The grant contracts were signed on 24th January 2019 at the Ambassador's Residence in Colombo which was attended by the the ambassador of Japan - Mr. Akira Sugiyama, embassy staff, President of Sri Lanka Council of Visually Handicapped Graduates - Mr. Sugath Wasantha De Silva and Mr. Ananda Chandrasiri, Programme Manager of Delvon Assistance for Social Harmony (DASH).
900,000 persons visually impaired!
Noting that there are around 900,000 visually impaired people in Sri Lanka, President of Sri Lanka Council of Visually Handicapped Graduates - Mr. Sugath Wasantha De Silva said that Braille is the means of providing them information and education.
However, as there is a dearth in Braille publications, the council, visually impaired persons in Sri Lanka are deprived of this right, he added.
The Council, who is the recipient of the US$ 98,191 (approx. Rs. 16 million) grant, will print braille magazines monthly and distribute them to libraries countrywide. Braille display machines installed in its head office in Moratuwa will be available for the public to read contents on computers.
The grant contract was signed by ambassador Mr. Akira Sugiyama and Mr. Sugath Wasantha De Silva.
Strengthening reconciliation efforts
In addition, the government of Japan extended a total sum of US$ 624,382 (Approximately Rs. 100 million) for humanitarian demining in Northern Province of Sri Lanka.
The grant contract was signed by ambassador Sugiyama and DASH Programme Manager - Mr. Ananda Chandrasiri.
DASH, a local NGO working for demining in Sri Lanka since 2010, will conduct humanitarian mine clearance in Jaffna, Kilinochchi, and Mullaitivu districts.
Commenting on the provision of this grant, Mr. Ananda Chandrasiri stated “Japan has been a major supporter to the Sri Lankan mine action programme from its inception, where DASH has been continuously funded by Japan since 2010. There still remain areas that are contaminated with mines and explosive remnants of war as a result of the country’s three-decade-lasted internal conflict. The clearance undertaken by DASH in this Japan-funded project will contribute not only to the infrastructure development of those areas, but also to the reestablishment of a sustainable economy of the resettled people."
"The funding assistance of Japan has also enabled DASH to provide employment to a large number of young and needy people living in the North, strengthening the peace and reconciliation efforts of our Government. DASH believes that the most important factor contributing to the peace building process of our country is assisting the young people, who were directly or indirectly involved in the conflict, in having not only a source of income, but most importantly the recognition in our society. The close and supportive friendship of Japan and her people is highly admired by every Sri Lankan,” he added.