In July 1983, the Sri Lanka Civil War began when the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), a separatist militant organisation, fought to create an independent Tamil state in the north and east of Sri Lanka.
For many years, assassinations, suicide bombs, aerial bombings, extrajudicial killings, explosions of landmines, and gun battles became part of life in Sri Lanka.
Moreover, on 26 December 2004, the island was hit by the tsunami resulting from the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake.
Following a fierce and bloody year-long military offensive, the Sri Lankan government declared in May 2009 that the Tamil Tigers were defeated and their leaders killed. Nearly 300,000 civilians, mainly Tamils, were incarcerated in more than 40 ‘welfare’ camps. The facilities in the camps were grossly inadequate and the camps were cramped. There was a lack of privacy and a severe shortage of food and drinking water in the camps.
JRS Singapore, in response to the plight of the internally displaced people (IDPs) initiated Project Sara to raise funds to help the civilians who were driven from their homes towards the end of the war. Project Sara was set up to honour Father Sarathjeevan, a project worker with JRS Sri Lanka who died of exhaustion while helping the civilians in the bunkers during the intensive fighting in May 2009.
Since January 2009, JRS Sri Lanka has been providing and distributing cooked food, dry rations and non-food items including clothing as well as attending to the sick, older people, pregnant women and new mothers of Sri Lanka. JRS is also assisting with education and school supplies. JRS is not only working to meet the immediate needs of the displaced population but it is also committed to helping those who were displaced to return home and rebuild their lives.