US Ambassador to Sri Lanka HE Julie J. Chung inaugurated the emergency food distribution program launched by Habitat for Humanity Sri Lanka and the American Chamber of Commerce Sri Lanka (AmCham SL), at the Nayanalokagama village in Katana, Negombo, on 22 July 2022. The Nayanalokagama village is considered the only dedicated village for visually impaired persons in the South Asian region and has been a part of Habitat for Humanity Sri Lanka’s housing assistance projects in recent years.
The ‘Humanitarian Emergency Relief Program’, which is Habitat for Humanity’s humanitarian relief response to assist vulnerable and marginalized communities severely impacted by Sri Lanka’s worst economic crisis, aims to provide essential dry food rations to identified families for a period of two months initially. The inaugural program in the village of Nayanalokagama, saw 100 families receive the food rations from Ambassador Julie Chung, and several donors who were present at the event.
Speaking at the inaugural event, Ambassador Chung, said, “Sri Lanka is in the middle of one of the greatest economic crises it has ever experienced. Long power outages, as well as significant shortages of food, medication, fuel, and other essential necessities are generally affecting its 22 million people. Understanding the need of the hour, projects such as the Humanitarian Emergency Relief Program are crucial in supporting the many vulnerable families across the country, and we are committed to supporting such initiatives.” She concluded by encouraging the beneficiaries and assuring them of the support and friendship of the US business community in Sri Lanka.
District Secretary Gampaha, Mr. W.S. Sathyananda, speaking at the inauguration stated that the timely intervention of the Habitat Sri Lanka and the AmCham SL, is laudable and a great benefit to the poor and the low-income segments of society in the district and fulfills a great need which the government is unable to meet in its entirety in the present situation of the country.
Ms. Vrai Raymond, General Manager & Head of the AmCham SL Secretariat expressing her views said, “While AmCham SL is primarily a business organization that works closely with the Sri Lankan private sector to enhance bilateral trade and commerce with the US, social responsibility is at the heart of the organization, and we are therefore honored to partner with Habitat for Humanity Sri Lanka to stand with those vulnerable fellow Sri Lankans in navigating the current crisis.” She noted that the donation of LKR 5 million towards the first phase of this program was made possible by AmCham members, partners and well-wishers both here and across the globe, including several Sri Lankan cricketers, and gratefully acknowledged their contributions.
Speaking at the event, Mr. Yu Hwa Li, the National Director of Habitat for Humanity Sri Lanka, commented, “We firmly believe that this is a timely and a much-needed intervention, with many vulnerable families unable to meet their basic needs amidst this crisis. Our goal is to provide sufficient quantities of dry food sufficient for two months to these families and together with AmCham SL, we look forward to continuing this initiative in several other districts in Sri Lanka, as well as extending the duration of the program if we are able to.”
Associated at the event was Mr. Phillip Loosli, Head of the Economic Unit of the US Mission in Colombo, Ms. Priyanka Kodithuwakku, Divisional Secretary Katana, Mr. Lakshan Madurasinghe, President AmCham SL and several individual donors to the Humanitarian Emergency Relief Program initiative, including Mr. & Mrs. Dilum Chandrasoma and Mr. Michael Perera.