The Medical Students' Buddhist Association is one of the most active student bodies in the Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo. It renders an admirable service to uplift and propagate religious awareness and spiritual understanding among the student population. 'Wassana Diyawara' village development project and health camp is the most important annual event organized by the Association. This event has been immensely appreciated within the faculty and outside as well. Over the past six years, the Association has successfully completed this programme in the following villages with the support of all medical students in the faculty.
The main objectives of Wassana Diaywara programme are
- identifying important issues in the selected village and taking measures to resolve them
- uplifting educational facilities of schools in the village
- conduct a health camp and a health education session to identify and improve health issues of the villagers
Diyawinna and Kalupedigama villages in the Ratnapura district were chosen this year to conduct the Wassana Diyawara programme after a thorough needs assessment. These two rural villages are situated adjacent to each other about 30km away from Balangoda near the Samanalawewa Reservoir. The main occupations of the villagers are paddy and chena cultivation. Most of the houses in these villages do not have electricity. Both villages have schools which are Diyawinna Vidyalaya and Koongahamankada Vidyalaya. Both schools have classes from Grade 1 to 11. The major issue they face is the lack of teaching staff.
Out of the issues identified in the villages and the schools the following were addressed in this year's project. The drinking water project which was abandoned due to lack of financial backup was extended to supply water to 50 more families. Material needed for establishing a water supply for the village temple was provided. Chairs and blackboards were supplied for the Dhamma school of Diyawinna. Materials were supplied to build toilets for both schools. Necessary library books were also provided. Material were supplied to renovate the laboratory of Koongahamankada Vidyalaya and musical instruments were provided for Diyawinna Vidyalaya. It's important to mention that the villagers gave their support by providing labour to perform the above activities.
The final event of Wassana Diyawara was held on January 16 at Diyawinna Vidyalaya. A health camp with many specialities, with free laboratory services and free drugs was conducted. More than a thousand people participated in the health camp. Health education sessions were also carried out. Supeeda safety lamps provided by the safety lamp foundation were also distributed among the villagers in exchange of hazardous lamps. At the end of the health camp gift packs with stationery were distributed for all schoolchildren in both schools.
So the Wassana Diyawara 2011 came to an end successfully making the life of the people in Diyawinna and Koongahamankada a little bit better. All these were possible because of the immense support given by the faculty staff, students, doctors, ministry of health, health authorities in Ratnapura and Balangoda areas, the villagers themselves and finally the well wishers of this project.