It’s been 3 days since we left Sri Lanka and we’re still trying to collect our thoughts. I write this to you now from Australia where Vinosha and I are visiting our family (shout out to all of you!). We’ve already had some very interesting conversations with our cousins, uncles and aunts about the situation in Sri Lanka, reaffirming that what’s needed most right now is an awareness about what’s going on there, and how people overseas can help.
For all of the amazing people that provided donations towards our trip, below is a brief breakdown of how we distributed the money (We’ll provide more detailed explanations of our reasoning in our report in July):
Centre for Human Rights Development: 30,000 rs. towards supporting 5 families of political detainees (money was given directly to families, not to the centre to avoid administrative costs as recommended by the centre)
St. John’s Boy’s Home: 1 laptop (48,500 rs.) to help support skype mentorship programs and provide a resource for the boys and staff there
St. John’s Boy’s Home: 50,000 rs. to provide 6 months of sponsorship to reinstate one boy at the home (read our blog post about St. John’s Boy’s Home for a greater explanation). We will be providing the remaining 6 months of sponsorship once we are back in Toronto.
Visions Global Empowerment Field Staff: 1 laptop (48,500 rs.) to help field staff record data from different programs and also to help the development of future teacher support programming (the laptop can be taken to remote schools to provide skype-based training for teachers)
Karidiyanaru School in Batticaloa West: 18,000 rs. for 40 O-level pass books and 20 A-level pass books. These books are needed to provide O-level and A-level students with practise tests for their upcoming exams and to put them on an even playing field with students from other districts. As the exams are in August, this was an urgent need to be filled.*
Unnaichchai Primary School in Batticaloa West: 15,000 rs. for English resources and materials. This school is in a very poor area serving grade 3-9. With only 4 permanent classrooms and 10 teachers for 300 students, this school is your typical remote, understaffed and underfunded primary school. The English teacher self-confessed to not even being trained in English, but he was given the appointment because no one else wanted to commute that far or live in that community. He really wants to make a difference though and is trying to apply for training in English. We provided money to the principal and teacher to purchase more English resources and materials and also training materials for the teacher.*
Irkidducholai Primary School in Batticaloa West: 60,000 rs. for 5 bicycles for students living furthest away to facilitate an easier commute. The biggest problem at this school as with many of the rural schools we visited is absenteeism. While this is issue is complex and there are many reasons, at this school there are about 75 students who have to walk over 5km every day to get there. The cycles will be part of a pilot at the school to see if they make a difference in those students’ attendance.*
Former Child Soldier’s University Expenses: 27,000 rs. to cover 3 months of university accommodation and general expenses. Forcibly recruited in 2007, he was trained as a medic and then lost his leg to shelling as he was treating another patient. While his university tuition is free, he cannot travel to and from school on his one leg, and didn’t have the money to rent accommodation. He’s a lucky one though, having a family who accepted him back after the war, he was able to finish his high school studies and self-motivated, he decided to pursue higher studies. There are hundreds of other cases who weren’t as lucky, and are now begging on the streets, or working at day labour jobs unhappily. **
War Widow’s Income Generation Capital: 25,000 rs. to help expand a war widow’s story. For her story refer to the blog post “The stories that haunt you forever…” **
Income Generation for family with injured primary breadwinner: 25,000 rs. to help an impoverished family in Gurunagar. The husband was a day labourer but in 2008 a crane he was working with fell on him and shattered his lower spine. Now bedridden and paralyzed from the waist down, his wife has started a small cloth business from their house in order to generate income. She is looking for additional loans to expand her business so she can continue to care for her husband, their 6-year old daughter and her mother.**
Supporting Income for Schooling for Conflict-affected children in Vanni: 22,000 rs. to help 11 conflict-affected children in the Vanni region we met at a War Widow function in Kilinochchi. For an example of the kinds of situations these children come from read “The stories that haunt you forever…”
* All the money given to these organizations will be monitored by Sasi, a field staff member for Visions Global Empowerment. He will be sending us pictures and reports to confirm the correct items were purchased and the impact they have or haven’t made.
** All the money given to these individuals was through CARE International’s Community-Based Organizations. The donations will be monitored by Joy, a project coordinator at CARE International’s Jaffna office.
In total we gave 369,000 rs. in donations, or approximately $2,880 CDN. Thank you again to everyone who contributed to this amount!