Dear club members, dear other club supporters,
I sincerely hope that you continue to be healthy and in good spirits and that you get through your lives “negatively” but in a positive mood, which continues to be determined by Corona. This is also the reason why the board of our association has decided to postpone the 15th general meeting scheduled for 25 April 2021 until a better time. 8 August 2021 is a good choice. As you know, we want to celebrate our 15th anniversary. The town hall in Uetersen has already been reserved for this purpose. In addition to an official ceremony with our members and invited guests, there will also be a book presentation by Dr. Umes, which was actually planned for next month, and a jazz concert with Alabama Hot Six as the finale. In between, there will also be some time for a short members’ meeting on the Rosenkinder Sunday. So it’s worth making a note of this date.
But now to the purpose of our association, the further developing projects in Sri Lanka; this in spite of or even against the restrictions of the worldwide Corona pandemic. Here is the “news” from the continuing lively contact with our helpers on the ground.
1. Current project “Rosenkinder” Sponsorships in cooperation with the Lions Club Aluthgama/Bentota
In the meantime, the voting for our successful sponsorship project has run. 69 sponsored children received the promise and their monthly money for another six-month sponsorship period last month; no matter if student, pupil or examinee waiting for the results of the o- or a-level examination. Two more young people are still waiting for a university place commitment. We have taken in two new students in exchange for two “ready” students. The 24-year-old T.N:D. Rathnayaka was introduced to us last year by Dr. Kirinde during our visit to Kotapola. He is already studying biology in the 4th semester and has two older siblings who are also already studying. Due to the current economic situation in Sri Lanka, his parents – father a casual labourer, mother a housewife – can no longer afford to support their boy. Now we are promoting a successful graduation. A new addition is 22-year-old Hewa Saranga. She achieved an extraordinarily good Abitur last year and has been promised a place at university as a teacher. Unfortunately, her parents are very, very poor and she lives with them in the one-room house pictured here. Of course we also help this girl from Kotapola.
Last time I reported about the wedding of the former “rose child” Amurudhika. She comes from a poor family where we also successfully supported her older and younger brother to get a qualified school-leaving certificate and a job respectively. After the death of the father the year before last, the youngest son, our former “rose child” Anuradha, has unfortunately also died under tragic circumstances at the age of 23. This is the first death we know of in the circle of 69 ongoing and 54 completed sponsorships.
2. Current project special education at the Anula Wijerama Children Home in Balapitiya in cooperation with the All Ceylon Buddhist Congress (ACBC)
Life for 35 girls in the children’s home in Balapitiya also continues with Corona-related restrictions. However, the home is still closed for guests and also for our teachers. Therefore, there can only be digital remedial teaching. The computers are free again, because school lessons have resumed. Four of our girls are currently taking their o-level exams. Results are expected in early summer. One girl is currently trying to improve her English o-level result to qualify for an a-level exam. However, her older sister is trying to get her out of the home and into work. There’s a court date coming up for clarification. Shows once again that often a home place is a better alternative for the girls. We will continue our efforts to help the girls get a good school-leaving certificate and/or good vocational qualification by all means possible through Petra Gerlings’ good contacts in the home.
However, the Sri Lankan New Year is coming up next month. This is actually the highest holiday in Sri Lanka. For many years we have been financing New Year’s clothes for the girls in Balapitiya. Bought together as a big event during our annual visits. This year, as we know, it was cancelled, but not our sponsorship. But going into the New Year without new clothes – that is not possible in Sri Lanka. Therefore, at our Rosenkinder board meeting this week, we approved a sufficient budget for Nilani’s bulk purchase for her 35 girls. 100,000 Rupees or according to the current very favourable exchange rate of approx. 425 Euro / 12 Euro for each girl, which makes them really happy as they step into the new year. The two matrons Nilani and Sanjeewani also received a Corona recognition award for one year of extraordinary commitment from the board. The regular average of 3 birthday celebrations per month brings a change in the daily routine, as this picture shows. We also celebrated the engagement of our Matron Nilani this month. I really hope that she will stay with us for a long time. After all, we have known her and her outstanding commitment to the girls since my first visit in March 2005. We are keeping our fingers crossed for what we hope will continue to be a good cooperation.
3. Current project “Rosenkinder Hostel” at the Vocational Training Center in Panadura in cooperation with the All Ceylon Buddhist Congress (ACBC)
In the meantime, the new class of 2021 has moved into our hostel and the government training centre in Panadura and has started their vocational training. This picture of the girls with their teachers and matrons, which has been extraordinarily processed by our helpers, we received from our supporters and keep our fingers crossed for a good stay in the hostel and the course of training.
Regarding the planned new Rosenkinder Hostel in Payagalla for boys, things also seem to be progressing. According to my information, the government authorities have approved the establishment of a training centre for hotel professions in the vacant but renovation-needy outbuildings of the ACBC boys’ orphanage. According to information from ACBC headquarters, project and cost planning for renovation and the start of training and accommodation operations are currently underway. The manager in charge of the children’s home in Payagalla confirmed this to me and sent a nice picture of his boys in the children’s home. They have been waiting a long time for the possibility of on-site training.
4. Other projects
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. However, the first mushroom harvest in the mushroom farm financed by us and set up by the university has been successful. In this respect, good nutrition is ensured. All activities for a regular operation in the children’s home and in the adjacent school have also started. However, due to the limitations caused by deafness or visual impairment, this is even more difficult than a normal home or school operation. Here, too, we have to keep our fingers crossed that our other projects can start soon.
At the March meeting of the young families we support, “Care for the unborn Child”, the last baby has now presented himself. The boy Shashita Lakshan is not even a month old and was proudly presented by his mother. Unfortunately, this again took place more or less privately at the house of one of the members of the sponsoring Lions Club Aluthgama/Bentota. Not such a nice place to hand over the food parcel to the 9 young mothers, but possible. For the usual medical and other care by professionals, however, impossible. We hope for better times, because this project and our support will continue until the end of the year.
5. Other information
I have already reported on our current schedule for 2021 at the beginning of this member information. I would also like to report that our 15th Rosenkinder birthday was also documented in detail by the town of Uetersen in the town’s yearbook. I am pleased to enclose the beautiful report.
A review of the history of our commitment in Sri Lanka also fits in with the anniversary year. With great pleasure, I have spent the last 4 weeks, together with my wife Gudrun, looking through 16 journeys or about 15,000 pictures and made a photo story out of them with explanations of the gradual development of our projects. Of course, the journeys of discovery of the many members accompanying us are also documented a little. The whole thing can be seen on the Rosenkinder website at https://www.rosenkinder.org/geschichte/. So have fun reading or remembering everything that has happened or started in Sri Lanka since 2005.
We are also planning our next trip to Sri Lanka. If everything goes well, we would like to go at the end of August this year. However, we would not want to go on the trip unvaccinated. Of course, the living conditions in Sri Lanka have to allow our usual programme. Corona keeps us waiting and hoping.
Yours / yours