Chandrawathi, a local farmer, lives in the village of Weragela, a village frequently visited by wild elephants. Chandrawathi lives alone with her 11 year old daughter, and with the help of her brothers, grows onions and rice for a living.
One evening in early September, the start of elephant season, her house was attacked by an elephant. A wild roaming elephant had left the jungles and entered the village, and at around 10:30pm had been drawn to Chandrawathi’s house by the smell of rice that she had stored within. She heard the dreaded sound of the elephant attacking her house, and ran for her brothers house across the road. With the help of them shouting and waving torches they managed to scare off this dangerous intruder, but not before it had smashed down part of her wall.
We were called to the scene the morning after to access the damage.
Millennium runs a compensation programme to help people like Chandrawathi. We provide compensation to villagers who suffer a loss from elephant damage. Chandrawathi was the first person that we were able to assist.
With the help of the local mason and a group of hardworking volunteers, we helped Chandrawathi rebuild her home. Millennium covered the cost of all the materials needed and paid the local mason for his time. We first had to knock down the parts of the wall that were still standing, but unsafe. Once this was done, we started helping the masoner mix the concrete and helped him lay the bricks in place.With everyone pitching in a helping hand, the wall was reconstructed within 2 days. Chandrawathi was extremely grateful for our help. We already have a very good relationship with the community of this village, but this is an example to them of how committed we are to helping.
Our aim is to help mitigate the human-elephant conflict, and to help the lives of those most effected by it.
Halina Pokoj and Wayne Beaumont