Buddhist Maha Vihara in Malaysia launches a fund for Sri Lankan IDP Orphans

by Sumanananda Premseri, Lanka Web, June 15, 2009

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia -- The Buddhist Maha Vihara Brickfields in Kuala Lumpur launched the Sri Lanka Aid fund to assist some 400 orphans in an Internal Displaced Camp in Northern Sri Lanka. These children are mentally affected by the conflict- traumatized, socially disoriented and psychologically vulnerable.

It is important to reach out to the children as they are the most vulnerable section of the population in any conflict. In a serious disorientation condition, they can be easily removed away from safety nets and trained to become child soldiers due to naivety, anger, etc or exploited by unscrupulous elements into child labor or prostitution. They are the most vulnerable section of the population in any domestic, localized or full scale conflict.

To help the children, the Buddhist Maha Vihara Brickfields is organizing a project to raise money to educate and provide assistance to these children. Launching the project was Deputy Federal Territories Minister Datuk M. Saravanan who also pledged RM10,000 from the Ministry. The President of the Malaysian Hindu Sangam, Datuk A. Vaithilingam and the Head of the Pure Life Society, Mother Mangalam and Datin Indrani Samy Vellu who is the wife of the President of the Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC), Datuk Seri Samy Vellu also participated in the launching.

The MIC is the largest Indian based political party in Malaysia. The Hindu Sangam is the umbrella body of all the Hindu temples in Malaysia. Mother Mangalam, a socio-welfare activist has been closely associated and worked with the Buddhist Maha Vihara for decades to promote inter-faith fellowship and cooperation.

Joining them to launch the project was the Chief Incumbent of the Buddhist Maha Vihara and also the Chief Sangha Nayaka of Malaysia, Ven K Sri Dhammaratana Nayaka Maha Thera who will be going to the IDP Camp in Sri Lanka to distribute goods and educational aid to the children.

The Venerable is no stranger to helping orphans as he is also the founder and Spiritual Director of the Tiratana Welfare Society which runs an orphanage, old folks home, half-way home for runaways, welfare centers and a mobile clinic. The Tiratana Orphanage has more than a hundred and fifty children of whom, about 40 percent are Tamils. Some of these Tamil children from the Orphanage too came forward to participate and donate to the fund to alleviate sufferings of fellow children in another part of the world.

The Buddhist Maha Vihara has to date collected about RM30,000 for Sri Lanka Aid. A limited amount of donations in kind is being collected too.

In the period 2004-2005, the Buddhist Maha Vihara has helped Sri Lanka heavily too for Tsunami Relief sending container loads of aid by air and sea for immediate relief providing relief items such as ready to eat food, dried food, clothes, medicines, generators, etc which found its way to all parts of the country affected by the Tsunami including the Northern Region and the Eastern Province.

In Kalmunai, the Vihara funded the rebuilding of 2 Hindu temples destroyed by the Tsunami and sponsored a daily refugee feeding program. These projects were undertaken by the Triple Gem Society of USA led by Ven Y. Wimala. The Vihara also sponsored the building of the outpatient and specialist wing of the District hospital in Tangalle which was equipped later by AmeriCare of the USA.