Photography plays a big part in my life and God has shown me much of His wondrous beauty over the years. I have been blessed to be traveling frequently for overseas assignments. Sri Lanka is one of the places. I have witnessed Sri Lanka before and after the Tsunami. Since the Tsunami struck on 26 Dec 2004. Media and news have covered extensively the areas affected and many people have stretched their hands to help financially and spiritually. News of such disasters come and go very fast. People tend to forget about these happenings and we move on in life in the peaceful banner. However, there is still much to be done. 150km of houses have been swept away along the eastern coast of Sri Lanka. This is the area that has been devastated the most as it is the first place that the Tsunami struck. The balance of the tidal waves went on to hit the southern coast of Sri Lanka. The southern coast is a more touristy area that has received much aid and about 70% of the houses have been restored. The eastern coast being nearer to the Tamil Tigers area has seen very slow progress in the restoration of the houses.
Hence we have decided to embark on The Rice Project. What is The Rice Project all about? Rice is a staple for the people of Sri Lanka. Many families are used to consuming rice for all their meals. With the support of Canon, Cathay Photo, and a few other sponsors, we have managed to purchase 16000 kg of rice. In August 2007, a team of six from theredtree and the 6 winners of the online photo competition embarked on a journey to distribute rice to more than 500 families in the Batticaloa and Trincomalee area. We worked with Habitat for Humanity http://www.hfhsl.org/where.html to identify the families who have a greater need and visited them to distribute the rice. Rice is just a catalyst and we hope that through the distribution of rice and by capturing the journey, we are able to share with everyone the real situation in Sri Lanka. The people really need help to rebuild the houses that are once called home.
There are many stories to be told and it really changes our perspectives of life. What is a recession? To the Sri Lankans who do not have a permanent shelter over their heads, the recession is just a passing wind as compared to the Tsunami that has taken away their hope. We did not realize how significant it is to have a home until I met the people from Habitat for Humanity. Statistics have shown that the risks of the female gender being sexually abused are reduced by 50% if they have a permanent roof over their heads. In addition, the kids who have a permanent home do excel better academically and can look for a brighter future.
With my warm felt heart, I would like to invite you for the Official Opening of The Rice Project Photo Exhibition
Date: 13 Feb 2009
Venue: VivoCity, South Court and South Avenue (Ground Level)
Duration of Exhibition: 13 Feb to 22 Feb 2009 (10am to 10pm daily)
Through this exhibition, we hope to recreate public awareness of their situation and hope to raise funds to help the restoration of the house. All Donations are to be made directly to Habitat for Humanity. We are people who believed in using what we do best to create publicity through our images and videos. Our target is to raise 100K and the cost to build each house is SG$2000. This will help to build about 50 basic houses and with more funds that we raise... more houses will be built. Remember you are not just building a house for them... but a home.
Here is a video clip to help you know a little more about The Rice Project http://vimeo.com/3104248
Besides the documentary on rice distribution, you will also experience Sri Lanka through the lens of 2 videographers and 10 photographers' work.
Do come and join me and I hope to catch up with you again and share with you more stories about beautiful Sri Lanka.