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Hon Basil Rajapakse MP, Minister of Economic Development and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Resettlement, Development and Security – Northern Province was the Chief Guest at the ceremony to hand over 95 houses built by Caritas Sri Lanka SEDEC in Selvapuram, Mullaitivu District on 7th September 2011.
75 housing units were built with aid from Caritas Norway while Caritas Slovenia helped to build the remaining 20 units. Speaking on the occasion, Minister Basil Rajapakse paid a glowing tribute to Caritas for its sustained efforts in helping the families displaced by war to have a home of their own. He mentioned that Caritas had played its humanitarian role even prior to the end of the northern war and in a special way after the end of the war when thousands of families were crowded into the Menik Farm camp almost overnight. While appreciating the selfless service rendered by Caritas, the Minister said that it is the spirit of collaboration and close partnership that makes it possible for humanitarian agencies and religious organizations to work alongside the government on a common program to benefit the people.
Rev Fr George Sigamoney, National Director of Caritas Sri Lanka SEDEC in his address said that as a Church organization Caritas had always stayed with the people in their moments of trial and tribulation, even when other humanitarian agencies had to leave the Vanni at the height of the military conflict. Fr Sigamoney while expressing his sincere appreciation of the support received for Caritas projects and programs at all levels of government reiterated that the Church in Sri Lanka will not only continue its efforts to bring about normalcy in the war ravaged regions but also work sincerely towards reconciliation and a sustainable peace in Sri Lanka. He also said that Caritas Sri Lanka greatly values the generous assistance of Caritas Norway and Caritas Slovenia in implementing many meaningful steps for resettlement and restoration in the North and East of Sri Lanka.
The Apostolic Nuncio, Most Rev Dr Joseph Spiteri, Rt Rev Dr. Thomas Savundranayagam – Bishop of Jaffna, and the Norwegian Ambassador Her Excellency Hilde Haralstad were the Guests of Honour at this event while other Special Guests included the Governor of the Northern Province, Maj Gen G A Chandrasiri and Mr A Pathinathan – District Secretary for Mullaitivu.