Hello to our lovely readers 🙂
This post is about an amazing cause that we have had the honour of being part of. We have been working with a brilliant charity called Children’s Hope in the South of Sri Lanka, just outside of Galle. The charity was set up by an English lady called Carla Browne whom travelled here straight after the tsunami of 2004, she wanted the people to know consistency as people came in the months after the tsunami but never returned. She used her own money to buy a property in Habaraduwa and set up a volunteers village where travellers can stay and help the local people. She manages many different projects such as the deaf and blind school and holds sign language lessons to the local people and teachers to better communicate with the children. She has renovated and decorated a wing, in the children’s hospital, in the near by town, with help from others they have donated medical equipment, as the hospital previously had one thermometer and nebuliser between 50 patients. She is helping support “The Village” a community, based on government owned land, they have 3 toilets for 900 families and so, Children’s Hope is trying to raise money for a toilet block and shower for every 100 families. The charity is also in the works of making the village sustainable by crafting soaps, candles, growing mushrooms and vegetables, giving them valuable life skills and form of communal income.
This project we are working on is very close to our heart and home, we are providing books for the schools and community in the small village, Talpe, opposite the location of my mum’s house. The children in this village come from very poor backgrounds, they go to school with no shoes or proper clothing and some babies can’t go at all, as in Sri Lanka, school for age 6 and above is free but, pre-school is not, with the exception of Children’s Hope pre-school.
With the help of an amazing and generous organisation in Kuwait, Children’s Hope are donating books for all ages, of all topics – including books on learning English, grammar and punctuation to the children of Talpe. The company in Kuwait are called Q8books and are generously donating as many books as the children need, we are starting with one village but if the project is a success, there is option to help people along the entire Southern coast!
Today we visited the village with our friend, and local, Miyesh. He was born and raised in the village and so is very happy to help us, he introduces us to the various families in the village, showing us the conditions they live in. He wants us to understand where these people live and how the children are raised, most live in small houses, they are growing produce, chillies are drying in the sun and everyone knows their neighbour. Miyesh informs us that we are the first white people to ever visit this village and so we received a lot of attention and caused quite a commotion!
Everyone was so happy, smiling and waving, children were not afraid to say hello and though we were drawing a crowd, we never felt threatened, we were a curiosity. We sat and were given a king coconut each, we drank, as more and more families arrived with their children to hear what the white people were doing. They were all so appreciative of us being there, we were invited to sit and drink at every moment we decided to pause.
We were told to wait by a river while Miyesh nipped to the shop to pick me up some cough medicine (still not quite recovered from the plane journey). While we waited we were joined by children of all ages and their mothers, we asked to take a few photographs, the more we took, the more children appeared. Everyone wanted have their picture taken, mums were pushing small children to the front to be next in line for the lens. We have actually had mothers knocking on our door for a picture with their baby, we are going to print all the images off so, each family will have a picture of their children they can frame.
Next we visited the schools, firstly a pre-school of 48 children, 24 children aged 2-3, 24 children aged 4-6. The headmistress was a tiny lady who could speak relatively good english, she was very happy to receive any help and showed us where the books could go. As the children were so young, she requested very novice English books, exercise books for writing and drawing books, they know how important it is to learn English from a very young age and just wish to have greater facilities to provide this.
The second school we visited is the location of the new Children’s Hope pre-school, we will be providing them with the donations of Q8books, the books that they need to start developing their minds. The third school we visited was the only secondary school in the village and taught around 750 students from the age of 6-16, they had a library all ready but the shelves were very bare and the books thoroughly worn. The librarian was overjoyed, she asked if we could help renovate the library and paint the walls, unfortunately, we could only provide books at this moment as we are renovating the pre-school but, we hope we can move onto this soon, or raise donations for the school to start painting. Tomorrow we will find out what kind of books each class would like, we can then pass all the information we have learned onto Q8books who will sort, pack and ship the books over to be distributed.
The last place we were shown was the village temple where they hold festivals each year, there was a row of 3 rooms a little way away from the shrine. On hearing the news of book donations, the community had decided to rent one of these rooms by all chipping in money they could afford, to create a community library where children, or adults, can come to read every day of the week and after school.
Later this evening we are returning to Talpe to meet all the families and discuss the future plans we have for them. Though Talpe is receiving a great donation in the way of books it became abundantly clear to Sherard and I that these people are still desperately in need of shoes, clothes and paint. In the coming months, Sherard and I are contacting our old schools in England, to see if they can do an event for this village, by having each child bring in a bag of old clothes and shoes to donate to the children of Talpe. If you know of a school in England or around the world, that would donate to the children of Talpe, please get in contact, through Facebook, blog, Instagram, Youtube, anything! We also hope to encourage companies to donate money for paint by painting their logo on the newly, decorated wall. If you are an interested company, again, get in touch!
Please stay tuned for more posts on this wonderful country and how this project is getting along, our documentary on Children’s Hope is out next week. Until next time, remember, one donation won’t change your world, but, the world of those who receive that donation will be changed forever!
Thank you 🙂
Amy & Sherard xx