5th "anniversary" of Tsunami Disaster

I actually don’t like the word “anniversary” when it comes to acknowledging such a terrible event, as anniversary should be associated with celebratory events. But in this case, the use of the word may be appropriate because in the face of the tsunami five years ago, we were presented with countless acts of selfless giving, of individuals close and from far away assisting others in their attempt to recover from the destruction caused by the tsunami.

We highlight one such case, this one involving legendary cricketer Sir Ian Botham. Botham is a member of the Laureus Foundation, who does tremendous work in the sport and development world, and who were there on the ground in Sri Lanka right after the tsunami occurred. You can read about Botham’s recent return to Sri Lanka at http://www.laureus.com/press_releases?article_id=1714, with an excerpt below.

We lead off with a short video highlighting the visit.



Sir Ian Botham returns to Sri Lanka to mark 5th anniversary of Tsunami Disaster

GALLE, Sri Lanka, December 2, 2009 – Laureus World Sports Academy member and England cricket legend Sir Ian Botham received a hero’s welcome from hundreds of excited children as he paid an emotional return to the Galle area of Sri Lanka, ahead of the fifth anniversary of the 2004 Tsunami Disaster.

Sir Ian had visited Galle shortly after the Tsunami struck on December 26, 2004, to see the damage for himself and gauge what the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation could do to help.  As a result of his visit, Laureus has been providing support to the Seenigama Sport for Life project has been using sport to rebuild community spirit in the area.

As he took part in training sessions with the children at the project, Sir Ian recalled the events of five years ago.  He said: Like everyone else, I watched with horror the Tsunami Disaster on TV. I wanted to come and see for myself, but nothing prepared me for what I found.  I had been to Galle before when I was covering cricket and stayed at a house just along the beach – it wasn’t there any more.  I can still recall the clock on the old Test ground in Galle frozen at ‘9.25am’ on December 26.

“Once the immediate relief effort was over, it was clear to me that sport could play an important part in giving people a sense of hope. At my suggestion Laureus decided to fund a sports coordinator for five villages around Peraliya and Seenigama to channel the energies of the children into competition, and to take their minds off their difficult living conditions.

(The article continues at http://www.laureus.com/press_releases?article_id=1714)