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.

No comments: