January 26th 2005

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Sri Lanka Project (GROW II) Advisory Committee
January 26, 2005 (Tuesday)
10:00 a.m. to Noon
Conference Room, Learning Center
Present: Phyllis Cunningham, Laurel Jeris, Jaya Gajanayake, Deb Pierce, Jorge Jeria, Murali
Krishnamurthi, Rick Orem, Cindy Campbell, Catherine Raymond, Meena Razvi, April Gonzalez and
Nalika Diyadawa.
Minutes of the Meeting:
 The major agenda item of the meeting: The impact of the Asian tsunami disaster on the lives of
the people affected by it, Sri Lankans in particular, and its implications to the GROW project.
 The meeting started with sharing of thoughts and comments about the disaster from the
perspective of a Sri Lankan - Nalika Diyadawa, new graduate assistant at the International
Training Office, who was there when the tragedy happened. Nalika expressed that for her as
well as for many Sri Lankans, priorities have changed.
She described that the deadly wave left damages in 2 dimensions: economic and social. The
tourism and fisheries sectors of the country were badly hit. According to Nalika, the loss of lives
in the fishing villages as well as in the coastal areas is a huge catastrophe. However, the greatest
disaster is in the social dimension - loss of hope.
The outpouring of international aid, compassion and support from people across the globe is
overwhelming.
Many of the tsunami victims need trauma care and psychiatric treatment/counseling.
 The next item of the agenda was about what NIU community is doing to help the relief work.
Efforts being done include the following:
1) Tsunami Disaster Fund for Sri Lanka
- Meena Razvi informed the AC that an account has been opened at Castle Bank for
fundraising effort. Funds collected will be sent to the Center for Women’ Research
(CENWOR), one of the collaborating NGO’s for the GROW project. CENWOR is a
credible and efficient organization with strict accounting and auditing procedures and more
importantly highly capable of leading a relief program to reach the victims directly, with
necessary consultations with the GROW partners.
- Any amount donated will be greatly appreciated.
- Checks can be made payable to:
Tsunami Disaster Fund for Sri Lanka
and mail to:
Castle Bank, 141 W. Lincoln Highway
DeKalb, IL 60115
OR to:
Meena Razvi
1810 Hilltop Road
Elgin, IL 60120
Deb Pierce presented efforts of various NIU units/groups on the Tsunami disaster:
 Tsunami Display Board of the International Programs Division (near the Blackhawk
Cafeteria) has various information and donation opportunities and channels to help
and reach the victims.
 It also contains contact information of organizations doing relief work such as
“Doctors without Borders”.
 Southeast Asia Cultural Night is another fundraising activity spearheaded by NIU
students (Indonesian and Southeast Asian Club members)
 A SILENT AUCTION sponsored by Southeast Asia Club has been scheduled for
February 25. Proceeds of the cultural night and the Silent Auction will go to
tsunami victims in affected areas of the region.
 Student members are looking for art crafts from Sri Lanka as well as other Southeast
Asian artifacts to sell in the auction. Items can be donated by contacting the
International Training Office or Jen Weidmann at [email protected]
 The discussion on the impact of the disaster on the current project:
 Jaya explained to the AC that the inauguration of the Diploma Course, which was scheduled
for January 25, 2005 is officially postponed until early March, 2005.
 SLIDA, the major implementing institution of the Diploma Course, is eagerly waiting for
further announcements before they can start program.
 The course will include two new modules (1) Medium-term Trauma Care for Healing and (2)
Community Revitalization for Recovery Planning
 A small amount of money has been allocated for the Model Villages of the GROW I Project.
GROW advisory committee in Sri Lanka will decide how to use some portion of this money
for a reconstruction project in one of the model villages affected by the tsunami.
 Inquiry about the Presidential Scholars – so far there is no update about the training program
for the Sri Lankan scholars. Jaya explained that since they are holding key government posts,
they are most probably be very pre-occupied with disaster relief assistance and in-charge of
recovery and reconstruction efforts in the country.
 Other Issues:
 Jaya presented a request from a GROW partner in Sri Lanka for resource materials on
helping the victims in the healing process. Dr. Phyllis Cunningham volunteered to contact a
possible resource person, Theresa McDonnell whose professional expertise in disaster
management.
 CENWOR has held several meetings with GROW partners to discuss relief work related to
tsunami victims.
 A copy of the GROW Manual that was completed by Jaya, with help from Laurel, was
circulated among the AC members.


Phyllis requested Laurel and Jaya to write an article on the GROW Project for the
Convergence journal and also a review of the GROW manual. She indicated that these will
be ideal themes for the journal.
The next meeting of the advisory group in Sri Lanka (CAG) will be held on Monday,
January 31, 2005 to discuss and decide when to start the implementation of the Diploma
Course.
 The next meeting of NIU Advisory Committee is scheduled for March 2, 2005 at 10:00 am,
Conference Room, Learning Center.
 The meeting was adjourned at 12:00 Noon.
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