Dear club members, dear other club supporters,
Another year “feels” like it’s coming to an end far too quickly. So it’s time to look back on the Rosenkinder year 2023 and the current status of our projects and take a brief look ahead to 2024. I think we “all” would have wished for a more peaceful and less politically hectic year. However, a look at Sri Lanka shows that things are far worse there – the consequences of last year’s state bankruptcy are far from over. It is becoming more and more apparent in everyday life and also in our project business that there is hardly any state budget available for humanitarian things in life and education. In other words, we are needed more than ever to continue our various projects. So we continue with great vigour!
Advent is also the time for general donations. We see this almost every day in the post or in the media. We are also involved again with “Ein Herz für Rosenkinder”. Last year, we collected very successfully for school meals for starving children. The pictures of the distribution of our approximately 25,000 school meals were the visual highlight of the last member information. This year, we are focussing our Advent fundraising campaign on the boarding school for the blind and deaf in Mahaweewa, which we have been supporting since 2019. Specifically, it is about the inadequate technical Braille infrastructure at the school – such as the lack of Braille keyboards. Last weekend, we successfully started collecting donations at the Uetersen Christmas market. A few more presentations and fundraisers are on the programme until the end of the year. If you would like to support us in this current campaign – please do so. Our donation account is open for this special purpose until the end of the year:
Rosenkinder e.V. at VR Bank in Holstein eG – IBAN DE37 2219 1405 0040 4284 00
Here is the announced regular report on our projects:
Current project “Rosenkinder” Sponsorship in cooperation with the Lions Club Aluthgama/Bentota
We started our current funding period last August with 69 sponsored children and it ends in January 2024. The annual o-level and a-level exams continue to be characterised by delays and, even worse, unusually long evaluation times. These waiting times are generally unproductive, but are to be awaited with regard to opportunities for further academic development, studies or careers. At least in February, when we are back in Sri Lanka and the new funding period begins, we will hopefully meet all 69 sponsored children and find out about their status and future. In January, the a-level exams for 2023 will also start “late” again. So a few new waiting times. We currently have very good news to report from two former sponsored children. The first is 25-year-old Nishani. She was a rose child from the very beginning in 2007 and we unfortunately had to stop sponsoring her in 2022. In two Corona years, no study places were offered for the teacher training programme she was aiming for. All educational opportunities were blocked in those years by the training of so-called “corona helpers”. But Nishani stayed on the ball and recently informed me that she had finally found a place to study. Hooray, she is studying, albeit far from home. So successfully that she became English tutor of her year due to her excellent English skills – see picture. Nishani will be one of our sponsored children again from February 2024 and will receive our financial support until she graduates. We received the same good news from 22-year-old Gayathri. She also had a very good A-level exam in 2021. However, there was no offer for her to study in 2022, so we unfortunately cancelled the funding last January. Gayathri did not give up and enrolled on a degree in Psychology and Anthropology in the autumn and has just started her studies. We will now include her in the circle of sponsored children again. I will report on the many other “Rosenkinder” sponsorships when I hopefully meet all of them again in person in Sri Lanka next February.
Current project special education at the Anula Wijerama Children Home in Balapitiya in cooperation with the All Ceylon Buddhist Congress (ACBC)
The 30 or so girls aged between 6 and 19 at the girls’ children’s home in Balapitiya have just received their second visit this year from our member Petra Gerlings. There is a lot going on at the children’s home. We have to adjust or change many of the things that we have recently suggested for the individual support of the girls. We had already tried to sort out a few things at the last ZOOM development dialogue in November, but the aforementioned visit from Petra on site is much more effective. Woshini, our girl with the good A-level and the desire to study music, will now receive individual help for the entrance exam to the music academy, which is now scheduled for next February 2024. We are keeping our fingers crossed that it works out. After that, a transfer to a Rosenkinder sponsorship would be the ideal further support model for the parentless girl. We, or rather Petra at the moment, are also in the process of paving the way for the girls with less favourable school grades to receive a qualified education at our Rose Children’s Hostel in Panadura. In a large team with two from the committee, Nilani the matron and Padmi as translator, but more importantly five older girls, she has set off from Balapitiya to Panadura. As a result, the trip and the opportunities for qualified training at the training centre and our Rosenkinder Hostel were extremely well received. Two girls from the group (Amasha and Sehera) are to receive training in Beauty Culture and Tayloring from January 2024. At least our Petra has already been able to equip the two girls a little for the new phase of their lives. Petra will return from her mission in good time for Christmas.
Children Home for blind and deaf-mute Children in Mahaweewa in cooperation with the All Ceylon Buddhist Congress (ACBC)
The best news first. Our member Melanie Bierut will be travelling to Mahaweewa for the third time on Rosenkinder Mission in February 2024. Unfortunately, we miss each other by a few days. We would have loved to meet her during our planned visit to Mahaweewa. There is still a lot for Melanie and Rosenkinder to do for the kids at the boarding school and school. At the very least, the priority is to realise this year’s collection for Braille lessons. We would like to remind you of this once again. We were able to enjoy the pictures from the Rosenkinder Activity Room, our 2023 project contribution, throughout the year. The teachers we financed for the weekend supervision provided these pictures. However, this important institution for handicapped children also suffers from the general financial crisis in Sri Lanka. There is always a little fluctuation among the 16 teachers. Teachers retire, for example. Four new teachers are due to start now, but the state funding for this is still in limbo. The Rosenkinder board will also be looking into this next week and seeing how we can help temporarily to ensure continuous teaching in the school.
Current project “Rosenkinder Hostel” at the Vocational Training Center in Panadura in cooperation with the All Ceylon Buddhist Congress (ACBC)
The 15 girls from the second half of 2023 will end their stay at the Rosenkinder Hostel these days and thus also the qualified training with level 4 qualification at the state training centre. During our visit to Panadura in February 2024, we hope to meet Amasha and Sehera from Balapitiya here. The pictures here are from their visit with Petra Gerlings. This has greatly motivated the two of them for a qualified career start.
Planned project “Rosenkinder Hostel 2” at the Boy Children Home in Payagala in cooperation with the All Ceylon Buddhist Congress (ACBC)
Yes, a second Rosenkinder Hostel for qualified training for boys has been on our minds for a long time. After all, the vocational qualification model and Rosenkinder Hostel in Panadura has been one of our most sustainable projects since 2014, with over 150 vocational qualifications for girls in care. When we started the concrete planning in 2020 for the location of the hostel and training content, the coronavirus intervened. The first concrete plans emerged in 2022 and, thanks to a great campaign by a member, a considerable amount of financing capital. During our visit this year, things became very concrete and the first steps towards realisation were taken. Unfortunately, however, the state bankruptcy came unexpectedly in mid-2023 and thus a real show stopper. In principle, the project plans and descriptions are available. There are also concrete offers for the realisation of the training centre and hostel. Unfortunately, however, the costs for the hostel and training centre are now at a level that our association cannot and does not want to bear. According to our helpers’ research, the state is also currently unable and unwilling to commit to the training centre. In that case, of course, a hostel makes no sense. The editorial deadline for further alternatives for this project is the end of the year. If we don’t experience a miracle during our visit next year, we will start looking for an alternative project. We already have some ideas. More on this next year.
We are currently focussing fully on the complete and comprehensive financing of the traditional Rosenkinder projects just described. There will certainly be new ideas and tasks when we are back on site next February 2024. On our round trip in February, which will also take us to the north, we would also like to take a look around. In consultation with our friend, heart surgeon and author from the north of Sri Lanka, Dr Umes, we also want to visit some projects there. A visit to the renovation of a dance school near Kandy, which we co-financed a few years ago, is also on our programme. We also know from experience that our 17 volunteers in the various projects are already giving a lot of thought to what further successful Rosenkinder activities we should continue or set up in 2024.We are currently focussing fully on the complete and comprehensive financing of the traditional Rosenkinder projects just described. There will certainly be new ideas and tasks when we are back on site next February 2024. On our round trip in February, which will also take us to the north, we would also like to take a look around. In consultation with our friend, heart surgeon and author from the north of Sri Lanka, Dr Umes, we also want to visit some projects there. A visit to the renovation of a dance school near Kandy, which we co-financed a few years ago, is also on our programme. We also know from experience that our 17 volunteers in the various projects are already giving a lot of thought to what further successful Rosenkinder activities we should continue or set up in 2024.
The hot planning phase for our next trip to Sri Lanka is of course already underway. A relatively small group of five members in total will be travelling. The whole of February 2024 is available for new Rosenkinder adventures. Of course, there will again be daily live reports on our Rosenkinder homepage www.rosenkinder.org under “News” and on Facebook. There will be a reminder shortly before our departure on 29 January 2024.
Finally, perhaps another look at the 2024 calendar planning: the Board has already agreed on the date of the 18th General Meeting of the “Rosenkinder”. So make a note of Sunday 28 April 2024 and keep it free. The town hall in Uetersen will be the venue again, time and all further information will be provided later.
On behalf of the entire Executive Board, our helpers here and in Sri Lanka and, of course, our “Rosenkinder”, I wish you a wonderful and hopefully healthy finale to 2023, a peaceful Christmas and a happy New Year 2024, which will hopefully be a calm and peaceful one from a global perspective.