Feb 9, 2017

Remaining an ordinary life

Maintaining the water tanks
Maintaining the water tanks

The purpose of the activity to maintain the water tanks is to keep water, which the refugees drink, safe and clean.

Lorries carrying water run all around the refugee camps and fill the tanks with water every day. Owing to hot weather and dust in air, there is a possibility of spreading of bacteria everywhere in the tank and change in water quality, thereby causing bacterial outbreak or increase in deposit and algae.

In the past, JEN used to disinfected public water tanks of the 3rd, 4th, 5th section at least twice a year as a folk group supporting water–hygiene activity. Later on, as more and more people came to have their own tank, JEN also began to disinfect private water tanks. The total number of water tanks disinfected in these 3 sections has amounted to 1,000.

The maintenance team collects water tanks from people and disinfects them. At the first, tanks are washed with detergent and water, then disinfected with chlorine, and finally rinsed. JEN works carefully not to leave chlorine of more than 1.8ppm.

There used to be a problem with people not leaving their tanks to us, as worrying about the tanks not being returned to them or being exchanged to old ones.

In order to solve such problem, efforts were made to disseminate the right information to people as well as the merits and importance of tank disinfection.

Originally, as we had built up relationship of mutual trust between people of 3rd-5th section, we succeeded in persuading all of them. Also, this time operation, we could return water tanks to everyone at the end of working day as well.

At this time, JEN’s role is in charge of surveying the chlorine rate left in the tank after disinfection. We aim to obtain a numerical value as exactly as possible and let people know the water in the tank is safe to drink.
Moreover, all of the JEN staff has a strong motivation every time we obtain a good result.

We believe that monitoring an index and an evaluating result of work is indispensable in providing a supporting hand to the refugees properly.

***

Many people living in the camp have begun installing toilets for their dwellings. Some people install the toilets themselves, while others ask for help from other refugees who have the skills to complete the task.

As a result, only a few people are coming to use the public toilet facilities built by support groups several years ago. The toilets here are approaching the end of their duties.

Meanwhile, there are families who remain unable to have a household toilet due to a lack of skills and money.

Moreover, even if a household toilet has been installed, many of these facilities consist of just a hole in the floor, with no walls around it, no windows for a cross-breeze, no door locks, and so on, failing to meet the minimum requirements set by organizations involved in water, sanitation and hygiene programmes.

To help refugees live in dignity, JEN is rushing to carry out construction work to improve these household toilets.

A self made toilet before the construction
A self made toilet before the construction
Setting up a new washbasin
Setting up a new washbasin
Feb 2, 2017

Construction of a Community Centre with Ford

A group picture before work
A group picture before work

As a part of the community strength support, JEN is establishing community centres where groups within communities such as agricultural co-operative association or village development committee can conduct activities. Under the idea“buildings for the region should be built by themselves”, they don’t hire a building contractor and construction from the foundation to the roof is conducted by the regional village development committee.

On October 4, some employees of Ford Motor Company, one of the supporters of Thampakamam Community Centre construction, came from Colombo to Kilinochchi and helped with construction work under the programme of Global Month of Caring as a volunteer.

The work for the day was backfilling after completing the foundation of the building and carrying the sand and soil to the 24 square meters place endlessly.

Vannankerny North village of Thampakamam district, which is a community centre construction site, has no building facilities because the place was released from the army last year and started resettlement of returnees.

For the employees who spend most of their time in the room with air conditioner, it seemed they were very hard to work under the scorching sun.
Between the construction works, they visited the place where JEN constructs wells and spent some time with people in the community.

Houses made of block have been built in Thampakamam area by the recent government shelter support. However, there are still many houses made of tin roof or palm leaves and they shared 2 wells and 2 water tanks in 15 houses before JEN’s well construction for agriculture.

The employees of Ford Motor Company mentioned that Thampakamam area does not look like the same country, after they saw its situation when it was far behind the big city, Colombo.

Also, they were impressed by the people of Thampakamam area who are strong, despite the lack of resources and opportunities.

Through these opportunities, we will be grateful if JEN has a chance to spread the history, beauty and people with full of hospitality as well as the situation of the northern area on their behalf.

Ford and JEN staff were preparing the foundation
Ford and JEN staff were preparing the foundation
Lunch was made by the local people
Lunch was made by the local people
Backfilling was completed
Backfilling was completed
Jan 13, 2017

Agricultural Workshop in Mullaitivu

Instructors giving a lecture about organic farming
Instructors giving a lecture about organic farming

JEN held an agricultural workshop in Mullaitivu district, Sri Lanka.

As a part of our current agricultural livelihood recovery programme, JEN is enhancing people’s agricultural skills, so that people returning to the district are able to practice more productive farming. For this year we held an agricultural workshop for 38 households in Mullaitivu district with the support of the Department of Agriculture on 26 September.

During the workshop, attendees learnt about organic farming, apiculture, and mushroom production in seminars. They also went to a model farm run by the Department of Agriculture to receive instruction about making organic composts, how to make fertilizer out of plants grown in the northern region and how to make organic pesticides. Farming using pesticides is becoming increasingly popular in Sri Lanka but this is causing more people to develop and suffer from liver ailments due to their drinking water contaminated with pesticides. By learning about organic agriculture in this workshop, JEN thinks that we have instructed a more sustainable way to farm. Also the Department in the northern region of Sri Lanka is now focusing on the growing of mushrooms in addition to current crops such as eggplants, okuras, watermelons and peanuts. Mushrooms are a suitable commodity for the recovery of people’s livelihoods because they are sold at higher prices than other vegetables. However, growing mushrooms is a first for most farmers. So the programme under which the Department of Agriculture provides mushroom spores at cheaper prices and provides guidance to farmers on how to grow mushrooms was also introduced in this workshop.

In the demonstration on organic compost, the participants practiced making compost according to the instructor’s guidance. To do so, the participants first laid hay within an enclosed area and covered it with soil. Next, they watered the soil and laid withered banana leaves on the soil and then, again, covered this with hay. Then, they sprayed the pile with water mixed with cattle dung. There were some who hesitated in watering the pile when they smelt the cattle dung. Repeating this process several times over several weeks will produce ready to use compost.

The participants looked tired as they had practice outside on a hot day, but it seemed to be a productive workshop.

Unpopular the water with cattle dung for compost
Unpopular the water with cattle dung for compost
Make multiple layers of soil, hay, leaves and done
Make multiple layers of soil, hay, leaves and done
 
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