Villages in southern India are governed by a group of people known as the Panchayat. These groups have a lot of say in what happens within their village officially and unofficially. It was vital for organizations like PWRDF and our partners to have good relationships with the local Panchayat when working after the 2004 tsunami.
In Kuttiyandiyur, a village supported after the tsunami by PWRDF partner the Organization for Eelam Refugee Rehabilitation (OfERR), the relationship with the Panchayat is very strong. “OfERR volunteers helped us after the tsunami, teaching skills and how to make life better.”
While the refugees from OfERR didn’t have any money to give to help with reconstruction, they brought education for the villagers in Kuttiyandiyur. The lessons OfERR taught the people are still remembered today by the Panchayat.
“After the tsunami, OfERR became one of us, working hand in hand,” said a member of the Panchayat. In the years since the tsunami, OfERR has given computers to the village and provided training for young people in computer skills, as well as providing tailoring training and sewing machines to women in the village.