Netherlands aids NE resettlement, educational development

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 23 April 2003, 00:05 GMT]
The Ambassador for Netherlands in Sri Lanka, Ms. Susan Blankhart, Tuesday inaugurated the scheme for granting livelihood assistance for resettled families in the eight districts of the North-East province and the donation of school furniture to improve education in the province at a function held at the Trincomalee Town Hall, sources said.

Netherland Ambassador
Ms Susan Blankhart hands over cheque to the woman head of a resettled family
Both schemes are implemented through the North East Community Restoration Development Project (NECORD) programme.

The government of Netherlands has donated 2.7 million Euros to assist resettled families and to improve the education of North-East students. Of this amount, 170 million rupees will be utilized for the payment of livelihood assistance to resettled families in the eight districts of the North-East province and 67 million rupees will be spent on supplying furniture to schools in the province, said the NECORD Project Director, Mr.T.Lankaneson.

“The contribution by the Netherlands will go a long way in helping the affected community. This will contribute to alleviating human suffering, supporting a sustainable economic and social system and promoting a durable and just peace,” said Mr.Lankaneson.

Under the livelihood assistance, each family resettled after 22nd February 2002, the date of signing of the Memorandum of Understanding by the Government of Sri Lanka and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, is eligible to receive Rs 25,000, according to Mr.Lankaneson.

Netherland Ambassador
Ms Susan Blankhart hands over a chair to a student under the furniture donation scheme
Mr. Lankaneson said that about 67, 400 students and 3,600 teachers would benefit with the donation of furniture to schools in the war-torn province. “Giving school furniture will help the students who currently sit on the floor and are in an environment uncongenial for teaching and learning. The students will also feel that they are also benefiting from the peace efforts and will develop anti-war feeling, which is vital for a peaceful development in the future,” he said.

Ambassador Blankhart said, "Although small compared to the enormous needs of Sri Lanka at the moment, the assistance will contribute to the return of normalcy, whereby people can start to live their normal lives and send their children to school. I wish to emphasize that the ultimate goal of all our efforts is the harmonious, dignified and peaceful co-existence of all Sri Lankans."

She further said: "The current situation also presents us with an opportunity to address some of the issues that created the terrible war. Tolerance, acceptance and respect for other cultures. Normans and beliefs do come to mind in this respect. Let us try to ensure that in reconstructed schools, students who sit on new furniture learn history lessons that highlight the various sides and historic perspectives of comprehensive Sri Lankan history, and debate these in order to create understanding for other positions, thereby creating patriotic and responsible Sri Lankans with different identities, rather than Muslims, Tamils or Sinhalese, who happen to live within one country. This is where reconciliation begins.

Netherland Ambassador
(L-R ) NECORD Project Director T.Lankaneson, First Secretary of the Netherlands Embassy Mr.Jan Kueskan, NEPC Chief Secretary Mr.S.Rangarajah and Trincomalee GA Mr.Nelumdeniya

"Furthermore, let us not forget that government, the LTTE and donors hold funds in trust for the development of the population of Sri Lanka. This implies that the communities should be involved in the planning and implementation of development projects of which many have been identified during the need assessment. My government in all its development co-operation efforts will endeavor to further support the concepts of respect, dignity, reconciliation, sharing of resources, accountability and transparency, which are all fundamental for the equitable and peaceful co-existence for all Sri Lankans, " said the Ambassador.

Trincomalee Divisional Secretary, Mr. Sundaram Arumainayagam, North-East Provincial Council’s Chief Secretary, Mr.S.Rangarajah, Trincomalee District Government Agent, Mr.N.P.K. Nelumdeniya, also spoke. NECORD District Deputy Director, Mr.R. Umakanthan, proposed the vote of thanks.

Ambassador Ms Susan Blankhart handed over cheques to selected resettled families and furniture to schools in the Trincomalee town and gravets secretariat division.

The First Secretary of the Netherlands Embassy in Colombo, Mr.Jan Kueskan, also attended the event.

Netherland Ambassador
A section of people at the Trincomalee Town Hall function


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