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EMPOWERMENT SECTORS

 

 

A Busy Six Months at Village Heartbeat Project

The Village Heartbeat Centre in Udumulla is an innovation that was launched to empower and uplift the lives of impoverished rural people, to rebuild their lives and develop their communities after the tsunami in 2004. This Centre is a model for rural community development, designed to be replicated in rural villages wherever there is a need. The numbers that are benefiting through the Village Heartbeat, where equal opportunities to excel in life can be availed, bear testimony to the success of this model.

Having been set up thanks to the compassion of a variety of donors, the centre was opened in August 2007. We are grateful for the sustainability funding now received from the Rythm Foundation which has enabled a busy six months, from April to September 2009. Over this period  168 children and women from 13 villages in the area have benefited from the services provided at the centre, including English classes, computer training, women’s enterprise courses such as cookery and dressmaking, and the Children’s Goodness Club which brings children together under the motto ‘be good, do good’.

Activity Highlights

The highlight in April 2009, which traditionally is the holiday month in Sri Lanka, was the ‘Bak Maha Ulela’, a program of traditional games and activities, to celebrate the Sinhala and Tamil New Year.  Families from Udumulla and the surrounding villages participated in the fun and games, and a good time was had by all.

32 students of the IT program were awarded certificates after successfully completing their courses.

In May on Vesak Poya day which is the most important day in the Buddhist calendar, a ‘Bodhi Pooja’ was held at the local temple and later on in the evening Venerable Waddawala Dhammadassi Thera delivered a Bana Sermon at the Bamian Statue.  These events were organized by members of the Children’s Goodness Club.

An Exhibition named “Meth Sithuwilly” (Kind and Inspirational Thoughts) was held on 6th June, in collaboration with the Children’s Goodness Clubs of Udumulla and Seenigama. 31 member of the Udumulla Club and 16 members of the Seenigama Club exhibited posters. At the conclusion of this exhibition, Bank accounts were opened, by Mr. Kushil Gunasekara, depositing Rs.750.00 for each child who participated.

On Poya day 7th June, a flower distribution stall was operated by the members of the Children’s Goodness Club at Sri Nagarukkharama temple, Kalupe.  Approximately 32 children took part in this project and they all contributed by bringing flowers for the stall. The children were able to provide flowers for about 110 devotees.

On 16th & 17th June a Business Skill Development workshop was held at the Centre. The theme was on how to begin and develop a small business.  Sixteen women took part in this program and certificates were awarded at the end of the workshop.

On 27th June, certificates were also awarded to the 3rd group of Dress-making and the 2nd group of Cookery classes, who successfully completed their courses. The graduating students exhibited the skilfully made garments and sumptuous dishes prepared for the occasion. After the awards ceremony, everyone was treated to a delectable ‘Sangrahaya’ and was also invited to sample the dishes displayed by the graduating students.

In July, an awareness programme on‘Dengue’ was held at the Centre. The theme was on how to prevent the spread of Dengue by eradicating the breeding of the Dengue mosquito.   Public Health I nspector Janaka from the office of the Medical Officer of Health in Hikkaduwa, presented the program.  It was a very informative program as it drove the message home that each one of us  has the responsibility of keeping our homes and gardens free from breeding of mosquitoes. 

50 copies of the book titled ‘Sinhalen English - Elementary Level’, were donated by Mr. Dulip Samerasekera to the VHP Library.

The annual concert of the two Children’s Goodness Clubs of Seenigama and Udumulla was held at the Aviva Centre on 22 August.  This is a great opportunity for the members, who are the children of the area, to show off  their untapped talent and skills in the performing arts.  The show was a great success and Udumulla was proudly represented by three excellent dance performances.

In September 124 Books were given to the VHP Library from the consignment of books donated by Ms Susan Morris of Australia.  The books are proviing to be very popular with the children of the community.

Kushil, Founder and Trustee of the Foundation of Goodness, is committed to bridging the gap between rural and urban communities, uplifting the lives of children and youth to excel by providing opportunities and services never usually available. “Too often, the talents of those living in the villages are hidden because of lack of opportunity, but this project is evidence that with a little help, the talents can be revealed, underpinned by good values and strong community spirit, for a bright future.”

 

“Greatness is not found in positions,
power or possessions, but in humility,
compassion and service to fellow-men”

 


2009.11.02

 

 

 

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