Public for Negombo Zone,
Retired Sri Lanka Administrative Service Officer,
Past President Rotary Club of Pamunugama District 3220,
Administrator & Secretary Susith Sarana Foundation,
John VAN DIJCK’s Building, Pamunugama 11370, SRI LANKA
The author of this article, Mr. Cyril Nanayakkara, passed away on 11th January 2010.
Our association, Adoptie Sri Lanka vzw, will miss him enormously !