AD2000 - a journal of religious opinionAD Books
Ask a Question
View Cart
Search AD2000: author: full text:  
AD2000 - a journal of religious opinion
Find a Book:

AD2000 Home
Article Index
About AD2000
Contact Us
Email Updates


Add Me
Remove Me

Subscriber Access:

Enter the Internet Access Key from your mailing label here for full access!

Salesians help rebuild post-tsunami Sri Lanka

Bookmark and Share

 Contents - Feb 2007AD2000 February 2007 - Buy a copy now
Editorial: The Church and globalisation - Peter Westmore
Education: Australia's Catholic school systems: the case for radical surgery - Michael Gilchrist
News: The Church Around the World
East Timor: priests threatened with execution - Peter Westmore
Fr John Speekman: Vatican orders reinstatement of wrongly removed Sale Diocese parish priest - Michael Gilchrist
Priesthood: Orthodox priests in a divided Church - Fr John Trigilio
The Church and the environment: address the moral pollution first - Wanda Skowronska
Salesians help rebuild post-tsunami Sri Lanka - Br Michael Lynch
Why we need holy days of obligation - Joanna Bogle
Music: Johann Sebastian Bach and the heavenly choir - Fr Finbarr Flanagan
Letters: Shared guilt - Errol Duke
Letters: Lost! - Moya and Leo Morrissey
Letters: Truth and love - Chris Hilder
Letters: Root Cause - Marie Kennedy
Letters: Safe-sex? - Jack Blair
Poetry: Gender-Bender Autos - Bruce Dawe
Letters: Limbo? - Lawrence R. Hurley
Letters: Manipulating language - Carol V. Phillips
Letters: Obedience - Matthew Buckley
Letters: Latin Mass - John Gariano
Letters: Religious materials - J.W. Smith
Letters: Catholic dolls - Anne Cramer
Books: TREASURE IN CLAY: The Autobiography of Fulton J. Sheen - Michael Gilchrist (reviewer)
Books: BEGINNING AT JERUSALEM: Five Reflections on the History of the Church - Sr Mariana Handley (reviewer)
Books: SPIRITUAL DIRECTION: Who Is It For and What Are Its Benefits? - Michael Gilchrist (reviewer)
Books: B.A. Santamaria's correspondence published by MUP
Books: New Titles from AD Books
Reflection: Why the Church must continue to uphold priestly celibacy - Fr Pat Stratford

I was in Sri Lanka from 3-8 November 2006 and warmly welcomed to the Salesian Provincial House in Negombo by Fr Anthony Pinto (Provincial) and Br Gabriel Garniga (Provincial Economer). Both were anxious for me to appreciate that while a major project at Ahungalla, near Elpitiya, in the south west of Sri Lanka, was proceeding slowly, it was central to the future development of Salesian work in Sri Lanka.

Since the December 2004 tsunami the Salesians in Sri Lanka have organised a large relief and rehabilitation program that has included:

* the construction of more than 700 new homes and apartments;

* the manufacture of 284 new boats for individual fishermen;

* 248 sets of fishing nets;

* 210 bicycles;

* 244 engines; and

* the repair of 32 boats and 99 engines.

Funds to support these projects have been collected worldwide (including from Australia) and have come to the Sri Lankan Salesians via Salesian headquarters in Rome.

The nature and scope of the Elpitiya project have evolved over time as different people and groups from the southwest of Sri Lanka provide input.

The initial concept was for an orphanage with school facilities; in the next stage of thinking the project was to be a Skills Training Centre with a hostel. Finally agreement was reached that the project would be a Skills Training Centre with a Boarding House/Hostel to cater for orphans/semi-orphans and students undertaking skills training.

Initially, the Skills Training Centre will have facilities to teach welding, machining, dye and mould making, the repair and servicing of inboard and outboard motors, and information technology. Meanwhile, the Freemasons of Australia and New Zealand have offered to help with this project.

On the afternoon of 3 November, Br Gabriel and I travelled to Elpitiya. Because of heavy traffic, the journey took more than five hours.

The two priests in the parish at Elpitiya, both Salesians, are Fathers Dixon Fernando and Vincent Kabilai. A dynamic duo, they will be in charge of the Skills Training Centre and Boarding House Hostel development at Ahungalla, three or four kilometres away.

Alongside the parish house is a boarding facility currently home to about 20 tsunami affected orphans/ semi-orphans.

The next day we visited the site of the project at Ahungalla. The four classrooms near the entrance to the property were occupied by children participating in tuition or coaching classes.

In Sri Lanka it seems that most parents feel compelled to send their children to private after-school coaching to be prepared for examinations. This can be a very expensive undertaking.

There were approximately 200 youngsters (Years 6-10) diligently working at their studies. I was told that with involvement on other days, the total number of participants at this centre exceeds 750. The tuition is provided free of charge to the students as the Salesians have received funds (from Italy) to pay the teachers - at least for the current year.

My overall impression is that after a number of setbacks the Elpitiya project is now back on track for completion in early May 2007.

Br Michael Lynch SDB is director of Salesian Missions (Australia).

Bookmark and Share

Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 20 No 1 (February 2007), p. 11

Page design and automation by
Umbria Associates Pty Ltd © 2001-2004