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11 May 2009

Little Smiles Project (Project Reports: May 2009)

11 May 2009

Little Smiles PackI think you know a little about the situation in the north these days. Several hundred thousand ethnic Tamil civilians are currently trapped in the fighting between the Sri Lankan armed forces and the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in the LTTE's northern stronghold, known as the Vanni. The fighting has left many homeless, hungry, and sick, and placed their lives increasingly in danger.

The government forces are detaining virtually all civilians fleeing from LTTE-controlled areas in military-guarded camps. Currently there are over 170,000 people living in the camps. Due to restrictions placed on humanitarian agencies, these camps have inadequate food, shelter, water, sanitation, and health care resources.

We would like to help children who are now in refugee camps. We are putting together individual kits, “called Little Smile Packs,” for as many of these children as we can. One kit costs about $5 and includes a carrying bag, drinking cup, comb and mirror, soap and soap container, towel, toothbrush, toothpaste, crayons and drawing book, picture book, balloons and Pebbles chocolates. We hope these little gifts will make the children feel happy even in these crowded camps. SVS is doing what we can to bring a smile to the children caught in this mess and to help increase their hopes for a happier future.

There are now four camps: Vavuniya, Jaffna, Trincomalee and Mannar. In Vavuniya, the Ministry of Child Development and Women Empowerment has started preschools. We are targeting the children who are in that area and will distribute the “Little Smiles Packs” there. We hope to send 2,000 packs. Please help us reach our goal.

Thank you.

Shigeko Baba

Send a check made out to Surangani Voluntary Services Sri Lanka office.