Hampton residents fund village for tsunami survivors
Three years after a tsunami killed thousands of Sri Lankans, a
village funded by Hampton residents was officially opened by the
country’s prime minister. Earlier this month, Prime Minister Ratnasiri
Wickramanayaka opened Hampton Village in Sri Lanka, a project made
possible by the work and donations of borough residents.
Boxing Day was the third anniversary of the Asian tsunami, which
punched holes in sturdy concrete buildings, carried away vehicles and
left at least 31,000 dead in Sri Lanka.
Hampton residents Upali Wickremasekera contacted friends, including
other Sri Lankans living in the Hampton area, and formulated a plan to
set up the Hampton Village in Sri Lanka charity and re-build the Galle
village he grew up in.
Those at the December 15 ceremony included representatives of the
England and Sri Lanka cricket teams - who played a Test match in Galle
last week - Dr Wickremasekera and Mr Wickramanayake.
Staff from Lensbury Conference Centre in Teddington donated their
2004 tips to the charity, a gesture that was matched by Lensbury Ltd,
resulting in a cheque for Sterling Pounds 5,000. One of the new homes in
the village was named Lensbury after the riverside centre.
Lesley White, Lensbury chief executive, attended the ceremony to meet
the family living in that home and present a cheque for Sterling Pounds
1,100 to provide full time education up to university level for a
village child. She said:
“We hope that providing a home has been the start of a long
relationship between Lensbury and the Village and we wish all the
residents a safe and happy future.” Every family in the new village,
recognised as a model for sustainable aid, was selected and has to
adhere to a code of conduct.
Lal Gunatunga, who lives in Hampton, said: “Thorough interviews were
conducted by prominent civic leaders and members of the Hampton Village
Board of Trustees.