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65th letter of information

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  • 20. December 202120. December 2021

Another special year is coming to an end. To be honest, we are already thinking about the New Year 2022, when we will “hopefully” be a bit more normal again and back in Sri Lanka with our “rose children”. Only 1 month has passed since the last member information, but in the meantime a lot has happened in the environment of our projects. And all this from a positive point of view. And this in still uncertain Corona times. At least the situation in Sri Lanka seems to be quite stable. In other words, I currently assume that we will board the plane to Sri Lanka on 29 January 2022. But it will only be my wife, Petra Gerlings and myself. Unfortunately, we cannot realize the idea of taking other members with us. The holidaymaker corona rules in Sri Lanka remain very strict, despite the still comparatively low incidence, and do not allow the combination of a holiday or Ayurveda with a round trip or projects at the moment and probably also next February. Therefore, we will fully concentrate on the project business of the Rose Children in the next 30 days. To get in the mood for Sri Lanka, we were both in Berlin last weekend at the invitation of the Ambassador of Sri Lanka, Mrs. Manori Unanbuwe. The situation and further assessment for Sri Lanka and especially for our projects was discussed intensively over a wonderful Rice and Curry Lunch. It was encouraging and tasted exquisite Sri Lanka style.

…and at the same time there were various activities around the diverse and successful projects of the “Rosenkinder” in Sri Lanka:

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

What a feeling – to see 43 of our 73 ongoing child sponsorships in Sri Lanka in one picture. Made possible by the moderate Corona situation, the many sponsored children in the region could be “drummed up” in coordination by our helpers Dooland de Silva and Monk Dr. Kirinde in Kotapola. Finally – last weekend – we were able to distribute the 50 Corona food aid packages donated on the occasion of our 15th Rosenkinder anniversary last August. Internet made it possible. I ordered the food from the supermarket manager in Deniyaya and delivered it to Kotapola. The bill was paid by our other helper Chandani from Los Angeles, because she is currently caring for her husband who is ill. So the money went from our Rosenkinder project account in Colombo to the monk’s account and then in cash to the supermarket manager.

All participants were happy about the successful action and the families about the parcels just in time before the festival, which is of course also celebrated in Sri Lanka. The seven other packages were distributed to some families in Kotapola who were currently suffering from Corona. At the same time, further coordination with Chandani and Dooland about the current school and study status of our 73 sponsorships is underway. Everyone is looking forward to hopefully meeting them again live in February 2022 at the start of the new sponsorship period, to find out about the educational status and hopefully to experience one or two successful completed sponsorships. For example, 9-year-old Dishan and 10-year-old Menuka are already waiting to be accepted into the circle of sponsors. The two boys live with their parents and other siblings in very poor circumstances. These families have lost work and income due to the Corona crisis. Unfortunately, these are not individual fates. However, we can only help to a limited extent, but then effectively and transparently. The monk in Kotapola has also announced that he has a few sponsorship proposals for sponsored children who will successfully complete their studies sponsored by us at the end of the year. So there is anticipation on all sides.

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

The girls’ home in Balapitiya has also almost returned to normal. The schools are now open again. Homeschooling is over and what is much more important, our financed teachers can supplement the normal school lessons in the home again and try to compensate for deficits that have inevitably resulted from the long school closures during the lockdown. The two pictures show two of the teachers at work in the home. The additional school support is ultimately the main commitment of our association in Balapitiya. We are especially happy that Mrs. H.D. Amali De Zoysa, a new homework teacher, has been intensively supporting the young girls since the beginning of November. The previous teacher had to quit due to a Corona illness. The committee suggested that we employ another teacher. This is specifically intended to support the 3 girls who will have their first A-level exams next year. We will discuss the idea, concept and prospects of success in February. Our travel companion Petra Gerlings is also planning to work in the home again during this time. The girls are already looking forward to the return of their “home mum”.

Through Facebook, I have been in contact with 3 former girls who spent a long time in the home. These girls have experienced different life situations after leaving the home. Successful studies or education, formation of a family, but also broken off education and failed marriages are the experiences. I would like to invite these 3 girls to Balapitiya in February so that they can tell the older girls their life stories after leaving the home. So that they can perhaps learn from their experiences and better manage the inevitable transition from home to everyday life. Admittedly, this is a high ambition, but at least it is a meaningful attempt. As far as possible, we want to involve the guardians or representatives of the authorities.

3. Children Home for blind and deaf-mute Children in Mahaweewa in cooperation with the All Ceylon Buddhist Congress (ACBC)

This project has undergone the greatest changes in the last “days”. On the one hand, everyday life here has suffered the most from the Corona consequences in over 1 ½ years. School closures cannot be replaced by online classes for the blind and deaf. The home also had to be temporarily evacuated, because these children can then also no longer be looked after and kept busy and were therefore returned to their families. On the other hand, however, those responsible in the home and in the school managed to restore a normal everyday life very quickly. This has just been confirmed by our member Melanie Bierut. She successfully completed her 10-day internship at the home and school last Friday. As a trained nurse and occupational therapist with some experience in voluntary work abroad, Melanie can competently assess the circumstances in Mahaweewa. It was a special experience for all involved and for me it brought the long desired transparency about the processes and everyday life in the home and school. I am very happy that on the one hand it was possible to win someone from our circle for this task and on the other hand that our offer of direct help by the responsible persons in Mahaweewa could be realized so quickly and uncomplicatedly in addition to our other support in the home. I am happy to report that in addition to the two activities already underway, two more are now being added with our help. Of course, the therapeutic music and dance lessons that we are financing will continue in full. Since part of the costs are now covered by the state, our share of the funding from the existing budget guarantees permanent support. Our horticulture project is now also being expanded on a broader basis. In addition to the already completed re-activation of the existing mushroom farm, further integrative horticulture projects are to be tackled by interns and students of the university together with the home children in cooperation with the neighbouring university.

Newly and additionally, we are now financing English and IT lessons in the school of the home. Due to the precarious financial situation, the government has unfortunately stopped funding two active volunteers. Melanie Bierut found out during her stay that the school and the home are very well run and have very competent teachers and helpers. We had expected this and it has now been confirmed. However, there is a latent financial shortage and especially at weekends the 60 children in the home lack activities when the school is closed. Games etc. are not available, the equipment on the playground is almost completely damaged and therefore dangerous. Therefore, at our last meeting last week, the board of directors made a quick decision and transferred the necessary money for all projects including the first renovation of the playground to Sri Lanka. The joy about our quick help was great, the sadness also that Melanie Bierut has already finished her internship. She had to promise to come back, just as we will soon see the success of our short-term help at the home. The following quote in yesterday’s letter of thanks for our quick help from the chairman of the home Mr. Wije says it all: “The visit by Miss Melanie was of great importance. Her association with the children, council members, teachers and the other staff opened up new avenues.”

4. Other projects

Regarding our project in the Rosenkinder Hostel in Panadura, we can currently also report that the 15 girls of the class of 2021 will successfully complete their training and all will receive permanent qualified employment in the new year. Hopefully, in the new year, two training courses with up to 18 girls each can be carried out without Corona restrictions. The necessary funds are available.


Also for a new start of the project “Care for the unborn Child”. Especially now in the difficult economic situation in Sri Lanka, young mothers from poor backgrounds and their babies are more than in need of the 15-month professional and food support provided in this project. The last round could only be completed last September under the most difficult conditions. We hope for a new start next February.

5. Other information

Regarding our project in the Rosenkinder Hostel in Panadura, we can currently also report that the 15 girls of the class of 2021 will successfully complete their training and all will receive permanent qualified employment in the new year. Hopefully, in the new year, two training courses with up to 18 girls each can be carried out without Corona restrictions. The necessary funds are available.
Also for a new start of the project “Care for the unborn Child”. Especially now in the difficult economic situation in Sri Lanka, young mothers from poor backgrounds and their babies are more than in need of the 15-month professional and food support provided in this project. The last round could only be completed last September under the most difficult conditions. We hope for a new start next February.

It should be mentioned, especially for our many French members, that after about two years of processing, our association “Rosenkinder” continues to be recognised as “non-profit” by the Central Tax Office in Paris and we can continue to issue French donation receipts. Many thanks to our friend Jean Paul Pfister for his support in dealing with the French authorities. However, we may apply again next year on the basis of the accounting years 2019 to 2021. Let’s see how quickly this happens then.

The board of our association also looked at the calendar in its last meeting. The following important dates are currently planned for our members in the new year:

  • 16th General Meeting of the “Rosenkinder” on 15 May 2022.
  • 16th Rosenkinder Birthday, celebrated on 13 August 2022
  • Benefit concert with Alabama Hot Six on 28 October 2022 in the Stadthalle Uetersen

All that remains is my heartfelt thanks to my fellow board members and all the volunteers of our association for their voluntary work. Special thanks, of course, to the large circle of our members and other supporters for their loyal and committed financial and other support. Without this, we would not be able to offer our diverse projects in Sri Lanka for our “Rose Children” so sustainably and successfully. This has been the case for more than 15 years now.

Kind regards, a peaceful Christmas season and a healthy and successful New Year 2022

Dieter Kaske