(Srilankamirror) – US Ambassador to Sri Lanka Patricia A. Butenis has visited Batticaloa to open projects completed by the United States Agency for International Development, the development arm of the US Embassy.
Ambassador Butenis inaugurated three projects – a bakery in Vakarai, Batticaloa, staff quarters at the Pulipanchakal School, and a children’s park at the lighthouse complex in Batticaloa.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the newly-renovated and -equipped bakery, Ambassador Butenis said, “From the beginning, Vakarai has been a central focus for our aid programs. The area was affected by the conflict for more than thirty years, and the population needed support to get back on its feet. Women from the area who are members of the Society will benefit from these developments.”
Located on an increasingly busy road connecting Trincomalee, Batticaloa and Ampara, the bakery will give the women of Vakarai a much-needed opportunity.
The women, many of whom are war widows and heads-of-households, received USAID and other donor-supported training in business management and microfinance.
USAID also trained them on the fundamentals of marketing and sales, financial management and business planning, and provided technical assistance to develop a detailed business plan, ensuring the sustainability of the enterprise.
Society member Malarvelli said, “In the past, we looked forward to buying bakery products, but now we are proud to be making and selling them ourselves.”
In Pulipanchakal, Korralaipattu South, Batticaloa, Ambassador Butenis opened the newly-constructed staff quarters at the Pulipanchakal School.
Since 2008, USAID and the US Pacific Command have supported the school by constructing classrooms, providing electricity and building water, sanitation and drainage facilities.
Thanks to these infrastructure improvements, the school can now accommodate students up to grade eight, and teachers can make use of on-site living quarters, helping to guarantee year-round instruction.
During her visit, Ambassador Butenis also opened a newly-constructed children’s park at the lighthouse complex in Batticaloa.
The Batticaloa lighthouse, renovated with USAID funds in 2008, has recently benefitted from further USAID support, including lightning arresters and electrical wiring.
The American people, through the US Agency for International Development, have provided development and humanitarian assistance in developing countries worldwide for nearly 50 years.
Since 1956, the US government has invested over $2 billion to benefit all the people of Sri Lanka.