Thursday, October 11, 2007

Programme on “Preparing Medico-Legal Documents and Appearing in Courts” for Doctors

Setik organization conducted a study programme on “Preparing medico-legal documents and appearing in courts” for the doctors of the General Hospital Kandy and Peradeniya teaching hospital at the teaching hospital auditorium on 31st October 2007. The resource person was Mr. Sarath Jayamanna, Deputy Solicitor General. Nearly 120 doctors and 30 consultants took part in this progamme which went on for almost three hours.

After the input by the resource person there was a panel discussion and lot of questions were raised by the participants. The questions were based on medical negligence, preparing legal documents, etc. The programme was very much appreciated by the participants and the resource person Mr. Sarath Jayamanna thanked Setik organization for the initiative taken to arrange such a seminar which is very much relevant for today’s context.

Promotional Programme to Integrate The Migrant Returnees Into Sri Lankan Society.

In the month of October the Setik organized a major programme to help the migrant workers to resettle with their families. The objective of the programme was to help the migrant returnees and to re-integrate them to their families to start their income generating programmes. There were 51 beneficiaries selected from the three districts of the Central Province.

The occasion started at 10.00 a.m. on the 31st October 2007 at Setik Auditorium, Kandy. The Chief Guests of the celebration were His Loardship Bishop Vianney Fernando - Bishop of Kandy and Rt. Rev. Dr. Valence Mendis - Bishop In-charge of the Catholic National Migrants’ Commission. The special invitees for the occasion were Ms. Anne Bousquet - the country representative of CRS, Mr. Eduward of CRS and Very Rev. Fr. Milroy Fonseka - Vicar General in the Diocese of Kandy.

The programme commenced with a prayer and after lighting the traditional oil lamp. Introducation for the programme was given by the Director of Setik - Rev. Fr. George Sigamoney. In his address he mentioned about the unfortunate plight of the majority of migrant workers - most of them detained in prisons for petty crimes as they were unable to have legal representation to plead for them. He also said that the countries like India and Pakistan have banned females migrating as house maids to the Middle East countries as well as Bangaladesh and Nepal has restricted the number going as house maids. After his introduction to the programme three migrant returnees shared their pathetic experiences. A group of returnees enacted a very true to life drama on the daily drudgery faced by housemaids in the Middle East countries.

The launching of the English version of the book on Migration of Women as housemaids was another important item on the programme. A summary of the book was read and the book was presented to the invitees. The Chief Guests and special invitees were called upon to distribute the funds and 51 beneficiaries received funds Rs. 10,000 per each person. This was a short term objective of Setik to discourage of migration of women as house maids to the middle east countries.

His Lordship - Bishop Vianney Fernando stated that the Church would enhance assistance to these families and encourage mothers of families to remain with their children. His Lordship - Bishop Valance Mendis stated the Church is sending Sri Lankan Priests and religious sisters as volunteers to take care for the migrant workers. Ms. Anne representing CRS organization expressed that she found the programme very enlightening and that CRS will continue to assist to promote the welfare of the returnees.

There were about 350 people participated for the programme including the family members of the beneficiaries and the programme terminated at 1.00 p.m with the vote of thanks.
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Monday, September 3, 2007

Universal Children's Day Celebration - 2007

Universal Children’s Day 2007 was celebrated in the Diocese of Kandy on 6th October 2007, at St. Anthony’s College, Katugastota. “Setik” Kandy organized the programme together with the Holy Childhood Apostolate in the Diocese. The theme was “Let’s grow with you”. More than 1800 children with about 180 Holy Childhood Animators took an active part in this programme. Children from the Holy Childhood groups of the Diocese together with those of the “Rainbow Chidren” centres of the Diocese participated in the programme. About 5 training programmes were implemented at Deanery level for the Animators to prepare them for the programme on Universal Children’s Day.

On 6th October at 9.30 a.m. Universal Children’s Day programme commenced with an inter-religious meditation for the children assembled at the College grounds. Then the Children and the teachers divided into 30 groups with about 55 children in each group with 5 teachers. Group activities to promote leadership qualities, team spirit and build up an inter-relationship among the children were carried out in the groups. These activities helped the children to relax and be refreshed spiritually and physically. The morning’s programme closed with lunch.

A cultural programme by the children commenced at 2.00 p.m. This was held at the College Hall. Rt. Rev. Dr. Vianney Fernando - Bishop of Kandy was the Chief Guest and the Guests of Honour were Rev. Fr. Damian Fernando - National Director Caritas Sri Lanka and Very Rev. Fr. Milroy Fonseka - The Vicar General of Kandy Diocese. The guests were warmly welcomed by the children and those present in the hall. Rev. Fr. George Sigamoney - Director of Setik introduced the guests and delivered the welcome speech. The programme of the cultural show was composed of 11 items: three items from each deanery in the Diocese and the “Setik” organization. There were Drama, dances, and songs in Sinhala, Tamil and English languages. At the end of the cultural programme the Bishop of Kandy addressed the gathering specially the children and their animators and distributed souvenirs to all the children and the animators who participated in the programme.

Mobile Medical Clinic at Bolagala Estate

On the 26th August 2007 the SETIk Mobile Medical Team carried out a mobile medical clinic at Bolagalawatte Estate which is nearly 20 Km away from Kandy city. This is one of the most neglected and undeveloped estates in the Central Province. During the British rule these people were brought from South India and today it is the fourth generation which lives here. Thus these people have a history of 180 years. After the privatization of the tea Plantations this estate was totally neglected and the people are living in utter poverty and in poor conditions. For the entire 80 families they have only 3 toilets and the houses are in a state of collapsing. During the rainy season there is not much of a difference between the outside and inside of the houses.

Due to these unhealthy situations the elders and the children are suffering from various diseases. Even though this estate is not very far from Kandy due to their poverty they are unable to come to the city to get medicine. After a careful study and survey our medical team (10 doctors and nearly 20 volunteers) conducted a medical camp in this estate. This medical camp provided treatment to almost 300 people. We remember with gratitude Fr. Giuseppe Jasso and his team for providing us with an ambulance which is really useful to help many people in the rural areas of our Diocese. To see more photoes please visit

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Exhibition on Human Rights Violations

Setik organized an exhibition on Human Rights highlighting various Human Rights violations in our society today. The exhibition was held at St. Xavier’s Parish hall in Nuwara Eliya on 6th July 2007. There were nearly 350 cartoon posters exhibited at this exhibition. More than 100 children visited the exhibition and after viewing the exhibition they were given an opportunity to draw a picture on how they see the violations of Human Rights in our society.

Poson Programme (30th June 2007)

Poson festival is celebrated by Buddhists all over the world. According to the Buddhists the Buddhism was taken to Sri Lanka on this Poson day. To mark the even JPHDHR Secretariat organized a Bathi Gee Cart (Carol Singing) to go around Kandy and Mtale area to give the message of peace to the people. A group of children from Ukuwelawatte field was trained for this purpose and they were dressed according to the Sinhala Buddhist culture and were performing the singing very meaningfully and respectfully. Many viewers admired the effort taken by the organization in relevant time like this in Sir Lanka.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Plantation Forum (8th June 2007)

On the 8th June 2007 the Setik organized a Dialogue Session on the issues of the Plantation Sector people. The programme was held at the Setik auditorium at 10.00 a.m and went on for about four hours. The main objective of this forum was to get the ideas and views of the organizations that work for the Plantation Sector people and prepare a policy document to be submitted to the Government and to relevant authorities. There were six resource persons on the panel from different organizations who work for the marginalized people in the Plantation.

At the Panel:

- Rev. Fr. George Sigamoney – The Director of Setik
- Rev. Fr. Guy Fontgalland – Leo Asharam
- Mr. Jayarathna Maliyagoda - Labour Union of Public Service
- Mr. P. Muthulingam – Institute of Social Development
- Mrs. Shobana Rajendram – Senior Lecturer of Peradeniya University (HR Education Unit)
- Mr. Anthonymuthu – Public Relations Officer – Caritas Sri Lanka

About 60 District Steering Committee leaders of the Plantation Sector (Districts of Nuwaraeliya, Matale and Kandy) actively participated at this Dialogue. The resource persons contributed their views about the present status of the Plantation sector and their organizational experiences in working with these groups. They spoke about basic rights, social issues, health conditions, safety and education of the Plantation people and also they gave their suggestions to uplift the lives of these people. From the audience many issues were raised with regard to their Rights, policies of the Government and about their future. The discussion was quite fruitful and many issues were cleared at the floor. The programme terminated with the decision to prepare a memorandum and hand it over to the government.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

“Wesak Mal Dansala” (Free distribution of flowers)

Each year as an organization Setik celbrates the special days of all religious in various ways. The youth groups as well as the children’s groups of Setik organized a “Wesak Mal Dansala” (Free distribution of flowers) this year to celebrate the Wesak Full Moon Poya Day in a meaningful way. Not only Buddhists who celebrate this Poya Day but also Catholics, Hindus and Muslims actively took part in this programme which held on the 1st May 2007. The flowers were collected the day before from the Matale areas. The flowers were distributed freely to the worshippers who came to the Temple of the Tooth in Kandy. The programme started at 10.00 a.m and went on till noon.

Saturday, May 5, 2007


1st May 2007

Theme:- “ Labourers are the Foundation of the Economy of a country. It is our duty to protect them.”
Venue :- Asgiriya Estate, Matale

Participants :- 250 Plantation Labourers
Resource Persons:-
Mr. Trini Gordon Rayan - Att-at-Law
Mr. A.C.S. Crooz - Co-ordinatior Plantation Programme (SETIK)

The Human Rights Unit of SETIK organized a seminar under the theme of “Human Rights of the Tea Plantation Workers”. The seminar was to provide an opportunity for labourers to understand and to clarify matters pertaining to the work. This was something different for them from their routine May Day rallies and protests.

In organizing this programme the people of Asgiriya Estate had a share in the planning. The programme commenced with the formal welcome given by the people of Asgiriya estate to the Resource Persons & the SETIK Team. The traditional oil lamp was lit and introductions were made before the commencement of the seminar.

The contents of programme of the Seminar

Introduction: How a “Labour Day” came into existence.

- Human Rights
- Issues labourers face - how to seek solutions
- Legal aspect of Rights of Labourers.
- Issues that Plantation Labourers face with managements.
- The Labour Department and the Labourers.
- Employment Provident Fund & Employees Trust Fund.
- Citizenship and Plantation Labourers
- Steps to be taken when a Labourers meets with an accident while on duty.

A very enlightening and instructive talk on the above points was followed by questions and opened discussion.

This programme was facilitated by the Human Rights Unit of SETIK; Mr. Asela Bandara, Mrs. Yamuna Hettige and Mr. Bandara Darmapriya.

Friday, March 9, 2007

Universal Women's Day Celebration in Kandy

97th Universal Women’s Day was celebrated in Kandy on the 8th March 2007. The celebration was organized by Setik organization in two stages. In the morning a group of women had a peaceful protest campaign against the violation of women, on disappearances, domestic violence, the issues of migration and the safety of migrants, the struggles in the kitchen, and the plight of the plantation women. The demonstration was held in front of the George. E. De Silva Park for nearly one hour. After the demonstration the group gathered at the Setik auditorium.

The 2nd stages of the programmes started with the lighting of the traditional oil lamp and welcome address by the Director of Setik Rev. Fr. George Sigamoney at the Setik auditorium. There was a panel of guest speakers to lead the dialogue session under the three major issues faced by the women in our society.

- Women’s Rights, Domestic violence and Abusements
- The Rights of the Plantation Sector women
- Rights of the migrating women

The Panel:
  • Mr. Ashoka Polgasdeniya - A Senior Executive of the Foreign Employment Bureau of Sri Lanka

  • Mrs. Shobana Rajendram - A Lecturer and the Co-ordinator of the Human Rights Education Unit in the University of Peradeniya

  • Mrs. Yashodara Kadiragamarthambi - A Lecturer of the Open University and Att-at-law

  • Mrs. Surangika Ranaweera - Att-at-law, Asian Human Rights Commission

  • Mr. Sampath Ariyasena - Researcher on migrant issues

  • Rev. Sr. Kathleen - the Co-ordinator of the Women's Desk of Caritas Sri Lanka

  • Rev. Sr. Dulcy Fernando - the principal of St. Anthony's Primary Schook, Kandy

    After the discussion of about two hours with many questions raised by the participants they were divided into three groups. Mrs. Surangika Ranaweera (Att-at-law) lead the group interested on domestic violence and the rights of women. The second group on the issues of the plantation women was lead by Mrs. Yashodara Kadiragamarthambi and Mrs. Shobana Rajendram. The other group related to migrant workers issues was lead by Mr. Ashoka Polgasdeniya, a Senior executive of the Sri Lankan Foreign Employment Bureau. At these group discussions the participants gained more enlightenment on their rights and how to find better solutions for their problems.

    At the end of the group discussions a summary report was read and a decision taken to hand over that document to the media, and to the Sri Lankan Ministry of Women’s affairs. To see more photoes

Monday, March 5, 2007

Establishment of Vocational Training Centres

Establishment of Training Centres:

We, the Setik organization took the initiative to establish four vocational training centres to help the grass-root level people in the Plantation Sector and in the rural villages. Our main objective of establishing these vocational training centres is to provide the quality trainings to the people to carry out their small industries successfully.

Two training centres established in Bogawanthalawa and Talawakelle (Plantation Sector – Nuwaraeliya district) and they were declared opened on 3rd February 2007. The Director of Setik Rev. Fr. George Sigamoney, Co-ordinating Priest of Nuwaraelya district Rev. Fr. Sudath Rohana graced the occasion.

On 11th February 2007 the other two centres were opened, one at Galewela and the other at Nikawehera (Rural Areas – Matale district) Rt. Rev. Dr. Vianney Fernando the Bishop of Kandy was the Chief Guest and the Director of Setik, Parish Priests of relevant Parishes and the staff of Setik participated at this event. The loans were handed over to the members of the women’s groups to establish their income generating schemes.
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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Celebration of Independence Day

Celebration of Independence Day
(4th February 2007)

This year’s National Day programme took place at Ukuwelawatte to celebrate 59th anniversary of Independence in Sri Lanka. The highlight of the programme was to build up an inter-religious and inter-ethnic atmosphere. The religious leaders of Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims and Catholics hoisted the respective religious flags. The Chef incumbent of North Central Province Ven. Udalumada Gunarathana Thero hoisted the National flag and pigeons were released to mark the freedom of our nation. The Religious Leaders in their addresses highlighted the importance of independence and the responsibility of each individual. Nearly 500 people of different ethnicity graced the occasion.

Friday, January 5, 2007

Plantation Workers Present Situation

Plantation workers carried out a strike of 15 days requesting to increase their day’s wage from Rs. 135/- to Rs. 300/-. These wages increments is included in the collective agreement signed on 19/12/2006 at the Presidential Secretariat by the His Excellency the President Mahinda Rajapaksha, between the Federation of Plantation employers and the leaders of Plantation trade unions. Mr. Lalisth Obeysekara has signed in this agreement on behalf of the Federation of Plantation employers. The following Plantation trade unions leaders signed on behalf of their unions.

Ø Mr. Arumugn Thondaman - Ceylon Workers Congress
Ø Mr. K. Velayutham - Lanka National Estate Trade Union
Ø Mr. S. Ramanthan - Federation of Plantation Trade Union

The wages structure accepted in these agreement as follows.

Basic Wage per day - Rs. 170.00
Cost of living allowance per day - Rs. 20.00
Allowance for 75% attendance - Rs. 70.00
Total - Rs. 260.00

Allowance for additional leave per day - Rs. 9.00 per Kilo Gram.
(Earlier rate was Rs. 7.00)

Though the Plantation workers requested to increase their day’s wage as Rs. 300.00 the collective agreement accepted only Rs. 260.00