Our History

When SCOT was founded in 1977, it was in the midst of rioting and other strife in Sri Lanka that was predominantly affecting Tamil speaking people. Indeed, the test used by some of the perpetrators of the violence to select victims was the latter’s seeming preference for speaking Tamil. This wasn’t the first time such violence had happened, and as a result many members of the Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora in the United Kingdom decided it was time to come together to collectively support the community they originated from back in Sri Lanka.
Similar violence continued to occur from time to time, leading to a murderous civil war from 1983-2009. Many people were killed on both sides, but Tamils suffered disproportionately in terms of the numbers killed, injured, displaced or dispossessed and certainly most had their normal lives interrupted and put on hold. Along the way, various natural disasters, such as the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004, have also been visited upon the suffering people.
Until recently, SCOT’s focus was mostly on survival for the people that we support. This largely meant providing safe drinking water, basic food rations, rudimentary sanitation, temporary shelter and urgent medical assistance. Many other charities were providing similar relief, some specialising in one type of support or place of delivery, others delivering on a larger scale thanks to a larger funding base. At the time, every little helped.
Since the end of the civil war in 2009 and a brief and partial recovery period thereafter, it has become apparent that given the scale of our funding and our limited ability to respond rapidly to emergencies, SCOT could bring the biggest benefit to the people we seek to support by moving from a survival mentality to a growth mentality, helping people in need get back onto the life paths they would have expected or aspired to if the disasters, and in particular the civil war, had not intervened. Recognising that these people will be restarting from a long way behind, we have redefined our mission to focus on Education, Employment and Empowerment for the people that we support. We still occasionally help with disaster relief, but we appreciate that many other bodies are better placed to do this.