(photo credit: IsraAID)
Exactly one year after the tsunami, israAID and international aid organization Project Galle are launching an exhibit of 1,000 photographs in Galle, Sri Lanka. The display documents encounters between tsunami victims and volunteers in internally displaced people (IDP) camps in the Galle region.
"These photos capture a moment of change in the lives of people who have lost everything within one moment. For them, the photo constitutes a link between the past and the future. It is especially valuable to the traumatized children, because it helps them to accept the new structure of their family," said project coordinator Dana Manor.
"Many of the approximately 1,000 [Israeli] volunteers who came to the region in the aftermath of the 2004 natural disaster are now returning to Sri Lanka for the tragic anniversary." Manor will return to Israel herself in three days, with "mixed feelings."
The exhibit is about "who helped whom," showing a part of the psychosocial aid given to the people affected by the tsunami, Manor explained.
Over the past four months, israAID took portraits of about 4,500 families living in refugee camps in the Galle region. IsraAID founder Schachar Zahavi said it was "very touching" to see thousands of people lining up for photographs.
The Israeli organization is still very involved in the region. On Saturday a school, rebuilt by israAID, was reopened in the village of Balapatiya.
"The children were so happy with their new school. And they were lucky that the tsunami came on a Sunday when they weren't at school," Manor said.
IsraAID has decided to continue its rehabilitation projects in the region for a further three years.