SUBA UDE provides physical, creative and emotional projects for displaced persons living in welfare camps in Sri Lanka. We focus on psychosocial needs beyond food, shelter and medicine.

Monday, March 28, 2005

The volleyball is broken, what do you do?

As I write this on yet another balmy, underwear-suction-cupped-to-my-ass evenings in Sri Lanka, assemblymen from Singer are constructing 12 sewing machines outside the office window.  We have organized sewing cooperatives in our camps and will be opening sewing centers in all of them this week.  Along with these brand spankin' new sewing machines, we will be giving out 48,000 meters of thread, 600 buttons and 45,000 ruppees worth of plastic chairs and work tables.

Our other big projects this week include the construction of playgrounds in 2 of our camps and the launch of our after-school activity program.  Wanna interviewed 18 candidates today for 6 activity-leadership positions.  "I never pictured myself being the person to ask someone 'The volleyball is broken, what do you do?" she said, "their answers ranged from 'I'm gonna pick that thing up and patch it myself' to 'we don't have one, but our carum balls table is broken, can you fix it?'."

These leaders are pivotal to the sustainability of our project.  We can't just drop off sports equipment and art supplies in the camps, we need to facilitate leadership and "build capacity."  Through a cash-4-work program, IOM will be paying 1 person in each camp to lead activities every day after school.

We invited 21 folks to our first teacher training workshop.  We gave an equal opportunity to attend the workshop to all persons interested in learning how to lead activities and empower youth.  Last week we brought men, women and youth from our camps to the IOM office, got them drunk on tea and biscuits (cookies) and sat them down for a marathon workshop.  The workshop was largely conducted by a local NGO, Rural Friends (a.k.a. Institute for Environmental Community Development). Another local NGO, Women in Need (WIN) opened for them. Women in Need is a Sri Lankan NGO that provides free counseling and legal advice to victims of violence.

From this group, we invited 7 folks to attend a second workshop later in the week led by World Vision.

In addition to our in-camp teachers, we are contracting with the Matara Cultural Center, to provide traditional art, music and dance classes in each of the camps for the next 3 months.

All in a days work for the suba-ud crew.



12 Comments:

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