The Jaffna Peninsula lies in the far north of Sri Lanka, connected to the mainland by a fragile strip of land. Yet this beautiful region of red earth, white sandy beaches, swaying coconut, palmyrah trees and lively communities had been decimated by the island’s thirty year civil war, provoking a mass Jaffna diaspora overseas. When the Boxing Day Asian tsunami hit Jaffna in 2004, it seemed one final, fatal blow. Yet from the sad story of war and migration, rose a flicker of hope from the diaspora community. Anandan Arnold had migrated to England in 1983 at the outbreak of civil war. Television reporting of the 2004 tsunami sparked a desire to return home; but he was broken by what he was to encounter. Vivid childhood memories of a leafy, peaceful Manipay, with carefree days spent playing in the Manipay Green Hospital Gardens, were shot through with a new reality of barrenness and devastation. The landmark hospital lay in ruins, its clinical services dormant. Upon his return to England, Anandan recounted stories of loss and desperation to the diaspora community. It was a call to arms that could not be ignored. And thus, the ‘Friends of Manipay’ charitable trust was formed, to raise funds to rebuild and develop the hospital.

Story So Far

As war ended and peace returned to the Peninsula, the hospital redevelopment project began:
· A £1000 donation from the family of the late Emmanuel Lewis, whose navy career took him to Sri Lanka during World War II, was used to repaint buildings and recommence clinical care. It also provided training for nurses in India.
· Consultant Anaesthetist Dr Preman Jeyaratnam of Stoke-on-Trent, England, gave up a year to volunteer at the Hospital, serving as Medical Director and overseeing the recommencement of clinical services.
· Orthopaedic Surgeon Mr Michael Beverley from Richmond-upon-Thames, then based at Ealing Hospital in London, also volunteered his services as a consultant in 2012. There is of course so much more to this story, not only the past but also what can be achieved in the future. Do help us write the next chapter.

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