The trip report of Natasja and Ingrid in October 2021 is on the website.
You can find it under the Trip Reports tab in the Main Menu or click here
October 14, 2021
After 2 years of absence due to de Corona, Natasja and Ingrid went back to Sri Lanka last Wednesday.
October 16, 2021
Message from Natasha
We have finally arrived in Sri Lanka. So nice to be back.
Although the schools are closed, there is plenty to do.
First 2 days hotel (quarantine Corona) and then we stay with friends.
Travel report will follow later this year.
It has been 5 years ago that Youth4Youth (youth members of VMHC Cartouche from Voorburg) came to Sri Lanka. Youth4Youth then gave hockey lessons to the children of the Mahawatta Maha Vidyalaya school. The head of this school also plays hockey himself, he thought this was such a fun action that he went looking for someone who could take over the hockey lesson.
Youth4Youth had brought the old club shirts and hockey sticks and donated them to the school.
The following year another group from Youth4Youth came to Sri Lanka and they bought a goalkeeper outfit together with Sri Lankan Hope for Children and gave it to the school.
The children of the Mahawatta Maha Vidyalaya school started playing hockey better and better so they could also participate in competitions, which were also won regularly. How wonderful is this for these children.
Now, 5 years later, the children have received new hockey outfits sponsored by Sri Lankan Hope for Children. In addition, Nishantha, one of the Sri Lankan volunteers for Sri Lankan Hope for Children, went out to find new hockey sticks. This was quite an undertaking, especially in this time of Covid-19. Several times he went by bus and train to Colombo from Kandy, which is a trip of a few hours there and a few hours back. In Colombo he started looking for new hockey sticks, but they were not easy to get.
Often the hockey sticks come from India, but the delivery of the sticks is not really good at the moment, due to Covid-19. After visiting many sports shops, Nishantha managed to find 15 new hockey sticks. The new hockey sticks were given by Nishantha to the children of this school.
The school now also wants to set up a girls’ team. For this we have now started a project in the Netherlands to get stuff through various hockey clubs. Think of shirts, socks, shin guards, balls and hockey sticks.
In Sri Lanka, after being closed for a long time due to COVID-19, the schools are finally reopening. Ramani is again very busy to provide all sponsor kids with the right school supplies.
Online teaching does not work in Sri Lanka as the children are not in possession of a laptop at home. So, the school has asked for custom books this year so that the children can work a lot at home as they can only go to school a few days a week.
It has been decided instead of new shoes to buy these custom (more expensive) books for the children. Because the children could not go to school much recently, the old shoes have not been worn much and can last for another year.
Kanchana, one of the volunteers is doing a project for Srilankan Hope for Children in the area of Mahaoya. We are working together with the chief and he tells us where the poorest people live. In the past we helped one village by giving food parcels and solar units.
Two years ago, the chief told us about another, even poorer village. We visited this village, but could not meet all the people, as there is no road to the last huts.
We discussed with the chief and the nearby headteacher from the local primary school, what we could do to help? Our main focus is, as always, the children. Out the 150 very poor families the chief and headteacher chose the 20 poorest families with schooling children.
We decided in this time of Corona to give each family, with the money we got from the Green Heart Campaign from LC Packaging, food parcels for 3 months and also 25 plants so they could grow their own vegetables.
These plants need less water than other plants.
We continue with this project but because of the lockdown many projects are delayed.
In 2001, I started to take school items with me from Holland to Sri Lanka. This was difficult as I could only take 20 kg with me. Some people gave me clothes and toys, which made me happy, but how would I take it to Sri Lanka? I tried if people or airlines could take it with them, but again this was very difficult.
My father said it might be a good idea to send a 20-foot container. I wasn’t sure. Where would I get so many clothes and educational materials from, to fill around 400 boxes? I told my father this was not possible. But then something happened which changed everything. At boxing day, we heard about the devastating Tsunami. In less then 3 months we had not a 20-foot but 40-foot container full of 700 boxes, beds, tables etc.
But where could we store this boxes?
Ravi Perera came to the rescue. He owned a biscuit factory and the upper part of this factory was empty. It was a lot of work to get the 700 boxes to this factory. It took us 3 years to divide all the boxes between all the villages, schools and homes.
This had to change. I went back to taking a few boxes with me with the help of some companies which would take the boxes with them. At that time, I did not have to pay for the boxes or bags. Over the last 5 years around 300 boxes arrived in Sri Lanka.
But where to store those boxes now?
Every year there would be around 120 boxes and because of bombings etc. more boxes came to Sri Lanka than I could divide in one year. Over a period of 5 years the boxes were stalled at Tennekumbura with the family Wickramasuriya. We as Srilankan Hope for Children were very happy about this. The family had one room filled with all the boxes. I used their home also for dividing all the items. Last year we had to change because the family wanted their room back, which of course we totally understood.
So where to go now?
It is not easy to find a big and safe enough place. Thank God for Nishantha and Ramani. They agreed to put the boxes up in their house and hotel. At this moment there are around 140 boxes at Nishantha’s place and 20 boxes at a guesthouse which Ramani runs. Nishanta picked up the boxes from Tennekumbura . Heavy work.
And where do I keep the boxes in Holland?
In my garage!
At the invitation of the LC Supports Foundation sponsor, Oriol Puig (an employee of the Foundation) was given the opportunity to visit Sri Lanka. From 8 to 11 January 2020 he visited schools to see how Srilankan-Hope-for-Children spent the sponsor money.
You can read and see a report of his trip with photos here.