Tush and Gary were in Sri Lanka from 9th to 19th September on their second working visit to the country.
Their main objective was to finalize the plans for the hospital. After many meetings and Tush and Gary have been to Sri Lanka in February/March 2006 on their third working visit.
Although CHTAF was planning on commencing construction of the proposed Children's Hospital by end of December 2005 they were unable to raise the necessary funds. However, after much perseverence and hard work they reached their target of £100,000 in February 2006 - hooray!.
When they reached Sri lanka they faced more obstacles and challenges. Due to the delay in raising the necessary funds they had run out of the stipulated contract period and had to renegotiate with the contractors. More importantly, there were major objections raised by the doctors of the existing hospital who refused to vacate their accommodation that was on the site allocated to the Children's Hospital. After weeks of negotiations the government of Sri Lanka was compelled to allocate another site, just a short distance away from the original site, within the main hospital premises. This was done on 3rd March 2006 causing further delays and additional expenses to CHTAF. The plans have to be redrawn and all the preliminary work carried out at the previous site have to be duplicated. The Ministry of Health, Sri Lanka has apologised for the delays caused and have agreed in writing to expedite matters and clear the site by end of June 2006. CHTAF are disappointed at this setback but have vowed to carry on despite the obstacles and are aiming to commence construction in July 2006.
The delays were unexpected and due to circumstanced beyond the control of CHTAF and they wish to apologise to all their supporters and thank them for their patience..please keep your contributions rolling in and watch this space.
"It aint over yet"
CHTAF has raised £81,419.85 and their target is £100, 000.00 by December 2005.
Tush and Gary also held a press conference to inform the public of their progress.
“It was sad and shocking to see that people are still living in sheltered accommodation in sweltering heat and monsoon rains nearly one year after the disaster. It is truly tragic that the international aid that was pledged has not reached the needy,” explained Tush. “It was so disheartening that we couldn’t bring our selves to visit the heart of the affected areas this time. It is not enough to be tsunami tourists and come away saying how sad. Sri Lanka needs the aid delivered now not in another ten years. If not Sri Lanka and all other countries affected by the tsunami may well end up as the second Africa” Tush expressed passionately.
Detailed interview can be viewed on the following web sites:
The Sunday Island, Saturday September 17th, 2005 – Front page Headline www.island.lk
The Daily Mirror, Tuesday September 20, 2005 – W@W Magazine Feature
The Daily News, Thursday September 29th, 2005 – Front page www.dailynews.lk
Yes, we are a small organization but we have overcome several hurdles and are determined to make this truly historic and mammoth task a reality!