Nippon Foundation visits war - torn Northern Province

In May 2010, Sevalanka hosted a delegation from the Nippon Foundation. The group included the Chairman of the foundation, Mr. Yohie Sasakawa, and a group of journalists representing various Japanese newspapers and media networks. The team visited the northern war-torn districts of the country to witness the progress of ongoing rehabilitation and resettlement efforts undertaken by the Sri Lankan government and other stakeholders.

The Nippon Foundation is one of Japan’s leading non-governmental organisations, funding projects in several developing countries, focusing on social welfare, public health and education, and is one of Sevalanka’s oldest partners.

Over the years the Nippon Foundation has been working with Sevalanka to provide emergency relief assistance to internally displaced people (IDPs) in the Eastern and Northern Provinces of the country.

Sevalanka and the communities they work with gave a warm welcome to the delegation on their visit to the north. There, Mr.Yohie Sasakawa and the media crew attended an inter-religious gathering organised by Sevalanka which included all four of Sri Lanka’s religions, Buddhists, Hindus, Christians and Muslims. Venerable Niyangoda Vijithasiri Anu Nayake Thero of the Malwatta Maha Vihara, Kandy was also among the religious leaders who attended the programme.

“We came to further strengthen ties between Sevalanka and the Nippon Foundation. We will explore further assistance to Sri Lanka within the context of reestablishment of peace after over 30 years of war had devastated the country” said Mr. Sasakawa while speaking to journalists, university students, government officials and non-government officials of the north.

The crew visited a number of villages in Jaffna including Punguduthivu and Point Pedro. Fishing communities from Jaffna met with Mr. Sasakawa and Mr. Murakami, the Nippon Foundation’s dry fish expert. The group also visited a camp where IDPs were waiting to be resettled. The visitors then attended an army briefing held at Security Forces Headquarters in Kilinochchi and Palali and discussed the status of the army’s post-war relief efforts.

On their way back they visited Sevalanka’s Islander Training Centre where, among other things, young people from many different ethnic backgrounds learn organic farming and leadership skills. The visitors met with presidential advisor Mr. Basil Rajapakse to discuss the on-going rehabilitation and resettlement process in the north and east as well as the government’s plans for the development of the region.

The delegates were pleased with the progress of the rehabilitation and recovery process made so far by the Sri Lankan Government, non government organisations and other stakeholders, and said that they want to strengthen ties between Sri Lanka and Japan in the future.