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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2611

USAID-led Project Opens Playground in Habaraduwa Beach

USAID has now built 87 playgrounds to Help Children in Tsunami-Affected Regions

Colombo, 10 April , ( : The devastating tsunami that hit on December 26, 2004 caused considerable loss of life, injury and destruction of public and private property. Included in the damage was the loss of many protected and safe areas for children to play in, which has added an obstacle to their emotional and physical recovery.

The Playgrounds Project, which began in the summer of 2005, is a two-and-a-half-year joint initiative aiming to build 88 quality playgrounds for tsunami-affected children, thereby promoting their physical and emotional recovery and developmental growth.

The $2 million project was implemented by the Lanka Jathika Sarvodaya Shramadana Sangamaya, an indigenous non-governmental organization in Sri Lanka, with support from the Bush-Clinton Tsunami Fund, USAID and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, with input from the U.S. National Parks and Recreation Association. Now, 87 parks later, the project is in its final stage.

“USAID has been a generous contributor for the development of the Habaraduwa area through projects such as the beach and children’s park,” said Mr. Bandupala Abeykoon, Chairman of the Habaraduwa Pradesiya Sabha. U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka Robert Blake, also on hand for the opening ceremony, spoke to the mixed crowd comprised of proud local officials and community leaders, as well as eager preschoolers. During his remarks, he noted, "the main objective of this project is to help the children of this country rediscover their smiles and regain the power of hope. Sri Lankans, like Americans, share a common belief that our children are the future. So it is always our goal, as parents and community leaders, to make sure they grow up in a healthy and safe environment that nurtures self-discovery and development."

Thus far, the Playgrounds Project has built high quality playgrounds in Gampaha, Colombo, Kalutara, Galle, Matara, Hambantota, Batticaloa, Trincomalee, and Ampara. The 88th and final playground will soon be completed in Jaffna District.

- Asian Tribune -

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