Helping out

Computer donation

Mathan is a rehabilitated ex cadre who participated in our IT Platform’s 4 month full-time Information & Communications technology (ICT) training to 26 young people affected by war. During one of the sessions, Mathan was touched by the care, attention and benefit he was receiving from the training and stated, “Once more I am starting to breathe.” Recently Mathan has secured a job in an insurance company but needed a computer to undertake his work. Steve Dunn from Melbourne kindly purchased a laptop and presented it to Mathan while in Mannar.

Helping out

English language support

We first met Roy on the eve of his departure from Mannar. Unfortunately his boat sank off the coast of Indonesia on route to Australia. Over a hundred drowned. In defiance of the odds he managed to swim to shore and languished many months in Indonesia before returning to Sri Lanka. Roy desperately wants to better his life so is studying towards the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) exam. Bridging Lanka is assisting him with the cost of English preparation workshops and IELTS exam fees.

Fishing Fishing

Asylum seeker support

An intensive pamphlet and media campaign by the Australian Government was waged in fishing villages across Sri Lanka, warning potential asylum seekers not to come by boat. The recent strong deterrents have reduced maritime arrivals to Australia, discouraging “economic refugees”. However the real losers are the genuine asylum seekers who are now stuck in places like Indonesia, not being able to move forward or backwards.

The ‘middle men’ have abandoned them; they have no money for food or accommodation; they don’t speak the language; they’re not entitled to work; and they need to dodge police to avoid arrest and detention. Registration with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) takes between three to five years so until then, there is no financial relief available to them.

Bridging Lanka has been supporting small groups of young asylum seekers from Mannar during this difficult period. We support them not out of any political affiliations but because they are fellow human beings in distress.

Film maker

Video camera for film maker

Bridging Lanka (BL) sponsored Nishanthan so he could buy a professional quality video camera in order to make films about pressing social issues. Nishanthan is the Director of Nitharshan Movies and recent winner of multiple awards for his latest short film. He uses film to raise awareness on contemporary issues like alcoholism, teenage pregnancies, domestic violence and child abuse to influence attitudes and change behaviours in the hope of creating a better Mannar society.

Urgent heart surgery

Urgent heart surgery

A Taiwanese couple contributed AU$1,000 towards an urgent appeal for surgery for Mr David Arulappu, a deep sea diver and father of three school-going children living in Mannar. An ECG confirmed serious heart problems and an angiogram revealed two blocked arteries. David is unable to work, he and his family have been surviving on the donations of church members. Many have donated towards his operation but local sources of funds are now exhausted, hence the appeal.

Generator donated by Prof Michael Roberts

Helping out

Temporary shelters in Mullikulam

Helping out

Mullikulam Aid

The people of Mullikulam village were displaced and are now returning to their original area.

The villagers still find themselves in poor and dire circumstances in makeshift dwellings without basic amenities.

Mannar Chamber of Commerce President asked Bridging Lanka for assistance. Our staff spoke to numerous villagers, assessed the level of need and supplied water tanks, first aid kits and a generator (Prof Michael Roberts kindly donated the generator).

Helping out Helping out

Troubled encounters

In 2002 a healthy 18 year old young person, fell from a tree. A serious spinal cord injury (t11 fracture) left him with no feeling below his chest. As a paraplegic, ulcerated sores first appeared on his buttocks seven years ago.

Plastic surgery costing $8,000 fixed the sores but others have since developed. His sister undertook to pay the medical expenses but as this task grew more impossible, committed suicide. His mother, the primary carer, also attempted suicide, not being able to cope.

The present sore has been there for many years and if left unattended, threatens his life. This young man cultivates a positive approach to life and is a prolific, gifted poet.

Bridging Lanka provided him with some funds towards medical expenses and also a laptop kindly donated by Adib Behzadpour from Brisbane to desktop publish his poetry and connect virtually with other disabled young people.