Sparks Greenbrae Lions Club

Sparks, Nevada


Our Sri Lanka Project


Suraj Zutshi, past President of Sparks Greenbrae Lions Club was recently in Sri Lanka making a check presentation to Sri Lanka Lions District 306B in Colombo.

Lion Suraj owns Unique Journeys in Reno and was taking 19 clients to Sri Lanka and South India for an escorted tour. While trying to find visitation opportunities in Sri Lanka for make-up meetings, he was fortunate to be get in touch with Lion Navinda Samerawickreme, MJF and District Chairman for Fund Raising in his district. He belongs to Lions Club Colombo East.

After conferring with Sparks Greenbrae President Cheri Huber, the Club quickly voted to donate $1000 to the Tsunami Disaster Relief Fund directly to Lions Club International District 306B. This was brought up at the co-ordination council meeting in Reno in February also. Ray Pezonella brought up the matter at his Club meeting and they immediately matched the $1000 donation by Greenbrae. Another generous Reno Arch member decided to match the $1000 and a cashiers check for $2000 for immediately delivered to Lion Suraj as he was leaving within two days!

On February 13, the Colombo Lions had set up a breakfast meeting in the private Colombo Club at the Taj Samudra Hotel facing the Indian Ocean. The ocean looked calm and inviting that morning, a far cry from 9:24am on December 26, 2004.

The meeting was chaired by current district Governor for District 306B,S. Sivananthan; Vice-District Governor Sarath Gunasera and current Secretary Norbert Fernando.

They reported that each of the three Districts in Sri Lanka was planning to build 1000 houses each in the devastated areas. These will be 550 square feet, cement and brick, 2-bedroom with living room, kitchen and bathroom which cost approximately $5500-6000 each. A set of architectural plans for these houses was also presented to Lion Suraj. These will replace the one-bedroom houses that were demolished by the powerful waves all along the South and East coasts of Sri Lanka.

Most of the tour group members also decided to come along to hear about the relief efforts by Lions. They were so impressed that they come up with an additional $685 which was all donated to the Lions Relief Fund also. These will be constructed in the Galle area which is about 90 miles south of Colombo which will make maintenance and inspection easier in the future. After breakfast, the gracious Sri Lankan members took us to their District headquarters to show us an actual model of the house that will be built with these funds!

Because of our interest and donation, they will be place a plaque on one of the houses with our names. We are welcome to visit and see that at anytime. I am sure I will be back with another tour and will take time to go and see this. And bring back pictures.

Lion Suraj Zutshi
Sparks Greenbrae Lions Club
March 3, 2005