The result of this inefficiency in getting funds to victims in a disaster relief situation, such as in Sri Lanks post-tsunamis, is that when one visits Galle, you might have the impression that the tsunami hit last week. Yes- some rebuilding work and cleaning up has been done. But a lot hasn’t. Thousands of families still live in “temporary housing” on the roadsides (UN tents) and thousands remain displaced altogether. The new government remains as corrupt and as inefficient as the last. Plus there is essentially a full-scale civil war going on now with the Tamil rebels in the North. Such is the paranoia of this present administration, they have even banned the good old Beeb from the TV!
We’d like to say that we are involved in all this business out of the goodness of our hearts. But the truth is we were inextricably tied into the situation out of fate. One month prior to the tsunami hitting SE Asia, we had bought a property in the Fort, in Galle. Great timing, eh? A beautiful place– really. Galle Fort is the best preserved Fort in Asia, having been built by the Dutch in the mid 1600s. You can see pictures of our property-: here.
So as “part of the comunity”, one was beholden to do “something“. We chose a charity, the Talpe Foundation, run by a local lawyer that we had come to trust in Galle, Bindu Wickramasekara. What we liked about the concept behind the charity, apart from it avoiding the above three “usual” charitable pitfalls (admin costs, govt corruption and loss of interest)- was that, having bought the land for the victims, members of the family would actually help in the construction of the house that they would be living in, and owning. That just felt right to us- on a number of levels.