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The Buddhist Village Trust for Sri Lanka (BVTS) seeks aid for tsunami

R. Dissa, The Buddhist Channel, Dec 31, 2004

London, UK -- The Buddhist Village Trust for Sri Lanka (BVTS) has launched a fundraising campaign to raise money for the tsunami victims in Sri Lanka. Like the Sri Lankan High Commission in London, the London Buddhist Vihara and the Saddhatissa Memorial temple in Kingsbury UK, Sri Lankans in the UK, Tamils and Sinhalese are desperate to help in ameliorating the mushrooming cataclysm that has engulfed the island.

The BVTS is one of the very few registered UK charities providing
humanitarian relief to Sri Lanka, that can be defined as "Buddhist" lose
though that term is. It had already raised thousands of pounds to help
villages in the north and east of Sri Lanka caught in the long running civil war by the establishment of schools and educational programs - villages who were being actively solicited by Christian missionary NGOs among other forces. It was established in 1992 and is a UK registered charity No. 1101300.

Mrs I. Mediwake, chairman of the BVTS is concerned that the tsunami will offer opportunities for certain NGOs likely to engage even more actively in Christian missionary efforts while they offer humanitarian aid. It had been observed that World Vision had been especially active in promoting the conversion of thousands of people with the assistance of its funding from western governments including the UK via the medium of "humanitarian relief" and "child sponsorship".

In the present crisis aid is so desperately needed that such cultural
interference will be seen as of little importance. There are in any case
many NGOs with unimpeachable credentials at large like the Red Cross at work in Sri Lanka, but the presence of a few Christian faith based charities with mixed motives are evident.

In this context the BVTS, along with sister organisations on the ground
represents a local charity with roots in the UK, capable of channelling
funds in a way that harmonises with indigenous cultures, Buddhist and Hindu that prevails on the island. The BVTS is about to send around $10,000 to Sri Lanka by Monday 3rd December.

The BVTS aims to raise money in the short term to supply medicines and dry rations to those affected in the tsunami. In the medium term it intends to get UK based Sri Lankan families to sponsor the building of houses.

A press release by BVTS is reproduced asking for funds:

We are shocked and saddened by the devastation caused by the recent tsunami, which has completely wiped out hundreds of villages and their infrastructure in Sri Lanka.

BVTS is concentrating on two aspects of this tragedy, initially life-saving
requirements such as drinking water, dry rations, medication and clothing. Secondly, we need to look to the long term needs of these fishing and farming communities. The primary needs would be to rebuild their houses and provide resources to sustain their livelihood.

Currently money is being set aside to provide immediate needs of the initial stage. In the coming weeks we hope to visit the devastated areas to assess their housing needs. We hope to target one or two villages to rebuild their lost homes. Unlike in the West none of the villages have any type of insurance to fall back on. They are forced to depend on the good will of the charitable organisations. International aid will concentrate mainly on the initial stage.

We would appreciate any donations given towards these projects. All monies donated would be acknowledged and accounted for during different stages of the project. It would be extremely beneficial if this information could be passed on to other interested donors. Cheques or bankers drafts should be written in favour of BVTS.

Account no. 70474576
Bank Sort code: 20-73-53
Barclays Bank Pinner Branch
15-17 Bridge Street
Pinner Middlesex UK

Please could we kindly request that any money is transferred that we are informed by letter/email (nmediwake@aol.com), so that we could acknowledge it immediately. Thank you for your interest and concern

The BVTS committee

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