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02/18/2016

Greetings of Leaving Sri Lanka; the Land of Smiles

It was July 2014 when I for the first time prepared a quick report for JEN’s activities. It’s already one year and eight months since then, and I left Sri Lanka today. I was engaged in deployment of three projects and management of four offices during my term in Sri Lanka. With 35 staff members, I took charge of supporting the recovery of approximately 210 households through farming and strengthening of communities by forming agricultural cooperatives.

I commented in the report then, “I want to try my best supporting as many people as possible and make them smile again; smile more every day.”
Sometimes, there were misunderstandings between JEN and families JEN supports about JEN’s activity policy. There were sometimes cases where both parties could not agree with each other, or their smile were gone as a result of misunderstandings.
However, it has always been JEN’s policy to provide people with support with minimum necessary support from a long-term perspective.

I remember I and our staff explained again and again to the residents and local government administrators that JEN does not ”support more”, “spend more money” and “does not provide support further”, to reduce the dependency of people in North Sri Lanka who tend to be used to receive support.
I was heart-warmed in the moment when both residents and JEN’s members smiled eventually after they had reached understanding.
The 10-year government was changed after presidential election in January 2015. Parliamentary elections were held in August the same year, it was through this democratic move that a new president wes elected. .

Many of the international NGOs that supported people in Sri Lanka after the Tsunami in 2004 have withdrawn already. Also, many of the international NGOs that started work after the 2009 Civil War had ended have already withdrawn or are considering withdrawing. Sri Lanka is now in a transition period. This is an important time where Sri Lankans need to make the country better by themselves while reducing dependence on the international community.

Under such circumstances, JEN cannot withdraw from Sri Lanka. We want to provide support to people in the North area: especially those who were left behind by the support circle or lives in forgotten areas, so that they can keep up with, and actively participate in, the economic development of the country.
I would like to use the experience in Sri Lanka for the next post, remembering the smiles of people who I supported in Northern Sri Lanka, administrative staff who I cooperated in projects with, and JEN’s staff who tried hard on the front line.

Local business representative
Arisa Nishida

【With JEN’s staff】
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【With people JEN provided support】
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February 18, 2016 in Sri Lanka |