Thousands of people who have suffered unspeakable tragedies over the past three decades are about to be offered healing - thanks to the kind folk of Milton Keynes.
Citizen readers have always supported city-based charity Hope Outreach UK, which helps make life better for people in civil war-torn Sri Lanka.
Over the years you have donated towards orphanages to house children whose parents were killed in the 2004 tsunami or the 30-year civil war.
You’ve given more money to build new homes for tsunami victims, to provide food for the starving, medical supplies for the sick and clothes for people who lost all they possess.
Thanks to this generosity many people in the north east of Sri Lanka have slowly rebuilt their lives. ‘Our’ Hope Outreach orphans are flourishing, and an incredible 27 of them have gone off to university.
But the man behind the charity, Pennyland GP Dr Sam Muthuveloe, has now identified one more massive need - the need for healing.
He has launched a £90,000 appeal to build a community centre to offer counselling, healing and health care.
It would be open to people of all ages and faiths, and would offer activities ranging from mums and tots groups to reading clubs for the elderly.
Sam was moved to tears during a visit to Sri Lanka this month when he heard how people were still traumatised by the atrocities they witnessed.
“Mr Siva, a farmer, explained how he dug out the dead bodies of his grandchildren, daughter and son-in-law with his bare hands after the trench they were hiding in took a direct hit from a bomb,” said Sam.
Rita, a 14-year-old orphan, told how she lost her parents, two sisters and brother in the war.
Sam said: “The emotional pain a memories of the loss of loved ones runs deep in the psyche of the survivors.... The community centre would help these innocent people find expression and solace for this grief.”
The community centre would be in Tharmapuram, in the northern district of Sri Lanka. The people of this region have volunteered to do much of the building themselves, including digging the foundations with spades and carrying the materials in buckets.
“It is a still a broken community and the people are thin and without muscle. But they will all work manually as hard as they can to help build their centre,” said Sam.
He has asked for donations towards the £90,000 target to be made online via www.hopeoutreach.org.uk/donate
Alternatively readers can send a cheque payable to Hope Outreach UK to Hope Outreach, Freepost licence no: MK 1840, Great Linford, Milton Keynes, MK14 5BR.