Trincomalee, on the East coast of the island, was under the control of the Tamil Tigers until 2009. As the largest port it was a key post. In 2017 CAL was alerted to a devastating situation in 'Trinco.'
Poverty is common throughout the province. But two small communities of Sinhalese people, who had been forgotten in the area, were brought to our attention.
These people barely had any clothes, no means of income and lived in desperate poverty. When CAL first visited we saw a baby with fever and flies around her face lying naked on a piece of plastic sheeting. The community had make tent homes without full roofs. They were living hand-to-mouth, a family's income averaging Rs 250 for a family – that’s about £1.25 a day. Some days there was nothing. The children were malnourished and adults skin and bone too.
CAL got to work doing what we do best. We established a centre and support, covering health, nutrition and education. We set up a make-shift building and used it to start a pre-school and run health clinics. Virtually no one in the community had ever had any medical checks. We worked with the local systems and people to ensure long term acceptance and sustainability.
We are now looking to buy land and build a proper centre. A centre for a pre-school and facilities for afterschool education - a place for the community. We have already seen the community transform. In particular the parents and children have hope for the next generation.