Dear club members, dear other club supporters,
Sri Lanka has fallen out of the general news focus. But that doesn’t mean that things are back to normal there. The new political leadership is settling in and reorganising projects to better serve the population. Non-essential government spending is to be cancelled or cut as a precondition for getting fresh money from the World Monetary Fund or other countries. The WWF has just promised 2.9 billion for a debt restructuring. Irrespective of this, our helpers on the ground have come to terms with the emergency situation, even though the pace of almost all project activities is suffering from the lack of funds. Moreover, it is currently monsoon season with heavy seasonal rains, floods, landslides and also deaths. Although not as dramatic as in Pakistan. We are happy to report again on how things are going in our projects.
In this member information, we also focus on the planned trip to Sri Lanka in February 2023 and before that on the charity jazz concert on 28 October 2022 with Alabama Hot Six in the Uetersen Town Hall. But before that, our projects:
Current project “Rosenkinder” Sponsorship in cooperation with the Lions Club Aluthgama/Bentota
In the meantime, the review of our current Rosenkinder sponsorships has been completed. 71 children/young people have received their follow-up funding from August 2022 to January 2023. 2 students have dropped out of the sponsorship after successfully completing their studies. It is outstanding that we are currently sponsoring 32 students. This high percentage is the success of our sustainable and long-term support for young talents from poor backgrounds. Of course, our separate crisis payment to our sponsorships as well as 14 other general Lions Club sponsorships have been particularly well received by our “rose children” or their families. There was a lot of surprised and of course positive response for an additional 2,000 rupees for 6 months in these difficult times. With inflation still very high (currently 84%) and many essentials of daily life in short supply, this will help our children and families to continue their school and student education. Of course, we were curious to know what daily life actually looks like for our families. We asked our helper Dooland de Silva to make a few home visits in the local area. He visited the family of Chamathka Nethmi, an eleven year old girl that we have taken into our sponsorship since this year. Her father suffers from Lebra and her mother is currently unemployed. An older brother is also still attending school. Such a family situation is unfortunately typical for our sponsorships. We have also been sponsoring eleven-year-old Menuka only since this year. This is also a family from the poorest of backgrounds. There is a younger sister, a father without a steady job and for the last three months a mother who now earns her family’s living as a worker in the Arab states. Unfortunately, this is also a typical example of hardship in the country. It is currently very easy for women to obtain a three-year work permit abroad. This brings much needed foreign currency into the country, but often also family dramas. The current pictures of Dooland from the domestic reality come from his visits. The two portrait pictures from this year’s sponsorship meeting in the Briefgarden.
Current project special education at the Anula Wijerama Children Home in Balapitiya in cooperation with the All Ceylon Buddhist Congress (ACBC)
For the second time we had a Sunday ZOOM conference with the Children Home. It is the continuation of the special support dialogue of initially 10 older girls from our last visit to the Children Home last February. It is about the intensive support of the future planning of the school career and the professional qualification of these girls. We were able to speak digitally with 7 girls again. 4 girls are still waiting for the results of the o-level examination last May. Probably one girl will continue to attend school for a-level afterwards. The other three girls are aiming for a vocational qualification. For 3 other girls, the a-level examination has been postponed from October to December 2022. These – Nisansala, Woshini and Uresha were just awarded in their school (Siddhhartha College Balapitiya) this week and Uresha was even appointed as the head girl. It is ensured that these girls can complete their school career at Children Home. It is customary that the girls have to leave the home when they reach the age limit of 19 years. In case of a successful a-level, there is the possibility to change to a Rosenkinder sponsorship. This would be particularly nice and successful.
Besides the girls, Mrs. Nilika, the head of all ACBC children’s homes, Mrs. Ashita, the chairperson of the committee of the home, the two matrons and indispensable Mrs. Padmi, the English teacher of the home as translator, took part in the ZOOM conference. On our side, Petra Gerlings was also involved, who has been working intensively in Balapitiya for many years and is always on site to help the girls. A newly arrived parentless eighteen-year-old girl was newly admitted to the circle of special support. Because she did not pass the o-level examination, she is a case for a vocational qualification. We feel that this regular personal accompaniment of the older girls was a good idea and clearly improves the transparency and sustainability of our help.
Children Home for blind and deaf-mute Children in Mahaweewa in cooperation with the All Ceylon Buddhist Congress (ACBC)
In Mahaweewa, too, the projects are progressing step by step. School and home operations are almost back to normal. So are the dance and music classes and the new English and IT classes financed by us. The new therapeutic treatment of individual children, suggested by our helper on site Melanie Bierut, has also been started. Apparently, this has become speech therapy for particularly impaired children. Apart from that, we gave the school and the home a big summer surprise package. Melanie Bierut had the idea to send therapeutic toys or things for appropriate occupation. No sooner said than done – we provided 500 EURO and Melanie did the professional shopping. The result was a man-sized box that reached its destination in 6 weeks via DHL with all the necessary formalities across the pond. There was an official unpacking at the school followed by great enthusiasm. Perhaps the spontaneous thanks of the teachers to our expert: Mrs. Chandrasiri gave the equipment you sent to the school today. We thank you very much. We have seen that all those devices are very special devices. We do not have such equipment in our country and thank you again for that.
So much joy, goal achieved. The work to build a playground that meets the needs of the children is also progressing. Mahaweewa is now fully established in our project portfolio in terms of our goals of transparency and sustainability.
Current project “Rosenkinder Hostel” at the Vocational Training Center in Panadura in cooperation with the All Ceylon Buddhist Congress (ACBC)
In our Rosenkinder Hostel, the second round of the current year is now running with 16 girls. It is great that after two years of Corona course extension with only one round, these girls are now again receiving vocational training at full capacity. This is an important building block for their lives after leaving the various children’s homes of ACBC or our hostel. It is also nice that despite all the restrictions and bottlenecks in the supply situation, the construction of the new sanitary area has been started. Our main contact Dilan Singappuli – Vice President ACBC Education Council can be seen here in the picture on the left at the historic ground-breaking ceremony. As a practising lawyer and ACBC volunteer, he is monitoring the project until completion. Finally, the bottleneck in the sanitary area will be closed after the capacity expansion and the daily life for the girls and the matron will be significantly improved.
Planned project “Rose Children Hostel 2” at the Boy Children Home in Payagala in cooperation with the All Ceylon Buddhist Congress (ACBC)
Work has also started on the planned new Rosenkinder Hostel in Payagala. At the moment, people are still clearing out and clearing out in preparation for the necessary manual work. In these difficult political times, it seems that the necessary approval for the establishment of a vocational training centre for organic farming has been obtained. All other permits should also be in hand. Hopefully, we will soon have a concrete project plan with costs and deadlines. With fixed costs, however, it is certainly not that easy with the current supply shortages and especially the high inflation rate in the country. However, we believe that we have collected enough reserves, especially through a large fundraising event organised by one of our members, for the quick realisation we are striving for. After all, security of supply through organically grown fruit and vegetables is a strategic goal of politics and finds our full support through our new project.
On 28 October 2022 at 7 p.m., Alabama Hot Six will be playing for the benefit of the Rose Children in the town hall in Uetersen. Gunnar Thielemann and his “boys” are now involved in charity work for us for the fourth time. The concerts have always been atmospheric and entertaining with considerable donations. For our “Rosenkinder community” it is also a meeting among friends. This year’s donations have been earmarked for another project in Mahaweewa. The children there desperately need an equipped recreation and activity room in one of the available free rooms during bad weather. It should be furnished with things that relate to the physical and mental limitations of the children, which are often present. For this purpose, posters will be put up in Uetersen and the surrounding area next month. We will invite our members and other supporters separately. We also need some helping hands. So please take note of the separate invitation.
In the expectation that the situation in Sri Lanka will improve in the long term, the planning of the next members’ trip to Sri Lanka in 2023 has now entered the concrete planning stage. There are currently 10 of us who are interested. I myself will probably fly to Sri Lanka in a small team on 3.2.2023 to do the preliminary work. The group of members would then set off on 13.2.2023. A five-day round trip is planned, followed by a fourteen-day stay for Ayurveda and beach holidays. However, the duration of this second phase can be arranged individually. The following stages are planned for the round trip:
- One night “arrival” after the long flight near the airport.
- Day 1 Visit to the Rose Children Project in Mahaweewa and then drive to the elephant orphanage in Pinewala. Overnight stay at the elephant river
- Day 2 Drive to the highlands, tar region and 2 overnight stays at Horton Plain National Park.
- Day 3 Hike in the World’s End National Park Region
- Day 4 Drive to Denijaja at Sinharaja Rainforest and overnight at Rain Forest Lodge
- Day 5 Visit and meeting of Rosenkinder godchildren at the temple in Kotapola. Afterwards return to the west coast and start of the 2nd phase.
During the following Ayurveda stay – traditionally in the Barberyn Reef Ayurveda Resort in Beruwala or beach holiday there is the possibility to visit all our other nearby projects. If you are interested in joining our travel group and have any questions, please contact me personally, as soon as possible and of course without obligation.
Have a nice autumn and perhaps a meeting at Alabama Hot Six soon.
Yours / yours