Tokyo Cement Gifts Clean Drinking Water to Three Villages in Poonakary

Three villages in Poonakary (also known as Pooneryn) in the Kilinochchi District were gifted with purified drinking water facilities by Tokyo Cement Group in partnership with Re-Awakening Lanka.  Over two thousand residents in Veravil, Valaippaadu and Veerapandiyamunai, in Ponnaveli Grama Niladhari Division within the Poonakary AGA Division in Kilinochchi will now gain access to clean drinking water thanks to this project.  The project was carried out under the patronage and guidance of the Poonakary Divisional Secretariat.

Mr. E. Kugapriya – Director, Tokyo Eastern Cement Co./General Manager, Power & Energy led the Tokyo Cement Team who implemented the water purification solutions.  This included refurbishing three existing wells and installing water pumps and tanks to store water for purification.  St. Anthony’s Hydro Division supported the project by designing a customised water purification solution after studying the hydrology of the area.  Based on the technical evaluation of groundwater quality, three Pure Hydro® water purification solutions with Reverse Osmosis Technology were implemented at the three locations.  As part of this far-reaching humanitarian project, Tokyo Cement will also undertake to maintain and service the water purification plants during the first three years of installation by working closely with a community representative to ensure the sustainable upkeep of the system.  The drinking water facility gifted to the people of Veravil, Valaippaadu and Veerapandiyamunai fulfils a much-needed basic requirement of the thousands of people in the area.

Tokyo Cement Group sponsored the project with Appé Lanka, a rural development project by Re-Awakening Lanka involved in numerous social upliftment and village empowerment programs mainly focused on women and children in the North and East.  They helped identify three of the most deserving villages to install water purification plants based on their experience in working in the area for several years.  Commenting on the deep impact this project will create in the lives of people from Poonakary, Mrs. Shaan Corea, Founder/CEO of Re-Awakening Lanka/Appé Lanka said, “In stage 1 of our project, 21 schools in the Poonakary Division were given safe drinking water within 18 months. This was possible because so many people and organizations contributed in numerous ways to make it possible.  If a village like Poonakary stretches out their hand to us, we need to try to do what we can, in any way possible, to help these people.  Today, Tokyo Cement has partnered with us as we embark on stage 2 of “Let them bloom, give them water”, starting with Ponnaveli, by giving them what we take for granted: safe water.”

The three villages, Veravil, Valaippaadu and Veerapandiyamunai has over 2000 residents belonging to 500 families whose livelihood is based on fishing and farming.  A fresh-water Well situated in each village was used for cooking and cleaning purposes, fulfilling only a part of the water requirement of the people and that too was not available during the dry season.  Villagers had access to a limited amount of potable water due to high salinity and hardness of ground water along the coastal belt, and had to expend a significant portion of their meagre income to purchase drinking water on a daily basis.  During the rainy season when the bowsers could not reach the villages, people used to collect rain water in plastic containers for their day-to-day use.  In most of these villages it was a common sight to see children whose schools had clean drinking water facilities, carrying at least one bottle of water for their families back home on their way from school.  Given the salinity and hardness of the water, the community ran the risk of getting kidney diseases and other health complications.  The Divisional Secretariat and the Provincial Council were providing an exceptional service to mitigate the situation by supplying water bowsers for the villages.

Mr. Salinda Kandapola, Manager Corporate Sustainability at Tokyo Cement Co. (Lanka) PLC., commenting on this benevolent project said, “Water is one of the basic human needs and since most parts of our country is blessed with good quality drinking water, we tend to take it for granted.  However, there are thousands of people who do not have access to potable water to fulfil even their basic requirements.  And due to the scarcity of clean potable water, people are exposed to many water-related diseases such as the Chronic Kidney Disease which has a devastating effect on the lives in certain parts of the country.  Having identified this issue, when Appé Lanka approached us with their request to supply purified drinking water facilities to three villages in Poonakary, we eagerly took up the prospect.  Our sister organization, St. Anthony’s Hydro Division willingly supported us with their expertise in Water Purification Technology which made this project a reality.  We are immensely pleased to have given the people of Poonakary much needed access to life giving clean drinking water.”

The gift of clean drinking water for the people in Poonakary in the Kilinochchi District is the most recent social responsibility initiative undertaken by Tokyo Cement Group.  The Company is among the leading blue-chip companies that have deployed several social empowerment projects that have a far-reaching impact on the people of our country.  Tokyo Cement Group’s commitment to social responsibility breathes life through initiatives such as this, by which they successfully integrate social welfare and environmental conservation into its corporate DNA as part of their vision to be the leading partner in Nation-building.