Dear club members, dear other club supporters,
I sincerely hope that all of our “Rosenkinder” supporters have come through this summer well and healthy. Now it is autumn again and perhaps it is time to report something about the projects of the “Rosenkinder”. As usual, let’s start with the “general”. The situation in Sri Lanka is and will remain politically and especially economically very tense for a long time. However, it was not to be expected that after the national bankruptcy – in the middle of last year – there would be a rapid improvement for the country as a whole, but especially for the population suffering as a result. There was “fresh” money from the International Monetary Fund, but also very strict conditions. As has unfortunately often become “common” practice, it is especially the middle class and those who have always had it bad who suffer for austerity requirements and additional taxes. In other words, especially the clientele that we have been taking care of individually and intensively for 17 years now in the form of the various “Rosenkinder” projects.
Here is the usual report on our current projects. With a few exceptions, the pictures in this report are from the Lions Club programme we are particularly supporting this year: FIGHT CHILD HUNGER. It is nice to see and document how, among other things, the approximately 25,000 school meals financed by us through special income are being used this year. A great campaign for needy children/pupils outside the Rosenkinder support group, but brought about by the current economic crisis.
And what about the rest of our projects?
1. Current project “Rosenkinder” Sponsorship in cooperation with the Lions Club Aluthgama/Bentota
A new sponsorship period began in August for 69 sponsored children. We are particularly proud of the fact that 37 of these sponsored children are receiving extended support for their studies. This is due to the fact that, on the one hand, many sponsored “rose children” are now studying after successful school sponsorship and, on the other hand, we are sponsoring a very concentrated number of talented university entrants from poor family situations, especially from the region of Kotapola, after the Corona crisis. On 1 August, two more “rose children” were admitted to our programme. The first is 21-year-old Rasika and the second is 22-year-old Kaushalya. Rasika had an excellent a-level (high school diploma), started her studies, but also had a father who has been in prison for 13 years. The mother has been the breadwinner of the family ever since. The younger sister goes to school. However, first due to Corona and now due to the economic crisis, Rasika would have to give up her teaching studies, which she started 2 years ago, because of the current precarious family situation. Kaushalya and a similar fate. There, the mother has died. The father finances the family as a casual electrician. Currently, there is also no permanent income. There is a younger brother who is talented boy can only continue his management studies, which he started a year ago, in the current situation with our help. Thanks to the good “wiring” of our two sponsorship programme helpers Chandani and Dooland, we can help quickly and effectively and the two are continuing their studies. Currently, we are waiting for the results of our 5 sponsored children who wrote their a-level exams last February and are aiming for studies afterwards. I will definitely report on this in the next member information.in 10th grade and an older sister who supports her family from time to time.
2. Current project special education at the Anula Wijerama Children Home in Balapitiya in cooperation with the All Ceylon Buddhist Congress (ACBC)
Of course, we also keep in touch with the 30 girls aged 6 to 19 in Balapitiya throughout the year. Our local helper Petra Gerlings has various channels of contact. In addition, we continue the development dialogues we started last year (on site and 5x via ZOOM) with the oldest girls and the committee. In addition, I have a regular exchange with Asitha, the chairperson of the volunteer committee of the children’s home and Nilika, the head of all ACBC children’s homes in Sri Lanka. All in all, individual support in such a home is a difficult business. For this year, we had planned to transfer 2 girls – Woshini and Uresha – into an individual Rosenkinder sponsorship after they had successfully completed their school-leaving exams. In addition, 2 girls – Chaya and Nipuni – with less school aptitude were to start an education at the Rosenkinder Hostel in the 2nd half of the year. Woshini is still in the hostel, has a good school leaving certificate and we are supporting her with individual preparatory lessons for the entrance examination for music studies in December 2023. The hoped-for start of studies, supported by us, is at the beginning of 2024. So far so good and in good hope. Uresha has an exceptionally good school leaving certificate, but has left the home at the family’s request because she has reached the age of majority. Unfortunately, we don’t know if she is working now, if she is already married or what her plans are. She has also broken off contact with the home. We are currently trying to contact her personally by text message. We are not giving up that easily! Chaya already had a place in the Rosenkinder Hostel in Panadura for a half-year training course in “Beauty Culture”. Here too, the family intervened and brought her home. The father initially wanted to send Chaya to Panadura too, but now he has other plans. It is a great pity for the already very disadvantaged girl. We are still on the ball with Nipuni. The idea to start the training in the second half of 2023 could not be realised. There were problems with the youth welfare office because of her age and her mother also interfered. She is now of age and wants to stay in the home until she can start training. This is supposed to start in 2024, either “Beauty Culture” as originally planned or maybe a dental assistant in Colombo. We discussed this difficult situation in detail with Nilika, the head of all ACBC children’s homes. In this context, she visited the youth welfare office responsible for Balapitiya and the head of the administration of the region and pointed out the special support for the girls in the home through the “Rosenkinder”. Let’s see if anything changes here. We are continuing with our comprehensive general support for the 30 girls and with the special support programme for the 10 oldest girls.
3. Children Home for blind and deaf-mute Children in Mahaweewa in cooperation with the All Ceylon Buddhist Congress (ACBC)
Also in this project we have an ongoing contact through Melanie Bierut, our regular helper on site and with the committee. The “Activity Room”, newly established this year as a didactic, educational facility during school hours and supervised by two dedicated teachers, is a complete success according to the reactions we have received. We are also committed through a monthly budget for teaching materials as well as for occupational therapy and language lessons. Currently, Melanie has brought a large consignment of educational play and occupational material on its way to Sri Lanka. These are all things that are not available in the current economic situation and the continuing import ban in the country. After only 14 days, DHL reported that the transport and customs formalities had been completed. Only the pictures of the unpacking of the surprise package are missing. It remains a very special Rosenkinder project but one that brings a lot of joy on all sides. Currently, we would like to alleviate the shortage of Braille keyboards for the classroom. However, the market is empty due to the import ban. The sole supplier is probably China. We are staying on the ball and hope for Christmas presents.
4. Current project “Rosenkinder Hostel” at the Vocational Training Center in Panadura in cooperation with the All Ceylon Buddhist Congress (ACBC)
Although unfortunately no girls from the children’s home in Balapitiya have started their training for the second half of 2023, 15 other girls from other children’s homes of ACBC have started their training. 3 girls “Tailering”, 10 girls “Quality Control” and 2 girls “Daycare Course. The 1st semester 2023 course was successfully completed for 12 girls. 3 girls “Tailering”, 6 girls “Quality Control”, 2 girls “Beauty Culture”, 1 girl “Daycare Course”. All girls were offered a permanent job afterwards. This Level 4 training is also very well recognised internationally. We are happy to have supported more than 150 girls from the various ACBC children’s homes in the Rosenkinder Hostel in the past 10 years.
5. Planned project “Rose Children Hostel 2” at the Boy Children Home in Payagala in cooperation with the All Ceylon Buddhist Congress (ACBC)
It was already clear to us that the establishment or renovation of a second Rosenkinder Hostel would be a special challenge in the current situation in Sri Lanka. Since the government funds for the adjacent training centre are still lacking, we had planned to finance both buildings. As this is a really big project for our association, we receive qualified support from our local Lions Club for the project. Through them, the necessary construction drawings and descriptions have been prepared. ACBC has meanwhile issued a tender for this. There should also be offers. We are currently clarifying queries with our Lions Club helpers. We are waiting impatiently and very anxiously for the results. It remains an exciting year 2023 for all involved.
6. Other projects
Apart from the ongoing “Fight Child Hunger” campaign organised by the Lions Club District with the pictures documented here, we will concentrate on our ongoing projects just described during the year 2023. We do not yet know whether another round of the “Care for the unborn Child” project is planned for the coming year. However, we already know that our 17 volunteers in the various projects are already thinking about what other Rosenkinder activities we should continue or set up in 2024.
7. Other information
In the meantime, the hot phase for planning our next Sri Lanka project trip has already started. We already know that we will start on 29 January 2024 and return on 29 February 2024. We also already know some of the people involved for the part of the 2024 Members’ Trip from 11 February 2024 to 20 February 2024. It will definitely be a very small group. There is still room for those who decide to join us at short notice. So please contact me at short notice. I will gladly attach the current plan of the trip.
Have a nice and hopefully healthy year 2023 in a globally seen rather not so pleasant time. Thank you for your loyal support and feel free to recommend us to your relatives and friends. More members are welcome and Christmas is coming soon.