Since Tony and I returned to Sri Lanka at the beginning of October, we have been busy with all kinds of things.

Maria with the pre-school childrenFirstly, we had a visit from one of our Trustees, Marianne and her husband Adam, who spent 10 days with us. We also welcomed Maria Sterlini, a young teacher, who is in Sri Lanka volunteering to help to our charity.

We all paid a visit to the Wikasitha Pre school, where Maria is going to spend most of her time while she is in Sri Lanka.

Maria teaching Bhagya guitarMaria is also going to be teaching some of the children in the children’s home to play guitar. It has always been the dream of one of our girls, Bhagya, that she learn to play the guitar. Maria has now begun lessons with 9 of the girls .Look out for her updates in the next few weeks and find out how the girls are doing!

Marianne, Adam, Maria, Tony and I then paid a visit to Tetapali, near Chilaw, where the FARS Chanmugam has started a new project, refurbishing a rundown secondary school.

Marianne with a group of girls at schoolBoys in the school playgroundClassrooms in need of refurbishment

Our four “A” Level girls have just completed their exams and will receive their results in December. We wish them all well. Meantime they have started English and IT courses.
Depending on their results, they all hope to go on to further studies in Colombo. We will keep you informed as to how they are doing.

Our four “O” Level girls are working hard, preparing for their exams in December.
They are provided with private tuition in Maths, both in Tamil and Sinhala, and in English, twice weekly. As well as this tuition, Tony and I try to give as much help as possible.

Our eldest three girls, Samadhi, Kokila and Ramya, are all doing well.
Samadhi has passed her first year exams at SLIIT, coming 64th out of approximately  2,000 students, a phenomenal achievement, and we congratulate her. We are very proud of you, Samadhi! Kokila has also done very well in her Diploma course at the Sri Lanka college of Journalism, coming 2nd in the interim exams . Very well done, Kokila, and we are also very proud of you! Both Samadhi and Kokila are now about to embark on internships and will need a suitable place , that reflects their age and need for more independence and self sufficiency . The cup The Trustees have discussed this problem and have decided to set up a home for theses older girls , that will provide the right degree of independence , security and support . Tony and I have looked at a number of properties and have found a suitable house. It is in the process of being furnished and the girls will move in in November. We have appointed a live-in “housekeeper” who  will look after the girls, helping them and supervising them. We will also be actively involved in advising and supporting the girls.

Group of girls and trustees out for lunch

The existing bus in the children’s home , which takes the children to and from school, is no longer fit for purpose and could break down at any time. The Trustees have discussed this and have decided to look for an alternative bus. Hopefully we will find a replacement soon. We will keep you posted!

One of the schools which our children attend, St. Anthony’s, Madampitya, is in a very poor catchment area, and it was brought to Tony’s attention that their band instruments needed replacing. It so happened that we had band equipment in our Children’s Home which was no longer needed, so we donated it to St. Anthony’s school. As you can see, the instruments are now being put to good use! 

School band in uniform and formation

We also donated some cricket equipment to the same school which will help  them to compete with the richer schools that have so much more equipment.

Boys school cricket team

We have taken the girls for their eye tests and have arranged full Medical’s for all of them in the next two months . We have tried to help the girls prepare for their life outside the Home by encouraging them to learn how to cook as well as going shopping in the market . The modern world can be daunting when you live in a small village , even escalators can be a major challenge, consequently we take some of the older girls to malls and supermarkets to help prepare them for life in Colombo.

Two of the girls at the shopping centre with FrancesGirls at the opticiansGirls in the kitchen learning to cook