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PWRDF Delegation to Visit India and Sri Lanka

Women measure milk at an OfERR-supported dairy cooperative in Sri Lanka. Photo: Simon Chambers

March 9, 2012

By Simon Chambers

On March 10, 2012 nine PWRDF supporters and staff will board an airplane heading to Chennai, India.  This delegation will be visiting the Organization for Eelam Refugees Rehabilitation (OfERR) in India and Sri Lanka for two weeks as PWRDF continues in partnership and accompaniment with this organization that works with the approximately 100,000 Tamil refugees who have been living in India for as long as 29 years.

The delegation is going at this time to be with OfERR as the refugees prepare to return home to Sri Lanka.  OfERR has been involved in many facets of coordinating the return including negotiating with the Indian and Sri Lankan governments, working with refugees to obtain the required identity documents, training refugees in skills that will allow them to earn a living and to rebuild their communities in Sri Lanka and working with the communities to which the refugees will return.

The delegation will visit OfERR projects and refugee camps in India during the first part of the delegation, and will then travel to Sri Lanka to visit the regions where refugees will be returning in the north and east of the island.  While there, they will meet with OfERR staff and volunteers (all refugees themselves), with Canadian government officials, with Anglican Archbishop Diloraj Canagasabey of the Diocese of Colombo and his staff and with the refugees who are the beneficiaries of OfERR’s community development, education, health and other programs.

While they travel, the delegation will be sending blog entries as regularly as they can which will be uploaded to the PWRDF website.  The delegation includes the following people:

Adele Finney
PWRDF Executive Director

Maureen Lawrence
Member, PWRDF Board of Directors
Diocese of British Columbia

Cody McKay
Member, PWRDF Youth Council
Diocese of Fredericton

Rev. Scott McLeod
Coordinator, PWRDF Refugee Network
Diocese of British Columbia

Carolyn Vanderlip
Coordinator, PWRDF Refugee Network
Diocese of Niagara

Frances Stewart
PWRDF Diocesan Representative
Diocese of Brandon

Janet Dench
Former Chair, PWRDF Board of Directors
Diocese of Montreal

Christine Hills
PWRDF Public Engagement Program Officer

Suzanne Rumsey
PWRDF Public Engagement Program Coordinator

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For media requests please contact Communications Coordinator Janice Biehn at (416) 924-9199;366.

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