DOING THINGS DIFFERENTLY To Make a Difference

Berendina initially commenced operations in the Eastern Province in 2005 on a small scale in the aftermath of the December 2004 Tsunami. Assistance was given to affected coastal villages in the Batticaloa and Ampara Districts, notably providing seine fishing nets and boats to 32 fishing groups which helped revive the livelihoods of around 460 families. In addition, 50 tsunami affected families in the Dutch Bar area of Batticaloa were also provided with livelihood support.

Operations were officially expanded  to the Eastern province, notably Trincomalee District in October 2007 and covered the entire Eastern province till September 2010, through its Post-tsunami response project by providing loans and grants to small and medium scale businesses which created 675 new job opportunities.

BDS commenced its livelihood assistance programmes for EAP families in the Kuchchaveli DS Division in Trincomalee District in April 2011. The programme has supported over 400 EAP families with agricultural equipment, livestock, working capital, training and extension services to start income generation activities throughout the Kuchchaveli DS division.

Apart from livelihood assistance, BDS has also been providing educational assistance to needy students in the Trincomalee district through provision of bright student scholarships and through the sponsorships of various educational seminars for students in the Trincomalee district since 2011.

Numerous rural infrastructure development projects such as construction of tube wells and community wells, renovation of damaged agricultural infrastructure, construction and repairing of pre-school buildings, assistance to nurseries and schools through provision of required educational and sports equipment have been implemented since 2011 in Trincomalee district. In addition to this community programs such as celebration of children, elders and differently abled people's day are also implemented in the district. BDS has also supported recently resettled conflict affected families with assistance to expand their temporary shelters.

Most notably the re-settlement village of Thennamaravady, consisting of around 100 resettled families in the Kuchchaveli DS Division was provided with assistance for provision of safe drinking water by BDS in 2013. BDS also renovated an anicut in the village of Vannanthurai in the Thennamaravady area supplying water to over 400 acres of paddy land and benefitting around 100 farmers.

BDS also funded a Street Light Project in the Navatcholai area in Trincomalee in 2013. The entire expenses related to fixing of the lights was undertaken by BDS and benefits 3 villages in the Kuchchaveli Pradeshiya Sabha namely the villages of Navatcholai, Thiriyai and Kokkilai.

Formal expansion of BDS work in Batticaloa district began with the establishment of a BDS district office in February 2014 and the main focus in Batticaloa district are assisting destitute families/beneficiaries through provision of monthly allowances, grant based livelihood support and housing, providing scholarships to needy bright students and community infrastructure projects. During 2014 work in the district was primarily focused in the Manmunai West and Manmunai South West DS Divisions. 

One of the key programs implemented in Batticaloa district during 2014 was to provide water connections and trainings to promote good sanitation practices benefitting 1000 families in three villages in the Eravur Pattu DS Division. In addition, an initiative to promote sustainable fishing in the Batticaloa lagoon was also initiated during December 2014. Through this 189 lagoon fishermen in Batticaloa District will be provided with interest free loans to obtain legal fishing nets and accessories along with awareness raising on the negative impact of engaging in illegal fishing practices.