ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday September 16, 2007
Vol. 42 - No 16

Vijayabahu Motocross: Racing for a cause

By Dhananjani Silva

The prime objective of the 'Vijayabahu Motocross' – the most prestigious motor sport event in the North Western Province, held since 2000 – is to provide welfare facilities to soldiers of the Vijayabahu Regiment, those currently serving as well as those who are now disabled.

The funds raised are utilized for welfare projects including accommodation, vocational training and housing as well as scholarships for the children of those killed or missing in action.

There are about 450 officers and 9,500 other servicemen in this Regiment. Seven units (regular and volunteer) consisting of 200 officers and 5000 other cadres are deployed in Jaffna, and three units comprising 100 officers and 2000 other cadres are deployed in Vavuniya. One hundred and eight officers and 2,132 other cadres have lost their lives or are missing in action and 68 officers and 1407 other cadres have been permanently disabled.

The Regimental Headquarters bears the responsibility of providing welfare facilities and teaching vocational skills to the disabled officers by helping them gain self-employment if they decide to leave the Army. They are assisted in gaining training in agriculture, production of yoghurt, growing mushrooms, making cement blocks, etc. The Regiment's welfare shop and carpentry shop are manned by the disabled soldiers.

Vocational training is provided to the soldiers through the Technical College in Kurunegala where they are being trained by the Regiment in various skills such as Information Technology, motor mechanics, electrical engineering, carpentry, and masonry.

The Vijayabahu Seva Vanitha Unit distributed 50 sets of crutches and wheelchairs for the disabled in 2006, awarded ten scholarships worth Rs. 6000 each for children of the missing and officers killed in action as well as made donations of Rs. 170,000 obtained through the advertisements and the sales from the Seva Vanitha Avurudhu Pola among others.

Fund raising programmes are also conducted by the Regiment from time to time. The 'Vijayabahu Motocross -2007' one of their main fundraisers will be held on October 28 at the Vijayabahu Motocross Racing Track, Boyagane- Kurunegala.

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