Rachel’s Kids sponsor plan connects Canadians with children in Sri Lanka. This island hosts a population close to 21 million people and is half the size of Newfoundland. Unfortunately, this beautiful island has been torn apart by 40 years of civil war and by a devastating tsunami in 2004 . This has left thousands homeless and displaced. These disastrous events are still being felt in Sri Lanka and the ones who are most affected are the children.
In Sri Lanka, as in many developing countries, regular school instruction is often inadequate to pass national exams and to gain admission to higher education. These classes, however, can be very costly and are not within reach for many families. Every parent wants to see their child reach their educational goals. Even in Canada we are aware of how expensive this can be. By sponsoring a child we are able to assist some of these children to achieve some form of vocational training or receive higher education, which we at Rachel’s Kids believe is the way out of poverty.
No money donated or raised by our organization goes towards expenses for our volunteer travel costs. The expenses incurred during the travels are funded privately by Dr. Navaneelan. Your complete donation goes directly to help improve the lives of children in Sri Lanka.
ABOUT OUR FOSTER SITES
Mount Carmel Parish is Rachel’s Kids longest running project in Sri Lanka. This year marks it’s 10th year in participation. Located in the outskirts of Colombo this church/parish has attendees from some of the poorest families. There are a total of 150 children, and over the years we have seen children graduate out of our program and either go to college, university or some form of skill training. This year we distributed school bags with school supplies, “The Shoes that Grow”, care packages, and food supplies to the families.
Omanthai school is located in a small town in northern Sri Lanka. This school was privately built by Dr. Navaneelan in 2014, and educates students from kindergarten to Grade 5. Many of these children are from families that were displaced by the civil war. As more and more people return to the area, the number of students continue to rise. Currently there are 65 students enrolled and this school is managed by nuns. The teachers at the school are given some assistance to supplement their salary of $40.00 a month.
This year, we visited the school with much needed school stationary, school bags packed with school supplies for each child, and care packages. In the past, Rachel’s Kids funded to construct a well (as you may see in the photo included) so that the children can have clean drinking water, and the people in this village were very grateful. We intend to help build a much needed indoor toilet, which now consists of a hole in the ground.
St. Roche school is located in Jaffna which is in the northern part of Sri Lanka. The children at this school are from some of the poorest families and the parents of these children who attend this school are either street sweepers or drain cleaners. They are considered low caste and sadly are discriminated and excluded from other schools. Many of them walk several kilometres to school, sometimes with no shoes. As the parents leave their homes very early in the morning, the children are left to tend for themselves and hence come to school with no breakfast. There was in existence some funding by a third party to cook some food in a make shift kitchen, which recently has been condemned by the health department. Rachel’s Kids has stepped up to renovate this kitchen and to provide a small water tank so these children could be fed and have clean drinking water .
In 2016 and 2017, Rachel’s Kids participated in the much needed renovation of some classrooms which was completely financed by a generous third party who wished to remain anonymous. Below you will find pictures of the existing kitchen.
This year we distributed school bags, school supplies, care packages, and food parcels which included rice, lentils, milk powder, and sugar. We also distributed “The Shoes that Grow” which were generously donated by the attendees of our annual fundraiser. As you can see from the smiles on their faces, these children are so grateful for all your generosity.
For the first time in the history of this school two girls got admission into university. The extra funding that we provided for extra classes was a great contributory factor. With a population of 21 million and very limited universities, admission to university is extremely competitive!
Moolai School is located in northern Sri Lanka. This is another school that was privately built by Dr. Navaneelan in 2008. As the number of children grew, Rachel’s Kids built two extensions, one in 2014 and one in 2016. The parents of some of the children attending this school volunteered their time to provide labour during these renovations. This year we provided school supplies, school bags, and stuffed animals. The teachers in this school are also given some assistance to supplement their salary of $40.00 a month.
Good Shepherd Orphanage is a haven to a group of 55 girls and is managed by 3 nuns. Some of these girls were forced to participate as child soldiers in the civil war and have been either abandoned by their parents or lost them to the war. The remainder of the resident girls are survivors of sexual abuse, sadly by a family member. They are here as wards of the court for their protection. The girls living at the orphanage range from the age of 3 to 16.
This year we distributed clothes and care packages which included feminine hygiene kits courtesy of a new Cornwall local production called “Go with the Flow”. This program is geared to support young girls to stay in school even after they hit puberty.
We also introduced the “Arts to Heart” program where art work on canvas created by children in Cornwall were handed to these girls who in turn returned the favour by creating their own artwork for the children in Cornwall. This is to create a connection and communication between children half way across the world and to bring awareness to children in our community.
Below you can see pictures of the volunteers dancing to music with some of the girls, which is done every evening at the orphanage as part of therapy.
St. Mary’s Rec Centre and Study Hall is our newest project and is situated in the central south of Sri Lanka. This is an area on the outskirts of Ratnapura, and people in this area are mainly workers at the surrounding tea plantations. As history goes, these workers have always been very poorly paid and as a result their children tend to drop out of school to seek employment. As you can see from the pictures below, their homes are little shacks and there is hardly any room for the families to live in, let alone for the children to study.
This centre will be a haven for the children in this area to gather, participate in study activities, games and feel safe. During the day, skill training programs will be conducted by the nuns to encourage school dropouts to acquire skills in sewing, carpentry and electronics.
The centre requires furniture and books so we can provide a small library. The people in this village have never had anyone help them before and needless to say their gratitude was very emotional and the volunteers were equally emotional!
WHERE DO YOUR DONATIONS GO?
Every year our amazing supporters donate to Rachel’s Kids International, either at our annual fundraiser or on their own throughout the year. So what do we spend that money on? No money donated to our organization ever goes towards travel expenses for our volunteers or board members. All donations go straight to the children. Here’s some of what we spend it on.
THE SHOES THAT GROW
Thanks to our donors, 320 pairs of “The Shoe that Grows” were donated.
These shoes will ensure their feet are properly protected and that their long walks to school are made more comfortable and safe.
One of the most appreciated gifts we provide are food parcels.
These parcels include staples for the child’s entire family including rice, lentils, cooking oil, milk powder and cooking utensils.
HEALTH & HYGIENE PACKAGES
Our health & hygiene packages include basic toiletries including toothbrushes and toothpaste, shampoo, soap and first-aid supplies.
While these are things we often take for granted, they can be essential tools in keeping children clean and in good health.
SCHOOL SUPPLIES AND BACKPACKS
Each year the children in our projects receive a new backpack filled with age-appropriate school supplies including notebooks, geometry sets, pens and pencils, highlighters, erasers, graph paper, pencil crayons, lunch boxes and water bottles.