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UNIFUND DINNER—2ND SEPTEMBER 2012s
The Yaarl Function Center at Pendle Hill was almost filled to capacity on the evening of Sunday, 2nd September 2012 with over eighty sponsors, well wishers and members of the Unifund attending the Unifund Dinner this year. It was an occasion for all participants to get a feedback on the activities of the Unifund, a detailed account of the hardships experienced by students, youth and others in our homeland and also to share mutual experiences in rendering assistance.

Sriram Jeyaram, the former President of Anjali Tamil Society of UNSW performed well as MC. Two youths, namely Mayuran Thatparanathan, Treasurer of Unifund Team and Sriram Jeyaram, the MC shared with the audience their first hand experiences of meeting with students in person during their recent visits to Jaffna.

A video clip produced by Sujeethan Yogarasa, a student receiving support from Unifund was shown. It exhibited the multi talents of the producer who himself a beneficiary of Unifund support was actively engaged in supporting needy students and others in the region. The video clip included a short film titled ADI VAANAM in Tamil. It depicted how hard poverty strikes the young in a society hard hit by war. One was reminded of the saying of the great Tamil poet Avvaiyar “kodithu, kodithu varumai kodithu; athanilum kodumai, ilamayil varumai”. The short film, produced in a single day with very limited resources made a lasting impression on the audience.

Dr. P. Ketheswaran briefed about the `20 years service of Unifund project’ and the reasons behind the student sponsorship program, revamped after Vanni War in mid 2009. Dr. Chitra Harinesan described in detail how heart rending it was to listen over the phone to the woes of the affected students and said that it was of much relief to those students to realize that there were people overseas to give a sympathetic ear to their woes. Video messages from the Vice Chancellor of Jaffna University, Prof. Vasathni Arasaratnam and Rev. A. Naveranam (Batticoloa) were played. Dr. V. Mano Mohan spoke of future projects of the Unifund, about journals and the library, about expanding the scope of assistance rendered by Unifund etc., etc.

It was brought to light that Unifund is currently supporting 82 students at the University of Jaffna and 17 students at the Eastern University. The number of students who completed their studies last year with Unifund assistance was 19 and this year a further 24 students will complete their studies. Unifund is currently looking for sponsors for another 15 students in the waiting list. Announcement of these needs brought forth spontaneous responses from two participants at the Dinner with one offering a lump sum contribution and another offering a video camera to the producer of the film referred to above.

A Vote of Thanks was given by Dr. Chitra Harinesan.
 
Our Future Projects
1)Establishing an E-Library for UOJ.
Online teaching and resources are vital now and in the future. The universities are now widely using `tablet’ device such as iPad for regular teaching, research, and to submit their assignments, thesis and tutorials. The new technology is paramount for faster and better future, to share vast amount of information in their fingertips.

Therefore the Unifund team has proposed an establishment of an `e -Library’ at the University of Jaffna. This proposal has been approved by the Vice Chancellor of the University of Jaffna, Prof. Vasanthi Arasaratnam.

Initially we hope to establish the `e – Library’ at the Medical faculty. Then it will be expanded to other faculties. We also plan to start with the academic Journals, then to bring textbooks and other materials. The journals will be shortlisted by a group of academics and the academic staff of each of the faculties of the University of Jaffna.

The UOJ will provide the computers for this project and University IT department will help to establish the network throughout the university. The journals can be subscribed through Unifund project or directly through the University main Library. Please contact us for any further information.

2) Running a series of Academic Programs throughout the year to focus on the deficiencies in the faculties. This is for staff and students in their disciplines or other Topics such as leadership, administration and social issues. There are many of us travelling to Jaffna who do not have right contacts to help the UOJ. We can have a network where they can register themselves and establish useful contacts.

3) Encourage and provide mutual support for new research by establishing new links with Australia and other countries. If possible, we try to fund local research projects.
 
Rev. A. Navaretnam (Coordinator, Unifund, Batticoloa)
 
Unifund Project @ UOJ
We are proud to say that the Unifund project provides financial assistance to 71 undergraduates at the University of Jaffna (UOJ). These students are from Arts (31 Students), Management (18 Students), Fine Arts (9 Students), and others (13 Students) faculties. Australian Medical Aid Foundation (AMAF) sponsors 30 medical students of UOJ.
 
EVENING TEA WITH UNIFUND
Since the inception of the new Unifund project in July 2009, the Unifund project sponsors 90 students in the University of Jaffna and the Eastern University. The Unifund project has contributed Rs. 3.5 million as sponsorship for the disadvantaged students in a year. The Unifund project now has 41 individual and 5 group sponsors.

The Unifund project organised an `evening tea’ to thank our sponsors on the 19th September 2010 at the Reg Byrne Community hall, Wentworthville. After Tea, coffee and short eats were served to the guests; the official session began at 4.30PM with a minute silence for victims of civil war in Sri Lanka. Dr. V. Manomohan chaired the session and presented a power point presentation about the Unifund project. Mr. P. Arulananthan (Unifund member) described the opportunity he had to meet many of the sponsored students and University officials in Jaffna. More details are available on out website (www.theunifundproject.org).
   
 
There were interviews, information session and forum. Mr. Jeyakumar (Assistant Registrar for welfare, Jaffna Uni) and Dr. Surenthirakumar shared their views and explained how they run the project in Jaffna and benefits for the students. Three of the recipient students were also linked by telephone to share the real situation of students. The students thanked sponsors for their financial support. Following a short discussion, the meeting concluded at 6.15PM.

The members of Unifund made the following requests to the well wishers: 1)to inform their friends and family members in order to get more sponsors for needy students. There are 15 students currently waiting for financial support. 2)To help in the administrative tasks of the Unifund Project.

It was nice to see some of the members of the audience come forward at the end of the session to offer their help. Let us hope that we can support more disadvantaged students in the future.

Admin
The Unifund Project.
 
`War is Over' is an article by Udul Premarathne, Convener, Inter university students’ federation (SL) He writes about horrible situations of the school & University students due to recent war.
 
URGENT REQUEST FOR SPONSORSHIPS FOR 50 MORE STUDENTS
 

In April and May, more than 100 students of University of Jaffna have been released from the IDP camps. Some of these students went to live with their parents after being in the IDP camps for such a long time. Over 50 students have applied for funds from Unifund project through the Vice chancellor’s office. The President of the Student Union (Jaffna University) also requested financial assistance for 35 students those who have no financial support from their families. The unifund project has decided to sponsor further 50 students for their financial needs.

With the additional intake of these 50 students, the Unifund project accepted over 130 students from Jaffna University and the Eastern University. All the sponsorships of the Unifund project are expected to exceed $80,000 annum. Note: 25 of these students directly receive financial assistance from the Australian Medical Aid Foundation (AMAF).

 
 

Many students were traumatised due the Vanni war in 2009. They carry mental and physical scars. Meet two of these university students who are sharing their stories and daily problems with us. Many of these students are waiting for your financial help.

 

UBNIFUND REPRESENTATIVE MET WITH THE JAFFNA UNIVERSITY OFFICIALS AND THE UNIVERSITY STUDENTS (RECEIPIENTS)

 

Mr. Ponniah Arulananthan (Member of Unifund project) has recently visited Jaffna and met with the University officials and the students. On behalf of the University, Dr. T. Velnamby (Senior Student Councillor), Mr. Yogeswaran Jeyakumar (Assistant Registrar for welfare), Mr. Chandrasegaram (Deputy Chief Marshall) and the President of the University Student Union participated and observed and shared their views and opinions.

 
 

Mr. Y. Jeyakumar opened his address by sating, “though there are a number of groups providing financial assistance to our students, the Unifund project is the only project that is consistent, reliable and operates under the guidelines of the University. This is the only project that is operated through the Vice chancellor’s fund. I’m very happy to work with the project.”

 
 
Then Mr. Arulanatham explained the aims and objectives of the Unifund project and how does it operate.
 
 
 

Dr. Balamurugan spoke about depression and medical issues that are common amongst the displaced University students. He told the students to contact him whenever they need medical or psychological support.

 
 
 
 

It was a very fruitful meeting where the students shared their experiences and further needs. There were over 40 students in the discussion. A student representative told the audience that `we did not have any hope for immediate help when we were released from the IDP camps, but within a few days to weeks, we started receiving sponsorship money from Australian `UNIFUND PROJECT’. Furthermore, the intention of helping us in medical and psychological aspect of the students is great. The project also extends it’s help to our family to find a business or job. We are very thankful to the Unifund project and those who donate money for us.”

 
 

At the end of the meeting, lunch was provided to all the students and other participants. Later a skype meeting was arranged between the University officials and the members of members of Unifund project in Sydney, in order to review the project and discussed about further needs of students. Mr. Jeyakumar requested to members of Unifund to increase the mumber of students because there are many disadvantaged students, applying for sponsorships.

 
 
 
 
 
Newsletter
How to Sponsor ?
If you wish to sponsor an University Student in Jaffna or Batticoloa, please fill the application form and sent in back to us.

We request Aus. $50 per month to sponsor a student. Therefore we request you to transfer or deposit your money to `Unifund Project’ account at the Bendigo bank.

We prefer you to pay quarterly ($150) or half yearly ($300) or annually ($600) in order to avoid unnecessary administrative work. Or you may pay contribution by Cheque (in favour of `Unifund Project’) or money order or cash (only through our authorized members).
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