Apart from these larger or umbrella projects, which benefit hundreds, indeed thousands of individuals, we also support a variety of ‘one-off’, ad hoc projects. Through our local knowledge, areas where we might be able to help are brought to our attention. If the selection criteria of legitimacy, feasibility, tangible benefit and of course cost are acceptable to our Board, then we undertake the project.

Our Mission Statement of trying to improve the livelihood of people in southern Sri Lanka means that we can support a broad range of projects. Prior to the tsunami our projects were all ad hoc. Equipping two small pre-schools, a livelihood project, a scholarship project, a rehabilitation project for mentally-disturbed patients and their families, a community income generation scheme.

Post-tsunami we have continued with a wide variety of such projects. Unsurprisingly there have been a number of cases of helping families renovate and re-equip homes and providing clothing, uniforms, books and other materials to children and schools. Organic vegetable farming as well as tree planting have been supported. A brief look at four, larger projects gives a further understanding of how these projects work and how they vary over time.

1. School materials for 1000 children
We teamed up with Help-O, a local NHO specializing in human rights and community development/empowerment who we’ve worked with before. 1000 children from tsunami-affected areas were given a full set of exercise books and complete stationery and drawing materials so that they could resume school properly equipped and try to get back to a ‘normal’ life.

2. Buonavista College
Though on a hill and so untouched by the tsunami, this school had to take on several dozen children from damaged or destroyed schools. In stages we built them a large new building containing three classrooms and a computer room which we also equipped.

3. Van Reeth Memorial Home for the Elders
A more recent, in progress project. This old people’s home was in bad need of a variety of building repairs and renovations. We focused on the septic system and all bathroom facilities which were in a very poor state and which we rebuilt. We also are rebuilding the kitchen which was structurally unsound as well being very run-down. Combined these will contribute to greater health, safety and wellbeing for the elderly who live here.

4. Computer training at Unawatuna micro business project.

FoS funded a new computer centre within this project to help local micro business. The project is managed by the Unawatuna Cultural and Environmental Conservation Society, a local body with whom we have carried out several other projects.

The project also includes teaching german, english and Japanese and catering training, funded by other bodies.

So far four computers have been supplied and as the project grows further donations are envisaged.

This is a good example of different bodies working together on a worthwhile local initiative.