Xinxin's Blog

Emergencies in IDP Camps - II

Jul 10 – 24, 2009, TERM office, Colombo

Day after day I was planning to go to an IDP camp – my help is small but I know there are chances I can accumulate lots of help around the world. Settling the 800,000 IDPs or nearly 80,000 students is a long-term undertaking and, the major responsibility should lie in its government. But something need to be done by second and third sectors. Very disappointed, chances for a more open international aid atmosphere are closed up through strict permission.

I think, due to the previous exposure of IDP camps during war, the criticism on risking civilians’ lives for extinguishing LTTE, and the lack of transparency in the tsunami aid (not only in Sri Lanka) known by the world as international persons from media and NGOs ‘rushed in’, as well due to the actual chaos in humanity aid coordination in the tsunami, the government is now very cautious towards any foreigner who wish to visit post-war areas.

Gradually I knew how strict the permission is, or impossible. News is saying this. My colleagues say there are only 15 NGOs are permitted under rigid process, all are international NGOs. I met a lady from North Yorkshire volunteering for the Methodist Church and she had been waiting 7 weeks for it – no hope so far.

The organization I’m working for – Tsunami Education Rehabilitation Monitor (TERM) has contracted with the government to ‘monitor’ i.e. support, coordinate and supervise post-tsunami education rebuilding. Gaining the trust of Ministry of Education during 4 years’ work, it got permission to go into IDP camps intending to monitor post-war education rehabilitation. They obtained loads of information in needs assessments (what I am analyzing now), and the next step is to try to identify the needs and distribute aids accordingly.

Photo 2: My favourite part in TERM office: children's paintings, describing the tsunami moment. Moving pictures...

I wrote this to tell you that the education gap in war affected areas is huge. It deserves our continuous concern. Currently grassroots cannot access freely, yet time will come when we can reach out our hands to these children.

p.s. I was told to keep needs assessment figures confidential, so no concrete number is showed here.

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