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28 Jan
  • By oferr
  • Cause in Sri Lanka

The floods of December 2015 have come and gone, but the damage still remains

I remember Dec 2nd 2015 vividly. I remember sitting at home and looking at the startling images of our beloved city of Chennai overrun by floods. I remember the heartening way in which all of us came together and fought to save our city. Hundreds of people opened their homes to those rendered homeless. Thousands cooked meals or donated supplies. Lorry loads more came from all over India. OfERR started our relief efforts by opening our relief center in Don Bosco School in Egmore. Soon we had over 200 volunteers comprising policemen, professionals, students and even Sri Lankan Tamil Refugees. We began dispensing crores of aid to over 140 locations. Simultaneously, Annamalai University in Chidabaram and Presidency College in Chennai also gave us support as we needed more drop off points and more assistance in storing, loading and unloading lorries as we were extending our relief supply services to Cuddalore and Chidambaram where aid was less and damage was catastrophic.

Then one day, the sun came out, the floods dried up and people resumed work. Those who had the means were able to handle the damage by repairing or buying anew. Unfortunately that was not the case for those underprivileged families in Cuddalore and Chidambaram who lived in tiny thatched huts in distant forgotten villages almost impossible to reach. The children could not go to school, the day wage labourers had no employment and the families that lived a hand to mouth existence did not have a penny to repair or buy anew. OfERR began its rehabilitation efforts to address this issue and launched “Makkalukkaga naam” – a one year rehabilitation effort funded by the Nadigar Sangam Charitable Trust, to uplift these families and empower them.

It has almost been a year since we started out to do this. We have with the valuable contributions of Nadigar Sangam Charitable Trust, Mr. Brahmal Vasudevan and Mrs. Shanthi Kandiah, Mr. J.P. Mehta and Ms.Taara Kurian
  • Launch 27 after school tuition centers which has lessened the dropout rates and motivated the students
  • Employ 32 local village graduates as teachers trainers and health workers
  • Conduct livelihood training in handicrafts, imitation jewelry making, tailoring etc towards our goal of poverty alleviation
  • Distribute 25,000 free school notebooks to replace those that the children lost in the floods
  • Distribute 10,000 free school shoes
  • Conduct leadership training and capacity building workshops
  • Conduct training and set up children’s parliaments in very village, an effort for students to become socially conscious and become leaders, representing the village needs to relevant government authorities etc.
  • Conduct health awareness campaigns and cleanliness campaigns monthly in 27 villages

Currently OfERR is working on disaster preparedness and prevention while at the same time gearing up to provide relief supplies and emergency aid. The Government has recognised OfERR’s work and has requested us to work alongside them in the coming disaster as there has been a warning that 6 cyclones may hit the areas we are working in.
We would like to thank the thousands who joined hands with us last year during the floods and supported our work. We take this opportunity to request you to join us once again in to help those in need.
If you would like to donate please hit the donate button. If you would like to volunteer please email us at volunteer@oferr.org. If you would like to help, please share this message on social media. Together we can weather any storm!

Poongkothai Chandrahasan

Director – New programs
OfERR