Where we started

In 2012, the FARS Chanmugam Trust was set up to support work that will help improve the lives of some of Sri Lanka’s most vulnerable children. The trustees are friends and family drawn by a common bond of wanting to make a difference to the underprivileged children in Sri Lanka. We have now helped well over 400 children in Sri Lanka have a better life.

The story so far

A safe home for girls

The Trust's first, and largest, project was to build a home for girls in Wanathamulla, Colombo, giving them a safe and supportive environment in which to live whilst they receive a good education. After successfully opening the home to its first residents in 2014, we were then able to fund an expansion of the home with a second building including an Education Centre, and a playground. 

At the end of 2019 we created a new home for young ladies over 18 in Colombo who have no means of continuing their further education or finding stable and well-paying work. We provide free accommodation, food and educational support. At the moment, the residents are all young women who were previously living in our home in Wanathamulla and have graduated from school and therefore 'aged out' of the programme there. This new home gives them a chance to pursue further education or apprenticeships and slowly transitions them to learning how to live independently.

Pre-school in Gampaha

In 2017, the Trust created a partnership with a pre-school in the Gampaha region for children aged 3 – 5 years. With the funding the Trust is able to provide, the pre-school will now be refurbished with improved facilities for the children, and will be the first of its kind to provide free day care and education. We have made a commitment to fund the pre – school on an ongoing basis.

Helping to bring schools back to life and providing support in difficult times

In 2019 we refurbished a number of classrooms in a school with very limited facilities, in a poor area in Tetapalai. We have also provided sports and audio equipment. We have also funded sports and musical equipment for a poor school in Colombo. We have provided aid and support to children who are victims of the bomb blast on Easter Sunday in 2019.

How we stay involved

Our trustees regularly visit Sri Lanka with our founders, Frances and Tony Chanmugam, spending a minimum of five months a year there. The other trustees come between one and three times a year. All the trustees get actively involved in the improvement of the lives of the children in the Home. Each girl is treated as an individual with a specific development plan both from an educational and personal perspective. For example the older girls have half a day a week where they spend time with Tony and Frances learning how to shop in a supermarket, going to a mall to buy their clothes, using an escalator, going to a cafe etc. This type of experience prepares them for life after leaving our home.

What next?

We have continued to visit and talk with the staff at the school at Tetapalai. More classrooms still require refurbishment and we are hoping to help fundraise for a playground and sports field. 

We would also like to explore new projects to provide the opportunity for poor children in Colombo to compete in sport with children from more affluent schools. We believe sporting success is one way of improving the confidence of poor children by demonstrating that they can succeed, despite having a deprived background.

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