There are a lot of Sri Lankans suffering in the North. As I noted in the last Leader column, there are something like 500,000 displaced over the course of this war which is about equal to the 500,000 displaced by the tsunami. In the most recent fighting there is especially acute suffering. I do believe we need to mount a commensurate response. There are a lot of moves afoot to do stuff locally, but if you want to donate immediately Sarvodaya has an online payment gateway (via Sampath Bank) where you can direct your money to humanitarian relief operations in the North and East.
This humanitarian crisis is much more difficult in that it’s a war and access is very limited. The people I know operating are the Red Cross and Sarvodaya. The Red Cross lists an account to donate to on their website. Sarvodaya has an online Payment Gateway (via Sampath Bank) which I helped get online during the tsunami. Understand that the site is mad goday and final payment goes thru the Sampath site, which is also mad goday.
The Lanka Jatika Sarvodaya Shramadana Sangamaya (Sarvodaya) is Sri Lanka’s largest and most broadly embedded people’s organisation, with a network covering: 15,000 villages, 345 divisional units, 34 district offices; 10 specialist Development Education Institutes; over 100,000 youth mobilised for peace building under Shantisena; the country’s largest micro-credit organization with a cumulative loan portfolio of over US$1million (through SEEDS, Sarvodaya Economic Enterprise Development Services); a major welfare service organisation serving over 1,000 orphaned and destitute children, underage mothers and elders (Sarvodaya Suwa Setha); and 4,335 pre-schools serving over 98,000 children.
Sarvodaya’s total budget exceeds USD 5 million with 1,500 full-time employees. When combined with numerous volunteer workers, this yields a full time equivalent of approximately 200,000, which places Sarvodaya on a par with the entire plantation sector in Sri Lanka.
Sarvodaya is an organisation developed around a set of coherent philosophical tenets drawn from Buddhism and Gandhian thought; it has been operational for almost 50 years. It has been described as an international role model by international bodies. Its founder and charismatic leader, Dr A.T. Ariyaratne, whose visionary contributions have been recognised in multiple countries, continues to provide ideological and inspirational leadership to the organisation while the day-to-day operations are in the hands of a new generation, receptive to modern forms of management that are compatible with the overall vision of this volunteer-based peoples’ organisation.(from their About page)
I’ve seen the accounts of what they’re doing up-north and have worked with and trust the organization to disburse the funds in a responsible and effective manner. They are also a local organization with much less overhead than the international ones. And they have an online payment gateway which can accept credit card donations right now. The thing seems to pop up a security certificate warning, just add an exception and go through it.
There are a lot of people organizing locally, sourcing goods, etc. This is great and we should all continue working together on these things. However, if you’re abroad or just want to do something absolutely right now I recommend browsing the Sarvodaya site, learning about them (if you don’t already know) and making a donation. They did amazing work during the tsunami and we are facing similar trauma from our war. We should be just as conscious, just as aware, and active.
I just donated $100 USD, so about Rs. 10k-ish. This is something you can do right now.