Written by Staff Writer
12 Mar, 2016 | 7:02 pm
The News 1st Gammedda Door-to-Door campaign, a national public service initiative by News 1st and the University of Peradeniya journeyed to the rural communities of the Southern Province over the past few weeks, to provide a voice to the voiceless.
During its journey to shed light on the most common problems and hardships of the rural villages in Hambantota and Matara, the teams came across a number of unseen hardships fellow Sri Lankans are facing in their day to day lives.
The heart-wrenching story of Lachchumi, a mother of five who has been blind for nearly four years brought tears to the eyes of the Gammedda crew which encountered a tough journey to the the Selvakanda estate.
Living in line houses, without proper sanitary facilities and electricity, she broke into tears when she told her story and what she experiences each day. Her husband who is also ill could only earn RS 500 per day which is not sufficient to fulfill the needs of the family.
Her only request was a pair of lenses so that she can lead a normal life.
Estate workers in Selvakanda estate in Deniyaya also faced the same issue. However, they also informed us about the vagaries of the electricity scheme in the area. Residents informed us that even though electricity was provided to the areas a few years ago, the connection to the entire area has been disconnected.
Gammedda also uncovered the plight of the villagers who live in Nawalapitiya, where they don’t have a single bus to travel on. During our journey we met a group of school children walking to school, the nearest school was eight kilometres away.
The narrow crossing which joins the villages of Ihala Kurudhana and Pahala Kurudhana caught our attention as we made our rounds in Sooriyawewa. The villagers noted that they are unable to take a patient to hospital in case of an emergency as the crossing is almost a death trap.
This is Asha, who lives in Weheragama a rural village situated in the heart of Lunugamvehera. The Gammddda crew which toured this rural village learnt of the hardships Asha is facing as a single parent.
According to Asha, her children have the enthusiasm to educate themselves but are unable to do so due to financial difficulties.
Sooriyawewa, Hambantota is well-known for the magnificent cricket stadium that was built a few years ago. However a lesser known fact is that the residents of the area live in constant fear of wild elephants. During our travels, we came across devastated cultivations, the work of wild elephants.
From the dilapidated roads of Selvakanda estate in Deniyaya to the scorching farmlands in Sooriyawewa destroyed by wild elephants, New1st’s Gammedda door-to-door campaign was able to resonate with the public and bring their concerns to the forefront.
The News 1st Gammedda door-to-door campaign supported by the University of Peradeniya will reach out to the remote villages till March 18.
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