ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday, March 18, 2007
Vol. 41 - No 42
TV Times

Fashion from tsunami widows

By Sanath Weerasuriya

A Fashion Show featuring the jewellery made by tsunami widows will be held at The Sanctuary Spa on March 22 starting at 7.00pm.

Top Sri Lankan models will be on catwalk wearing hand made jewellery made by tsunami widows under the 'Work For Widows' programme by Impakt Aid Trust.

There will be eleven Sri Lankan models that will be volunteering in order to help to raise funds to keep the programme going.

Chula, Jessica, Daniel, Kishani Veronica, Piorina, Sharon, Bianca, Harshani, Rozelle, Michelle and Nilushi will be on catwalk wearing these costume jewellery that made the living of tsunami widows for the past two years along with the new Spring / Summer Collection 2007.

Our cover girl 'H' posed for the photographs wearing these jewellery. She is of Indian origin but lives and works as a model in London..

She visited Sri Lanka and volunteered with The Impakt Aid trust for six weeks working directly with the widows group of The Work For Widows programme in Matara.

The jewellery shown in the photographs are pieces that she helped the women make while they were learning their trade.
IMPAKT Aid was set up after the waves of the tsunami crashed down on Sri Lanka on 26 December 2004. Started by a Canadian couple, Pamela and Jerry Porodo, IMPAKTaid began filling the immediate needs of the injured and traumatized. Friends, volunteers and donations poured through the doors and, within 24 hours of the disaster, an efficient and well-coordinated relief network was up and running.

'Our efforts to-date have been so successful that established relief organisations such as the Red Cross (Sweden), Luxembourg Search and Rescue and Germany's ORMS handed over surplus supplies and equipment before departing Sri Lanka in the knowledge that they would be deployed with the greatest efficiency' Pamela said.

IMPAKTaid has since evolved into a Registered Trust, which is currently pending charitable status. It is still run solely by volunteers of all nationalities and supports directly, or indirectly, over 25,000 displaced persons in the districts of Galle, Weligama, Panadura, Ambalangoda, Balapitiya, Moratuwa and Tissamaharama. These people are either in camps or in satellite settlements and account for between 4 and 5% of the total persons displaced in Sri Lanka.

Having provided the immediate necessities of water, shelter, food, medical supplies and clothing to affected areas, emerging priorities included medium to long-term projects such as a Mobile Medical Unit, sanitation, back to work programs, hygiene counselling, employment through English training, the construction of The Balapitiya Boys Home and Fun For Kids a trauma relief program as well as employment opportunities for widows through the Work For Widows program.

The Work For Widows Programme is dedicated to helping widowed women, with or without children to support, to attain self-sufficiency through self-employment initiatives.

Called Work for Widows, this project will provide women with a constant means of subsistence and bring much-needed cash into the local economy.

The main product produced by the Work For Widows group is jewellery; however, the projects include making everything from candles, wicker items and other household products.

'All the materials will be delivered to the women as staying at home is vital. Currently the Work For Widows project has supported over 155 woman and 297 children. With less than 6 hours in a five day work week, these women will earn a salary that will match or exceed the earning of their lost spoues. The average salary of the women in the program is 6000 rupees per month' she explained

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Copyright 2007 Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.Colombo. Sri Lanka.