Victoria Gardens brings style to Seenigama
One of the best ever tsunami projects has been unveiled in Seenigama with the completion of the “Victoria Gardens” housing project. These unique modern-styled double storey duplex homes complete with modern amenities, essential household items, electricity, drainage systems, purified water, central sewerage, a stylish community centre, a grocery store, a children’s playground of Australian design and paved roads were handed over to 84 beneficiary families within the 100metre zone of Seenigama. This was the most badly affected of areas by the tsunami which claimed the lives of many of the beneficiaries’ siblings.
It is a rare development in the post-tsunami housing era, one that is superior in such a rural community. The tarred roads, beautiful play-parks and the fully equipped community centre display somewhat the Australian influence in creating an environment which provides a sense of community and unity to the occupants of these homes.
This project would not have been successful if not for the compassion and support extended by the Victorian State Government and the people of Victoria. The officials who have been involved include the former Victorian Premier Hon. Steve Bracks, the current Premier Hon. John Brumby, Mr John Thwaites (Former Deputy Prime Minister), Dr Peter Frost (Director of the Victorian State Government Tsunami Rehabilitation Fund), Leo Van Der Toorren (Director – Department of Premier and Cabinet), Ms Sue Williams (Project Manager), the contractors of Global Modular Housing Australia, in particular Mr Bob Bairstowe and Mr Altaf Jeevunjee of Jaywise Constructions, not forgetting Mr Vikum Sriyan for his superbly coordinated effort as the head of housing division. The project was also supported by the Australian Red Cross, Incolink Reconstruction and Development Authority (Rada) Sri Lanka.
Special acknowledgement needs to be made of Ms Sue Williams in particular whose untiring efforts driven with commitment and dedication have seen the success of this project, along with so much support provided by the rest of the team.
Having interviewed some of the beneficiaries of this exciting project, the responses we received were nothing less than heart-warming. According to Mrs S.H Jayalath Padmini “Before the tsunami struck we were living a normal life but once the tragedy occurred our lives were dramatically changed and we have been living in limbo for the last 3 years, living in temporary houses. Now we can enjoy having our own home and return to a life of normalcy. Having received this wonderful gift of our own home is unbelievable and it has been a dream come true”. Mr P.H Mithrasena also shared the same thoughts “We are thrilled to have received such an enormous gift which has never come our way before. It is indeed a blessing and we are most grateful to the Foundation of Goodness and the Victorian State Government for changing our lives for the better and making this dream come true”.
One of the key features is the inspirational boards that are displayed all over the housing park highlighting goodness and kindness to promote one’s well-being and happiness to lead a life of fulfillment with peace and contentment.
Although the completion process was delayed due to continuous rain and also the high standards in quality all around, including a filling of the entire land, the beneficiaries were not forgotten during this period. They were all given a package of groceries each month by the Victorian State Government and the Foundation of Goodness for nearly 2 years.
They will indeed agree that this project was worth waiting for in receiving this exceptional gift. Victoria Gardens is one-of-a-kind project, quite rare in a village community and no doubt the enormous difficulties experienced by the beneficiary families over the 3 years living in trying conditions came to an end with such an amazing development including the star-class facilities bringing more colour and vibrance to a village in the wake of a wave.
‘Difficulties mastered are opportunities won’
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