64th letter of information

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Dear club members, dear other club supporters,

I would love to write another member information without a Corona reference. But that doesn’t seem possible, at least in the medium term. Times are changing fast these days. Two months ago we felt quite “Corona-safe” here in the country, while in Sri Lanka there was Corona chaos. Now the situation is reversed. According to the WHO, the current incidence there is 29.9. 10 days ago, it was 19.5. At least, with the start in mid-October, the schools were opened again gradually and slowly a normal everyday life is returning. Week after week, more tourists come to the country, hopefully bringing not only new Corona risks but also the urgently needed foreign currency to finance the state’s public welfare, including health care and nutrition. The Corona vaccination rate in Sri Lanka for the first vaccination is even slightly above our value, the rate for the second vaccination even slightly below. An astonishing development with a time lag of half a year. So there is justified hope for a certain corona normality in Sri Lanka with all possible new waves as unknowns. The storms with floods in Sri Lanka last week with 20 deaths nationwide are unfortunately a seasonal monsoon episode. Half the country is affected.

…and our projects in the changed situation? What about the urgent wish to finally visit our “Rosenkinder” in Sri Lanka again?

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

As just reported, the schools are open again and so the return to orderly studies is possible again. 1 ½ years of more or less school closures and the last 3 months of a nationwide strike of all state teachers for better pay will leave clear traces in the development of our “Rosenkinder”. On 1 February 2022, the new six-month funding period will begin for the 72 “Rosenkinder” currently receiving funding. We are very excited to learn about the individual progress in school and studies and the personal Corona consequences for our sponsored children. We hope to be there live at group meetings in the Letter Garden and Kotapola and with some of the children in their home environment. We already know about two girls who, despite Corona, have just started their studies or have been accepted to study. One is 20-year-old Chamodi, who started her studies at a technical college online in October. The family has been without income for the last 18 months. The father as a labourer, the mother in her tourist shop. Buddhika, who is also 20 years old, was also waiting for a free university place after her successful a-level graduation. She still has two younger siblings and her parents also have no permanent income. She would like to become a teacher. But because of Corona, the relevant colleges were “seized” for the training of Corona helpers. Now she has been accepted to study and hopefully we will soon meet a happy girl with a better future. Of course, this also applies to the other 70 sponsored children.

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

The lives of our 38 girls in the children’s home in Balapitiya have slowly returned to normal. The 11 girls over the age of sixteen have at least been supplied with a Biontech/Pfizer vaccine. The rest may follow in the short term. The children’s home has also finally been open again since last Monday for the seven teachers we financed. This is of course a big step forward. Now we have to compensate a little for the deficits caused by the long closure of the school and the home for our teachers. It is also pleasing that the new “homework teacher” H.D. Amali de Zoysa can now also start her work on site at the home. She is otherwise a young primary school teacher in the neighbouring village. 5 days a week she will support the youngest pupils in the afternoon and work on deficits. The additional computer workstation financed by us was also immediately purchased and put into use. As a result, the “homeschooling situation” had already improved a little during the last weeks of “Kinderheim-Schooling” and thus also the access or support by our teachers. We cannot thank our two matrons Nilani and Sanjeewani at Balaptiya enough for bringing our girls through this global crisis with commitment and health for 1 ½ years. A time of special constraints and so still labour intensive 7 days 24 hours. The teachers we funded did their best online and the volunteer committee tried their best to support as well. On the occasion of World Children’s Day, Mrs. Nilika Sebanayake – Chairman ACBC National Council for Child Care and volunteer head of the 17 ACBC children’s homes was in Balapitiya to get an overview of the home and our project. We hope and look forward to meeting the helpers and especially girls live again soon. There are still a few things that unfortunately cannot be sorted out digitally or online. For example, the 3rd matron position is unfortunately still open. Also a Corona problem.

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

In this project, organised together with the ACBC National Council for Education, we hope that the training for the current 15 orphan girls will be successfully completed next month and that all these girls will get a permanent job with good pay. It remains to be seen whether we will be able to realise 2 training courses again next year. The Rosenkinder Hostel with training opportunities for boys in Payagalla, which we have gladly started, will hopefully then proceed with its planning. More can be arranged locally.

4. Sonstige Projektvorhaben

Due to Corona, the 50 food parcels we released for the poor families of the “Rosenkinder” in the Kotapola region could not be distributed yet. Run-ups, or almost a mass distribution, remained prohibited. This is now scheduled for the end of the month if the Corona situation remains stable. We very much hope for this, because the families need this additional food support. Due to the pandemic, prices have shot through the roof, so that many things can no longer be afforded.

We are very pleased that our home for the blind and deaf in Mahaweewa, with an adjacent school, resumed operations a week ago. The music and dance lessons financed by us have started again and the mushroom farm has also been stocked with new mushroom starter packs. The continuation of the cooperation with the neighbouring university for integrative measures for a comprehensive agricultural project is in preparation. Currently, there are bottlenecks in government support for the remaining teaching units. In the school, English and computer lessons are at risk due to lack of government funding. The board of the “Rosenkinder” will deal with the new needs in its next meeting next month and will certainly be able to help comprehensively and at short notice. Thanks to the donations at the book reading by Dr. Umes last month, sufficient special funds are available for this purpose.

5. Other information

Unfortunately, we have cancelled our planned market stall at the small Christmas market in Uetersen at the beginning of December. A Rose Children’s Bazaar in aid of the children’s home in Mahaweewa was planned. For the known reasons, it was postponed to the Rose Festival 2022 or Christmas next year.

The announced next trip to Sri Lanka will now also be organised a little differently due to Corona. My wife and I have already booked flights to be there for the whole of February 2022, but unfortunately it is not possible to plan the project dates and the associated round trip with any certainty. Therefore, the members of the association travelling with us only have the option of Ayurveda for 2 or 3 weeks in February 2022 and the chance to visit one or the other project. A small group of fellow travellers has already been found. Anyone who would also like to come spontaneously is welcome to contact me at short notice. My wife and I will spontaneously try to visit all our projects and meet our helpers. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that we will be able to experience the sunset at the gate in front of the Reef live again.

Best wishes and a healthy and peaceful pre-Christmas season.

Yours / yours

Dieter Kaske