Peace Corps Volunteer to Report on Tsunami Reconstruction; Mason Continues Relief Efforts

Posted: March 10, 2005 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Tara Laskowski and Megan McDonnell

Tucker McCravy, who spent several weeks in Sri Lanka on a humanitarian mission right after the December tsunami hit, will talk about his efforts, as well as the reconstruction and rehabilitation now taking place, in a presentation tomorrow from 4 to 5 p.m. in Student Union Building I, Room C. The Office of International Programs and Services (OIPS) is sponsoring the event, which is open to all faculty, staff, and students.

McCravy recently returned from Sri Lanka, where he was a Peace Corps volunteer for three and a half years. His passion for international education resulted in the formation of an organization called Serendib that gave rise to Sri Lanka’s first-ever island-wide Residential English Education Camp. This program has continued annually with the support of Serendib, and has since spread to Thailand and Benin. McCravy will discuss his experiences working with children and refugees in Sri Lanka and his plans to help with the construction of schools and training of teachers to help the children affected by the tsunami.

Relief efforts continue at George Mason as well. In the months after the devastation, Sandarshi Gunawardena, assistant director, OIPS, has spearheaded the drive in conjunction with University Life. A few hundred dollars has already been raised, primarily through the penny drives that took place during the candlelight vigil and the Koran Power Drummers concert that the Hindu Students Council sponsored.

Other fund-raising events are planned for International Week in April. Two immediate events are a South Indian musical performance and a fund-raising social organized by the International Student Umbrella (ISU). There are also ongoing penny drives that will continue throughout the semester. ISU has a vision of raising $50,000 for an orphanage/school for the tsunami children. The Mason students will be meeting with the founder of a grassroots-level organization that is leading this project early next month.

ISU also sent more than 25 boxes of medical supplies, hygienic products, children’s items, and school supplies to Sri Lanka a few weeks ago. ISU is still accepting donations, and a second supplies shipment will go to Banda Aceh, Indonesia, next month. Monetary collections will also continue.

“The overwhelming outpouring of support and concern by the Mason community right after the tsunami was remarkable,” says Gunawardena. She plans to be in Sri Lanka over the summer to help with the rebuilding efforts, and will share stories and pictures of her experiences of working in the United States on the tsunami relief efforts.

For more information, e-mail Gunawardena at

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