Generous Spittal residents fund new well in Sri Lanka

The Sri Lanka well funded by the Spittal community

The Sri Lanka well funded by the Spittal community

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A tsunami-hit community in Sri Lanka can now enjoy fresh water thanks to the generosity of Spittal residents who have funded a new well.

Previously, villagers in Thelulla Janapodaya in the Wellawaya district had to set off at 5am on a walk of two miles to obtain water for drinking and washing.

But they now have a newly constructed well paid for by the Spittal community which raised £2,700 through donations and fundraising events.

It has been coordinated by Project Sri Lanka, a charity set up in the wake of the tsunami disaster which devastated southern swathes of the island on Boxing Day, 2004.

Trustee Scott Weightman, who lives in Spittal, said: “I would like to thank the residents of Spittal for their fantastic support for the well project, the fifth organised by Project Sri Lanka.”

He helped raise some of the money with a a six-hour long organathon and coffee morning in St Paul’s Church last May.

Scott visited the well in November when it was still only partially completed but the work got finished earlier this month. He plans another visit later this year to see it in action.

The well cost £2,300. The remaining £400 will be used to purchase equipment for a ‘tsunami’ school in Ahangama.

Thellula has a population of 3054 people in 452 families, so large numbers are benefiting from the new well which has a diameter of 15 feet.

One of the village ladies, called Ranmanike, generously donated some land for the well which benefits the whole community.

Thelulla lies close to two other villages where Project Sri Lanka has provided wells, namely Koonawalana and Handapanagoda. Like these, Thelulla Janapodaya suffers severe periods of drought and had no water locally available. The new well will also be used to irrigate crops.

Project Sri Lanka was started by Chatton resident Professor Joy Palmer-Cooper through her links with Durham University.

Together with a grant from the British and Foreign School Society, it has paid for the construction of ten multi-purpose community buildings which also serve as pre-schools.

An eleventh school has been provided in the village of Mapalagama. This has been funded in association with Rotarians in the north east.

Project Sri Lanka now supports the long term sustainability of educational and community development activities in all of these locations whilst also engaging in further endeavours including teaching, and facilitating workshops in schools, colleges and universities.

Scott, a former Berwick High School teacher, went to the Sabaragamuwa University of Sri Lanka on his latest trip where he taught communication skills to both academic and non-academic staff as well as students.

Topics included writing and delivering a speech, formal letters, figures of speech, e-mails, sentence patterns, and improving spoken English. All participants engaged in presentations, debates and conversation classes.

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