Orphans of the Tsunami have Grown Up

Author: Főadmin Date: 2013. február 04., hétfő 11:24

László Kövér, the Speaker of the Hungarian Parliament, is the first political dignitary who visited Sri Lanka. He was accompanied by his wife, and Sándor Szenczy, the President of Hungarian Baptist Aid (HBAid), and Béla Szilágyi, the Director-General of HBAid. Sri Lanka was struck by the earthquake and tsunami  which killed 30,000 people in 2004. Since then the civil war ended and the country is developing now.

On the official visit, László Kövér went to the largest orphanage of the island. The Speaker of Hungarian Parliament and his wife gave school bags packed with school supplies and different gifts to the 150 children of the orphanage. Vajira Sri Children’s Development Center was originally established in 1983 when the civil war broke out so the children who became orphans from the war would have a home regardless of their nationality and religion.  The institution then accepted many orphans after the earthquake and tsunami in South-Eastern-Asia in 2004.

From Hungarian donations and from the support of its child sponsorhip program (Fogadj örökbe!), HBAid worked on the new three-story, 1200-square-meter building which was inaugurated exactly one year after the tsunami. There are 300 children living in Vajira Sri Children’s Development Center, and 100 of them live in the building called „Hungarian House”.

“The children are obviously healthy, are joyful, and they warmly welcomed us.” – said Csaba Lukács journalist and volunteer of HBAid from the site last Friday .

From being the orphans of the tsunami in 2004, many have already grown up. Those who were ten years old at the time of the tragedy are now adults, have professions, and started their independent lives. We got to visit HELP Village as well, where there are less orphans now, and so the building complex operates as a community service center. In the beginning, five couples of parents were carefully chosen and two couples of grandparents, to live with their children and grandchildren in the seven houses of the village. Since the foundation of the institution in 2006, some children have started university, some got married, and two grandparents have passed away. We were thinking of those children with compassion, who lost their parents as the consequence of the tsunami’s destruction. The village provides protection for those parents who lost their children.

HELP Village’s operation is entirely financed by HBAid that was founded in Velence, Hungary. We asked Csaba Lukács about how the political situation was there.

“Ever since the civil war ended, a sudden development started in the country. The GDP grew 8-9 percent last year and the year before. The military presence ceased on the squares, the checkpoints were all liquidated in Colombo and people can travel freely on the main roads. László Kövér met with the President of the coutnry, with the Speaker of the Parliament, and different ministers of Sri Lanka.” – added Csaba Lukács.

On December 16th, 2004, when the most devastating tsunami of that region swept across the cove of Indian Ocean, taking away 30,000 lives, a worldwide action was started to help the victims. The Hungarian help was a definite success, as the new building of the orphanage was constructed, and the HELP Village is still operating. But the truth is that next to the successes there were failures as well. In Hambantota Sri Lanka, a village was set up with funds contributed by many Hungarian local governments, and organizations. But sadly, the village wasn’t finished well and it was bulldozed in the end. There were many cases like that with different donations, that is why the co-workers of HBAid, led by Sándor Szenczy, President, and Béla Szilágyi Director-General, were proud that they didn’t just provide immediate aid, but got to establish two institutions that are durable and work properly even today. These institutions are appreciated by the nation and government of the island as well.

It’s been 10 years since the tsunami and some of the orphans of that day are grown up now. Thank you for your support.


Author: Tamás Tihanyi
Source: Fejér Megye Newspaper
Translation: HBAid


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