60th letter of Information

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Dear club members, dear other club supporters,

Olav C. Ellerbrock

Unfortunately, this member information starts with sad news. Mr. Olav C. Ellerbrock, the Honorary Consul General of Sri Lanka in Hamburg passed away on December 13 at the age of 89. The history of the “Rosenkinder” is very much connected with him. Mr. Ellerbrock was already present at the celebration of the foundation of our association in autumn 2006. As a member and committed advisor, he followed the diverse project activities of our association. How we would have liked to have him among us again for the 15th anniversary of the association next year. We will never forget this warm and loyal friend of our association. After 46 years of consular work in Hamburg, he will also leave a big gap in the public life of the Hanseatic City of Hamburg. In the condolences in the weekend edition of the “Hamburger Abendblatt” and “Der Welt”, his social standing is made clear. Generously, the “Rosenkinder” as well as the Sri Lanka Association Hamburg are requested by the family to make a donation. Dear Olav C. Ellerbrockwe will miss you.

Otherwise, due to the second Corona wave, public life in Sri Lanka continues to be severely restricted. However, in coordination with our many volunteers there, we have found a mode that makes an effective continuation of our long-term and sustainable projects possible. More about this here, as usual:

2. Current project “Rosenkinder” Sponsorships in cooperation with the Lions Club Aluthgama/Bentota

At its last meeting a week ago, the board of our association decided on the continuation and funding of our projects for the 1st half of 2021. This was only possible digitally via ZOOM. The corresponding funds have already been transferred to Sri Lanka. So also about 6.000 EURO for another half year support of our currently 69 sponsored children. 28 children are in the basic sponsorship, 13 children are in the extended sponsorship for upcoming secondary school graduation and for 28 students. So everything continues, which makes us proud. It is always nice to hear about the development of our former “rose children”. A little “Christmas” story at the right time:

In 2007 we received the emergency call to help the children of the Wickramapathne family in Kurunagale. We visited the family the following year and found a paraplegic father after a work accident, a desperate mother and three talented children. Valuka, now 29, Anurudhika, now 26, and Anuradha, now 20. We have supported all three children, many years successfully through school and vocational training. We received an update on the family situation through our helper Chandani. The father unfortunately passed away this year, Valuka is now working as a self-employed carpenter on the west coast, Anurudhika after graduating from high school is working in an organic and fair trade export textile shop and Anuradha continues to live in Kurunagale with her mother as a skilled craftsman. The girl got married last month. Unfortunately the ordered pictures of it have not arrived yet. Therefore, here is a family picture from our second visit to the family in 2011 from the archive.

2. Current project special education at the Anula Wijerama Children Home in Balapitiya in cooperation with the All Ceylon Buddhist Congress (ACBC)

Corona is also in regular contact with the 35 girls currently living in the children’s home in Balapitiya. WhatsApp makes it possible. I regularly receive brief information from Nilani, the director of the home, in keywords, many pictures and sometimes a video. Our regular helper on site, Petra Gerlings, also phones the English teacher Padmi, who is financed by us, for an hour. So we are well informed about what is going on and what is needed in Corona times. The schools are closed from time to time, but are currently open. However, the school does not run regularly and completely. In this respect, digital teaching is also the order of the day at the home. Three computer workstations are set up in the home and the 6 teachers financed by us continue to teach and support with commitment online or by handing in assignments at the gate of the home. Due to a decree from Colombo, no guests and not even our teachers are currently allowed to enter the children’s home. However, this also leads to the fact that hardly any money and food donations arrive at the home. Therefore, in addition to the additional teaching units, we are now also supporting the purchase of missing and necessary food. About 3,000 EURO for teachers and purchase are planned for the first half of 2021. We are very excited about the future and remain in contact between the ACBC headquarters in Colombo and the children’s home in Balapitiya for an optimal project support. Finally, important school exams and results for the future of some girls are pending.

3.Current project “Rosenkinder Hostel” at the Vocational Training Center in Panadura in cooperation with the All Ceylon Buddhist Congress (ACBC)

At the turn of the year, 13 orphan girls sponsored by us leave our “Rosenkinder Hostel” with a qualified degree. A new cohort of 16 orphan girls is scheduled for the first half of the year. It is still open whether it is possible to complete the training with a qualified degree by the middle of the year 2021 in compliance with the Corona rules. Possibly, the half-year will again become a full-year training as in this year. We will follow it and have transferred about 4.000 EURO for the 1st half-year. We will receive pictures of the girls from the new class shortly. Therefore only today a training photo from the archive. It is nice to hear that the plans for a second “Rosenkinder Hostel” for boys in Payagalla are progressing. For the first time we heard something about concrete project and cost planning. Perhaps our request to the new ambassador, Mrs. Manori Unambuwe, to “inquire intensively” with the approval authorities in Colombo has caused some speed. It would be nice to crown the next year with another project start.

4. Other projects

Auch das Leben im ACBC Kinderheim für blinde und taubstumme Kinder in Mahaweewa bzw. die Schule auf dem Gelände leidet weiter unter den Folgen von Corona. Insofern noch keine aktuellen Bilder mit Produkten aus der neuen Pilzfarm.

Life in the ACBC children’s home for blind and deaf-mute children in Mahaweewa and the school on the premises continue to suffer from the consequences of Corona. Therefore, there are no current pictures with products from the new mushroom farm.

However, the monthly meetings with the sponsored young families “Care for the unborn Child” continue to take place under necessary restrictions. The new babies of the supported 7 mothers are meanwhile almost all on the world. Unfortunately, the usual full meetings at the health center with mother and child are cancelled. However, medical advice is available if needed and the monthly food and hygiene packages are now distributed to the families from the trunk. It is great that our Lions Club Aluthgama/Bentota continues this project with a lot of personal commitment despite all the limitations. Even or especially in Corona times the sponsored mothers and babies need our support. Six of the seven supported mothers are financed from our Rosenkinder budget.

5. Other information

A week ago we were – as reported separately – in a small delegation in compliance with the AHA rules in favor of the children’s home in Mahaweewa in the Uetersen pedestrian zone active. At nearly 0 degrees we advertised and a donation of 650 EURO was collected. We saw one or the other of our members and supporters again for a short Corona chat. That was also nice. Thanks for the helpers on those days.

For the first time since 2006 I will not travel to Sri Lanka in spring 2021. Corona wants it that way. Although tourists are supposed to be allowed to travel to Sri Lanka again from January, the Corona regulations in Sri Lanka are so restrictive that a project stay with the visit of our different projects is not possible. Also the current infection situation here in Germany and in Sri Lanka do not allow this for health self-protection. So we have officially cancelled with our project helpers. However, we have planned to travel to Sri Lanka in autumn, if the infection and personal health situation allow it. Until then a lot of things will happen. Hopefully only good things for our projects, our own health and the health of our 17 volunteers in Sri Lanka.

Before that, we will certainly officially organize or celebrate our 15th general meeting on Sunday, April 25, 2021 and our 15th Rosenkinder Association Birthday on Sunday, August 8, 2021. In which framework is currently still undetermined, but at least the premises in the town hall in Uetersen are reserved for both events.

In this respect, there will continue to be exciting and successful Rosenkinder projects in the New Year, as well as regular member information and the official events mentioned above. First of all, however, on behalf of the entire board of our association, I wish you/you all a peaceful Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year. Stay “negative” with positive courage for the future.

Yours / yours

Dieter Kaske