Sri Lanka has suffered from almost three decades of civil war caused by ethnic tensions. Out of a population of around 19.2 million, approximately 83,000 individuals in Sri Lanka were registered blind in 1984, scattered across its 9 provinces. Whereas the blind and the vision impaired among the major ethnic community in the Southern and Western provinces are served by the Sri Lanka Council for the Blind those in the minority dominated areas of North and East were almost completely neglected and allowed to fend for themselves.
The Jaffna Association for the Visually Handicapped People (JAVHP) was born out of such a necessity and was founded in 1976 by a group of dedicated visually handicapped pioneers.
The primary purpose of JAVHP is meeting the needs of the visually handicapped community in the Northern Province of Sri Lanka. (See map below) The Association strives to ensure equal opportunities for the visually handicapped so that their talents and potential can be harnessed and directed towards their rehabilitation, effective participation in society and national development.
A unique feature of the Association is that the entirety of its membership is visually handicapped, thus making it a self-help organisation. “Nothing about us without us” is a principle strongly advocated by its pioneers and adhered to with a great sense of pride.
At the time of inception JAVHP operated from a leased out property in Kaithady, away from the provincial Town of Jaffna. While it grew in stature and scope against all odds and expanded its activities, facilities were severely limited and the need to move closer to the Jaffna town had become a felt need. During a major military offensive to flush out the rebels from the Peninsula in 1995, Kaithady junction and its surroundings, because of its strategic importance for access to the peninsula was taken over by the Sri Lankan troops and they have not been able to return or make use of our premises. Its members had been displaced and it has taken time for them to get the JAVHP reorganised. They have been operating from rented out properties in Jaffna and the present one is the third since the reorganisation, resulting in costly disruption to their services.
As at present they have 188 active members who visit the centre on a regular basis and as many as 600, receiving relief assistance from within the peninsula. There is an even greater number in rebel held areas that are denied access to our services by the closure of the only land route by the government. When access to all the other 4 districts namely, Kilinochchi, Mullaitivu, Vavuniya and Mannar in the Northern Province is restored, the number of participating members is estimated to be more than treble the present figure.
Amongst the services provided at present are:
Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) is a widely accepted concept internationally. Promoting the values of CBR remains the basic objective of JAVHP
Encouragingly, NECORD (North East Community Restoration and Development) office in the Jaffna Secretariat as well as NGOs like the Hudec- Caritas (Jaffna) have given assurances to finance /or subsidize the cost of an Administrative block, provided JAVHP has a permanent site of their own.
A piece of land, ideally located and suited to meet their need of easier access to facilities such transport, shops, schools, hospitals and just big enough to accommodate and expand their projects is for sale close to their present rented out property.
The land is approximately 37.5 perches in extent, 75 by 234 ft long. It is offered on a charity basis for the JAVHP for the price, equivalent of £16,500.
Your support in enabling them to acquire this permanent centre for their work will make a life changing difference to the members of JAVHP and your donation, however small will greatly be appreciated.
Please make the cheques payable to “CTWA” and sent to: The Chairman, Coventry Tamil Welfare Association, 1 Jacklin Drive, Finham, Coventry CV3 6QG, West Midlands, United Kingdom.
EMAIL: email@example.com Registered as a Charity in England and Wales Registered Charity Number: 1106466