Wednesday, February 2, 2011

A Change of Life to the People of Karagastenna

Karagastenna is a very remote estate located within the Divisional Secretariat area of Pallegama in the Matale District. To reach this estate we will have to travel about 14 miles from the Rattota-Gammaduwa junction through a more difficult sub road, where there is not a single house visible to our sight on both sides of this sub road. Grama Seva Officer is the only government officer who often visits this area from the village of Puwakpitiya. Though there is a primary school, it does not have any facilities. The line rooms at this estate are hundred years of old and were in a very dilapidated condition. The occupants due to fear, do not sleep in these rooms; instead they use to sleep in their kitchens, as the roofs and walls were on the verge of collapse. As there were only one or two useable toilets for the whole families, they use to go to the jungle to answer the calls of nature. Even the environment was unhygienic and untidy. They did not have pure water to drink. They had been using water contaminated with germs and their children had been suffering from various epidemic diseases; Diarrhoea and skin diseases.
However, as the estate had been closed down for nearly 1 ½ years, the number of families lived there had been reduced from 80 to 55. About 25 families had moved to some other places for employment. Now there are about 45 permanent families.
A vast change has been taken place in the lives of these people which could be described as physical and mental. After the entry of ‘SETIK’ and ‘CRS’ into this estate, in January 2009, these changes started to occur. Now, the reconstruction and rehabilitation work has been carried out at this estate after enlightening the community into various teams. The following repairs and construction work have been carried out now;
· The roofs of three dilapidated line rooms have been repaired.
· Damaged walls of two line rooms have been repaired.
· 45 Toilets have been constructed.
· Water pipe lines have been installed to these families.
As a result of the above services, they lead a peaceful life with self respect and mental happiness. Now, there is a great revival in their life and they are with smiling faces. We too are indeed happy to see their smiling faces by providing our services for their peaceful life.

Vesting of these three projects to the people was ceremonially held on the 28th of January 2011. The commemorative plaques of these projects were declared open by Rev. Fr. Camillus D. Jansz, the Director of ‘SETIK’ and Ms. Michelle Markey of CRS. Later, a meeting was held followed with an inspection of these projects. On this occasion the estate management has given an assurance to maintain these projects continuously. The Grama Seva Officer, Manager-Plantation, and the staff of ‘SETIK’ organization also took part on this occasion. This ceremony was held with the participation of all labourers of Karagastenna estate.

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