USAID funded Children's Park opens in Trincomalee

[TamilNet, Friday, 24 March 2006, 11:24 GMT]
The third of 85 planned children parks and the first in Trincomalee district built with assistance from U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) was opened by USAID Director Dr. Carol Becker Thursday, a press release from US Embassy in Colombo said.

Full text of the press release follows:

Children' park funded by USAID
These two happy young residents of Trincomalee are among thousands of children in the region who will benefit from the new play park. Photo: USAID/Claire McConnachie
TRINCOMALEE, March 24, 2006-The people of the United States have given the children of Trincomalee a safe new place to play and help put the trauma of the tsunami behind them with today's dedication of a new a children's play park.

The Children's Park at Kulakkotan is the third of 85 play parks planned for 12 tsunami-affected districts under a partnership developed by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). It is the first park completed in the East.

"The ability to play has a significant positive impact on a children's recovery from a traumatic event like the tsunami," said USAID Director Dr. Carol Becker at the dedication. "Our hope is that parks like this will help bring families together so the memory of the tsunami can fade to be replaced by happy, positive thoughts."

The $2 million project is funded by USAID, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, and the Bush-Clinton Tsunami Relief Fund. It is being implemented by Sarvodaya, the largest national nongovernmental organization in Sri Lanka.

"These children's parks are a great example of a public-private partnership to improve the daily lives of the many Sri Lankan children affected by the tsunami," Dr. Becker said.

Trincomalee Urban Council Special Commissioner S. Arumainayaham also spoke at the dedication, as did V. Jeevaraj, Sarvodaya district coordinator for Trincomalee. The real VVIPs were hundreds of local children who raced for the equipment as soon as the ribbon was cut. Queues at the slides could not be avoided.

The Kulakkotan Park is classified as a "large" park by project standards. Upkeep of the grounds and maintenance of the equipment will be the responsibility of the Trincomalee Urban Council, with technical assistance provided by Sarvodaya.

Since the tsunami, Sarvodaya has worked closely with the Ministry of Local Governments, local municipalities and members of tsunami-affected communities to identify potential sites along the affected coastline for the parks and secure commitments from local governments to oversee the facilities.

Equipment for the play parks is imported, and complies with international standards for safety and durability. The parks will all be designed to be family-friendly, and encourage multi-ethnic participation and community access, including access for the disabled.

The next park, in Kalutura, is scheduled to open next week.

 

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