This is Vassar: The newsletter for Vassar College Alumnae/i and Families

Photos courtesy of V. Mahapatra

Student-run Tsunami Relief Task Force Helps Build Sri Lankan School

The tsunami that ravaged Southeast Asia in 2004 caused over 230,000 casualties and widespread destruction.  Driven by a desire to help, a group of Vassar students banded together to form the Tsunami Relief Task Force (TRTF). Through numerous events, including student concerts and panel discussions, the TRTF successfully raised $10,000, which helped finance the construction of the Little Angels Yashoda Preschool in the Kirinda district of southern Sri Lanka. Vivek Mahapatra '05, the group’s founder, explained the accomplishment was due to the enthusiasm and generosity of the classes of 2005–2008 and their relatives, friends, and families, along with that of the faculty and administration at Vassar.

Sri Lankan schoolroomMahapatra travelled to Kirinda in March 2010 and fondly recalled: “The children at the preschool greeted me with flowers. Some children even touched my feet to express respect. I was overwhelmed.” During his visit, Mahapatra spent a day with the children, teachers, and two Sri Lankan philanthropists to understand what else the preschool needed. The TRTF continues to raise money to provide electricity to the classroom and improve the safety conditions of the school. They hope to eventually construct an additional building and hire more staff to help students with learning disabilities.

September 2010

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