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EMPOWERMENT SECTORS

 

 

Volunteering to make the world a better place

The work carried out by the Foundation of Goodness is constantly blessed by a steady stream of volunteers who bring with them a novel way of looking at things and carrying out tasks. The legacy they leave behind often endures long after they themselves have left the island, and the FoG is enriched by all they had to share.

The second half of 2012 saw many talented and enthusiastic individuals step up to volunteer with us. Taking time away from busy lives to do their part towards enriching humanity for no other compensation than the joy and gratitude shining forth from the faces of those they helped. These people joined the ranks of an exceptional batch of volunteers we had throughout the year of 2012.

Davide Tononi and Silvia Cerotti from Italy who joined us for two weeks in August were the first volunteers ever to dedicate their time exclusively to the Rathgama Village Heartbeat Project. Living and working at the VHP Rathgama they dedicated a majority of their time towards working with the children attending classes and Children’s Goodness Club for whom they organized activities twice a day. In addition, they also conducted a cookery demonstration on how to prepare authentic Italian pizza and worked to improve the standard of English among the children through creative and engaging lessons during English Classes and Computer Training. Before departing they put together a brilliant PowerPoint presentation about the Rathgama Village Heartbeat Project which is a comprehensive break down of the VHP activities and overall outcomes. Looking back over their time at the Village Heartbeat Project, they stated, “Our experience thus far has been that the communities embrace this opportunity and take massive strides towards their progress as individuals and as a community.”

Charlton Brown is a Private Registered Training Organization and Employment Agency in Australia who conducts training in areas such as Early Childhood Education and Care, Aged Care, Home and Community Care, Disability Care, Outside School Hours Care and Community Services Work, and for the past three years their Global Linkages Programme has enabled for teams to visit the Foundation of Goodness in order to carry out community outreach projects. With the wealth of knowledge they poses in the community and aged care fields they provide an invaluable service, working with elders homes and orphanages during their time with us. The 2012 group included Carmel Harrison, Christina Kelly, Ceasar Arias, Kattie Wall, Kristien Herd, Rose Greig and Samantha O’Dwyer. Christina spoke of this opportunity to travel and volunteer in Sri Lanka with the FoG as, “The chance of a lifetime to experience a different culture and use my skills.”

In September Aleta Phelps and Sam Fricker from USA and Canada respectively joined us for a three month volunteering stint. They were well versed in the art of volunteering and community outreach work, both having volunteered preciously in Guatemala, while Aleta had also worked in Nicaragua as well as volunteering in Mongolia with the US Peace Corps. They were both trained English Instructors with additional experience in sustainable development and project management. Upbeat, cheerful and industrious they displayed a wonderful capacity for working with children with great care and diligence, and jumped at the chance to help out in a variety of projects. This is how they even ended up leaving their work hub in Seenigama to join in one of FoG’s monthly trips to the North and help paint toilets there while baking in the harsh midday sun before organizing a night of English activities and games at an orphanage in Mankulam. We were fortunate to have them with us for close to three months during which time they worked intensively with the FoG pre-school.

Frances Palmer from Switzerland also visited us in September. A good friend of ardent FoG supporter Chinta Rajab, Frances imparted very valuable knowledge, teaching and conducting workshops on anxiety management and reflexology.

Livia Chacon-Cordon arrived from France in September to volunteer at the FoG Head Office in Colombo for a period of three months in the capacity of Sustainable Income Generation Research and Development worker. A pleasant person who always had a smile on her face, Livia researched for methods through which the FoG could expand and improve our existing sustainable income generation plans in areas such as BPO and Community Aid Tourism.

“I appreciated working with Kushil and the Team because they are passionate and hard-working people devoted towards bringing goodness and compassion to a world which desperately needs it. Working with Kushil is truly inspiring and I was impressed by the amount of work the team had to face every month.”

In November, Zachery Shanmugam from Malaysia joined us for two weeks during which time he worked in close association with the team at the Sports Academy. At the end of his volunteer period he produced a presentation revolving around handicapped sportsmen that was both inspiring and uplifting, and would prove extremely useful as a source of motivation.

Simon St Leger-Harris and Elizabeth Treherne also joined us for two weeks in November and they worked on a range of activities and training workshops in areas such as first-aid training (an invaluable programme for the swimming and diving students), kids computer training, pre-school education and elevating general project management standards. They also compiled for our use a first-aid manual and training module so that later generations of student could also benefit.

In December we were visited by two volunteers with truly unique talents. Rachel Goldsworthy from Australia was a nutritionist with a degree in naturopathy who had intensive knowledge concerning herbal medicine and during her time with us she carried out research regarding herbal medicine and nutrition. The second volunteer for December was Manaka Adachi, our very first Japanese volunteer who worked with the Children’s Goodness Clubs teaching them about Japanese Culture and the art of origami.

A number of Community Aid Volunteerism groups also visited us during this period including the Australia Sri Lanka Medical Team (AuSLMT) led by Dr. Sian Hughes and including Tony Heselev, Matilda Heselev, Sam Heselev, Caroline MacIndoe, Gaya Mathan, Nicole Muir, Emily Sansoni, Hannah Cooney and Genevieve Aldridge.. The AuSLMT team who has visited us previously conducted multiple medical camps in the North and South during their visit this year covering areas such as Seenigama, Mankulam, Mullaitivu and Kilinochchi.

A community aid team from HSBC also visited the Foundation and conducted a variety of workshops, activities and training programs for Pre School, CGC, English Class, IT, Business Skills, Women’s Empowerment and Sports, and a group from Oriflame conducted workshops on beauty care for the Women’s Empowerment students. It is also noteworthy that earlier in the year, a workshop on effective decision making was conducted by Errol Wirasinghe from USA in Seenigama.

Words cannot express our love and gratitude for all these noble individuals who give of their time, energy and experience and ask for nothing in return. They stand as prime examples for the best of humanity, who unselfishly dedicate their lives for the uplifting of others not strong enough to do so on their own. As we express our most sincere thanks to all the people who came in to our lives and left it all the richer for the experience, we look forward eagerly to meeting all the individuals who will join us in the months to come.

The FoG Sports Academy continues to be one of the most dedicated and hardworking teams at the Foundation as working with so many kids in different sports is no mean task. Their busy schedule continues over the rest of the year during which time they will aim high and attempt to attain lofty goals so that they can help all the youngsters in their care to achieve their dreams.

 

Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some stay for a while and leave footprints on our hearts. And we are never, ever the same.

 

 

05.03.2013

 

 

 

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