CTHA: Empowering Tamil Lives & Empowering Communities

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The Canadian Tamils’ Humanitarian Association (CTHA) is a registered non-profit organization in Ontario that supports families and organizations in the Eastern and Northern provinces of Sri Lanka who have yet to experience economic and social development after the official end of the country’s 30-year civil war. Our objective is to help empower marginalized women, children, and remote communities with opportunities to thrive and self-sustain. We do this by providing local organizations with the means to support social initiatives; offering income-generation support and training for ambitious women; and facilitating community capacity building projects through education, training, basic facilities, and infrastructure. We focus primarily on early childhood education, advocating on behalf of able bodied persons to explore their full potential, and enhancing the economic and social well-being of women.

 

In 2016, CTHA began its most ambitious project to date: Adopt-a-Village.  This project’s aim is to develop and bring important basic facilities to a remote village in Batticaloa, Sri Lanka. Last November, our team traveled to Batticaloa and scouted for a village that was in dire need of development. On our way into the village of Pavatkodichchenai, our vehicle nearly broke down.  The roads were either in horrible condition or completely gone, making the village completely inaccessible. From our assessment, Pavatkodichchenai lacked four fundamentals: clean drinking water, proper sanitation, early childhood education, and adequate medical facilities and infrastructure. Through the Adopt-a-Village Project, CTHA has created a plan to provide Pavatkodichchenai with clean accessible water, sanitation facilities, and a community centre. This plan requires a total budget of $150,000. After talks with our team and our presentations to their branches in Richmond Hill, Canada and Batticaloa, Sri Lanka, Rotary International has agreed to provide $75,000 for our water and sanitation efforts in Pavatkodichchenai.

 

A quick breakdown of our three-fold project in Pavatkodichchenai can be outlined as follows. First, to ensure that  the village has clean accessible drinking water, we will build five water reserve tanks dispersed around the village. Not only will this reduce general illness and infant mortality rates, but the gendered nature of accessible water will mean that women will be saved the burden of walking long distances to retrieve water for their families. Second, we will provide a wet latrine to 25 of the village’s most vulnerable homes, prioritizing homes with teenage daughters, elderly relatives, and disabled family members. Finally, to promote economic growth and facilitate a self-sustaining community, in May 2017 CTHA began groundwork for a community centre in Pavatkodichchenai. The centre will house a preschool to help meet the village’s early childhood educational needs. It will also include a vocational training room to equip community members with in-depth education and training in relevant skills such as running small businesses, sewing, and farming. We envision that this will encourage greater self-determination among village residents and even help change the gender division of labour because it will all women to generate more household income. The community centre will also house a medical centre where patients will be diagnosed and treated by doctors from the mobile medical clinic. We plan to build one of our water pump stations near the community centre, as we expect it to become an active point of congregation for Pavatkodichchenai and its neighbouring villages. Please see the attached video to learn more about Pavatkodichchenai and the community centre. Overall, the goal of our holistic approach to community capacity building is to spur lasting social and economic development and self-sufficiency within the Pavatkodichchenai community.

 

 

To fund this incredible project, CTHA has been encouraging interested donors to hold fundraisers in which they provide a simple breakfast for family and friends, who themselves donate just $25. Over the last two years, we have raised over $50,000 from these efforts. To continue raising funds while giving back to our Torontonian community, we will be hosting our largest annual fundraising event on October 8, 2017 at the Thamil Isai Kalaamanram at 6 pm. It will be a convivial, entertaining night, full of performances by talented community artists. Tickets are selling for $20, $50, and $100. If you are not able to attend the event but would still like to donate and support our projects, please get in touch with us. You may either call us at (416) 953-2793 or email us at cthacanada@gmail.com for details.

 

CTHA provides opportunities for the Canadian Tamil diaspora to participate in rebuilding the lives of those back home. We are a channel for you to engage with post-war social issues and partake in development initiatives in Sri Lanka. If you are able to donate your time and expertise, or if you wish to be a field volunteer during your trips to Sri Lanka, please get in touch with us. Together we will empower lives and communities.

 

Contact Information:

Phone:  (416) 953-2793

Email:  cthacanada@gmail.com

Website:  http://www.cthacanada.org/

 

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Author

Canadian Tamils' Humanitarian Association

Dinoba Kirupa graduated from the University of Toronto with a degree in Political Science. She has been actively involved in Canadian politics for many years and worked with various organizations seeking to address social inequality. Dinoba is also heavily involved in facilitating change around issues that continue to affect the Tamil population in Sri Lanka, as well as the Tamil diaspora. She has been a core member of CTHA for the last two years. Dinoba has completed her bharathanatyam arangetram, is a Nintendo enthusiast, and is rooting for Daenerys Targaryen! The Canadian Tamils' Humanitarian Association (CTHA) is a registered non-profit organization supporting disadvantaged rural communities in Eastern & Northern Sri Lanka. CTHA facilitates and supports early childhood education, advocates on behalf of differently-abled persons to reach their full potential, and provides women with opportunities to thrive. In the short term, our focus will be on our community capacity building initiative, Adopt-a-Village, as well as the social and economic empowerment of women in these rural regions. To learn more please visit us at www.cthacanada.org.

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