Ranaviru Seva Authority: hope for the War Heroes

October 01, 2021

Ranaviru Seva Authority: hope for the War Heroes

By Camelia Nathaniel

 

During the 30-year war against LTTE terrorists, the members of the Tri-Forces and the Police played a vital role in ensuring the security of the country and its citizens as well as fighting for the freedom of the country.

However, it is a regrettable fact that while the war was won in 2009 and the people’s freedom was restored through the brave and selfless sacrifices made by our War Heroes, they and their families who still suffer having lost their breadwinners, are today forgotten. But, it is and should be the duty and responsibility of all of us to ensure a secure and safe future for the War Heroes who freed this country from the terrorists and there is much to be done on behalf of the War Heroes who sacrificed their lives and limbs for the sake of the safety of Sri Lankan society and their families.

Under President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s Policy Framework “Vistas of Prosperity and Splendour”, the Ranaviru Seva Authority (RVSA) was granted Rs. 750 million through the Treasury for the first time since its establishment in 2000, in order to provide a better service to the disabled soldiers.

Speaking to the Daily News, the current RVSA Chairman Major General (Rtd) Nandana Senadeera explained the role played by the RVSA and its current functions.

“The role of the Ranaviru Seva Authority is ensuring the mental and social stability of the disabled War Heroes and the families of those who have died in action. What we do is, we look after the wounded and disabled soldiers and the family members of the War Heroes who died in action. We have implemented several projects for their benefit. The priority is given to the aftercare and rehabilitation of the wounded and disabled members of the Armed Forces and the Police. In terms of aftercare, we assist them in getting a prosthetic limb if the injured soldier requires it or even wheelchairs, spectacles or hearing aids etc. In fact, we take care of their day-to-day needs. In addition, we also provide these disabled soldiers with houses for those who are in need. We obtain their details through the district secretaries and the Grama Sevaka of their area. With the assistance of the National Housing Authority, we ensure that they have a roof above their heads. Then after checking their details, we provide those who don’t have houses with a decent house to live comfortably. In fact, we also provide them transport to take them to the hospital to receive medical treatment whenever they require.”

The RVSA also provides equipment for the disabled such as hand aids, crutches, wheelchairs, prosthetic legs, etc to these War Heroes. In addition, the RVSA aids to construct bathrooms with sanitary equipment in order to uplift their sanitary conditions and to ease their day-to-day living needs. When sanitary facilities are provided to persons with disabilities, it is required to have appropriate toilets, taps, access roads and water supply to meet their needs. That helps not only the disabled but also the caregivers.

The RVSA Chairman said that the provision of houses, lands, financial aid, concessionary loans, technical know-how, and assistance to construct houses for the War Heroes who are disabled and their dependents are also top priority projects carried out under the purview of the RVSA.

In addition, the RVSA also grants scholarships for the children studying from Grade 6 to GCE O/L, and children selected to universities, colleges of education and other higher educational institutes. Further, the children who pass the Grade 5 Scholarship Examination are appreciated. The scholarships are granted monthly for children of low-income families.

The RVSA also grants assistance for these War Heroes and their dependent families to engage in self-employment projects such as agriculture, technical and commercial enterprises. We give them loans up to Rs. one million. This project commenced under the present Government after the Defence Secretary made this proposal to the President and got approval for it under the President’s ‘Vistas of Prosperity’ vision. There are so many soldiers who are not doing anything although they are capable. The reason is that they don’t have the capital to start a business of their own. So, we provide them Rs. one million at a service charge of five percent. Then we also grant them housing loans of Rs. one million.

For those who have partially built houses or need repairs to their houses, we also provide Rs. one million loans at a service charge of five percent. That was also started under the present Government’s Policy Framework ‘Vistas of Prosperity’.

We also provide these War Heroes lands to construct their houses under this programme.

Medical aid is also provided to the War Heroes and their immediate families. We also provide up to Rs. 75,000 as a donation for medical purposes and for those who require funds for operations etc, we also grant loans of up to Rs. 500,000.

Under the Mapiya Surekuma programme, parents of the deceased War Heroes who are married are granted a monthly income of Rs. 2,250 for a single parent and if both parents are living, a monthly income of Rs. 3,000 which attributes to Rs. 1,500 each parent. This programme was initiated as if the War Hero is married his pension or salary is paid to his wife and in most instances, the parents are neglected and are helpless. Hence, this programme was initiated to provide these parents with some assistance for their sustenance. In addition, an allowance is provided to the parents of the War Heroes demised, disappeared or retired on medical grounds amounting to Rs. 750.

There are also around 50–60 Ranaviru Villages islandwide and assistance is also granted to improve the infrastructure facilities and facilities such as libraries, community centres and playgrounds are all maintained through the funds provided by the RVSA.

The RVSA also maintains the Mailapitiya War Heroes Memorial Park which is a National Remembrance Park (NRP) situated on a 15–16-acre block of land overlooking the backwaters of the Victoria Reservoir in Kandy, a place of ecologically sound and serene beauty.

Further, the “Virusara” Privilege Card has been introduced to the War Heroes who have been sent on retirement due to disabilities sustained on the battlefield and to the closest relatives of the War Heroes who have laid down their lives during the war and those who are disappeared. With the Privilege Card, the disabled War Heroes and the parents of the War Heroes who sacrificed their lives and disappeared can obtain a number of relief facilities during their daily banking activities, financial and leasing activities, medical treatments, education and higher education opportunities etc. This is a card which helps to instil a sense of self-confidence and pride in the War Hero community.

Scholarship programme

The RVSA also grants scholarships to the children of these War Heroes under several categories. The RVSA Chairman explained, “The first is the GCE O/L Scholarship scheme where students from Grade 6 to GCE O/L are considered and Rs. 500 is granted to each student per month for their educational needs. At present, for the year 2021, the RVSA has granted this allowance to 1,526 children. The next is the scholarship scheme for A/L students where they are granted Rs. 1,500 per month for a period of two years and around 410 students are currently receiving this allowance. Further, the RVSA also grants higher education scholarships to students who pass the A/L exams and enter the university. Under this scheme, students receive a monthly allowance of Rs. 3,000 per month over a period of four years. Currently, 262 students are receiving this allowance from the RVSA.”

Another scheme implemented under this programme is the ‘Skills Promotion Aid’ scheme where Rs. 50,000 is granted per student for vocational training courses for those who have not passed the GCE O/L and GCE A/L examinations in order to equip them with skills to enable them to find employment. Currently, 10 such persons are receiving this allowance to follow vocational training courses. This allowance of Rs. 50,000 is granted per course per student to follow courses such as driving, computer education etc. Maj. Gen. Senadeera noted that this year, the numbers are low due to the pandemic and many such courses are being on hold due to the travel restrictions and lockdowns.

The RVSA has also implemented another scholarship programme titled, ‘Skills Development Loans’ where a maximum sum of Rs. 500,000 is granted for students to take up courses locally or in a foreign country. Currently, there are five students who are receiving this loan under this scheme.

In addition, the RVSA Director Major General (Rtd) Kithsiri Ekanayake said that there is another programme called the ‘Foster Parents Scholarship Project’ where students of these War Heroes are funded through donations. “Under this scheme, students whose parent had died due to natural causes, accidents etc. but not due to the war, are funded for their education by donors who volunteer to assist these children. We contact donors from among our friends and contacts locally and abroad and these students are granted Rs. 500 each per month and this year alone there are around 1,000 students who are receiving this allowance. This programme commenced in 2005 and to date around 17,000 students have received this allowance.”

The RVSA also operates a special needs school for the differently-abled students of these service personnel.

Under President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s Policy Framework “Vistas of Prosperity and Splendour”, the Ranaviru Seva Authority (RVSA) was granted Rs. 750 million through the Treasury for the first time since its establishment in 2000, in order to provide a better service to the disabled soldiers.

Madhusha Darshani Jayantha, 3rd year medical student, Medical Faculty, Jaffna University

“The role of the Ranaviru Seva Authority is ensuring the mental and social stability of the disabled War Heroes and the families of those who have died in action. What we do is, we look after the wounded and disabled soldiers and the family members of the War Heroes who died in action”

I am the daughter of Sergeant Jayantha D.D.N.(230605), who passed away on February 11, 2011, while working under the Sri Lanka Army. My mother receives the pension for widows and orphans for the services rendered by my father. Actually, it is not enough for my mother to spend on my studies. So, I am grateful to the Ranaviru Seva Authority for helping me to do my studies successfully. I receive a monthly allowance of Rs. 3000 for my studies and also the RVSA Chairman’s wife Rekha Senadeera is providing me additional Rs. 3000. I cannot put into words the help they give me to continue my education successfully in the midst of many economic difficulties. I am very grateful to the Ranaviru Seva Authority as well as to the madam for her help which I see as an act of true humanity. Thank you so much for your invaluable help. Proud to be the daughter of the best father and also for getting to know and associate with such great people.


R.M. Dhanusha Yohani Rathnayake

I was born in the Kuda Bellankadawala village in Thambuttegama, Anuradhapura. My father was from Kandy and we lived in Kandy for some time but, after the demise of my father, my mother had moved to Anuradhapura. I was just four years old when I lost my father. I have an elder brother and he works for a garment factory.

My father had joined the Army in 1985 and had been deployed in the war-torn areas having been attached to the medical corps. I vaguely remember my father and the way he used to pet me.

My father sustained gunshot injuries to both legs in 1992 and although one leg healed, the other did not and he was disabled. Due to that he developed a nerve issue and he passed away from a heart attack in 2009. Now, only my mother and I are at home.

My mother had no income after the demise of my father and although she later received the Widows and Orphans Pension, she found it hard to make the ends meet as well as educate my brother and me. She had no other support and even Rs. 500 that we received from the RVSA was a big help to us. She used that money for my tuition classes. However, now we receive Rs. 1,000 and I am currently preparing for my O/L exams.

I realise that a lot has to be spent on my classes and I feel very sorry for my mother’s plight. Hence, I am determined to pass my exam in one go. My mother is always ill as she is 56 years. We miss our father very much that no words could explain, but thanks to the kind-hearted people who have come forward to help us, I am blessed to be able to continue my studies.


Rashmi Navoda Bandara

I am studying for my A/Ls and I have two younger sisters. My father sustained injuries in 2014 in Muhamale and was disabled. Even at the time of my birth, my father had already lost his right hand and leg.

I remember asking my father about his injuries and I was really saddened by his story. But, he told me never to give up and take it as a challenge to build a strong personality.

Thanks to the assistance given to us by the RVSA, it has enabled me to continue with my studies with the assurance that we are not alone and there are others who care about us. The scholarship assistance given to me by the RVSA has also helped me develop my knowledge and I am determined to further my studies. It is only through a sound education that I can overcome all the hurdles before us and be a source of strength to my parents and siblings. Therefore, I thank the RVSA for helping me to achieve my educational goals.

 

Courtesy - dailynews.lk