Fundraisers' work adds up to nursery

The opening of two pre-schools on the 2011 trip to Sri Lanka

OceanStars :: Friday 18th November 2011 :: This Story

Volunteers from a Fleet based charity have just returned from another successful mercy mission to Sri Lanka.

Thirteen members of the Ocean Stars Trust (OST) were kept busy helping needy families on the tropical idland just off the southern tip of India.

The charity was set up by Church Crookham resident Dilanee Bunter after the Boxing day 2004 tsunami and has raised more than £100,000 to help more than 40 projects in the north and east of the country.


“Among the highlights of the trip were the openings of two new playgroups in rural communities where children have had no access to pre-school education until now,” said 50 year old mother of three Mrs Bunter, who was born in Sri Lank but moved to Britain when she was 15.

“Former Court Moor School pupil Matt Marshall from Fleet had worked hard all year and raised money to help build Little Stars Nursery in Makkalvanchi near Batticaloa, which he himself ceremonially opened during the visit. It means 40 local children can mow benefit from a pre-school education.

“A playgroup in another village called Karaveddy, which was destroyed in the floods of January this year, has been re-built by Ocean Stars and was also opened by the team.”

The OST group also visited new wells and toilets in rural communities that have been provided by the trust thanks to various British Donors. “During the visit the group met many of the hundreds of children who are being sponsored by people in the UK fir £10 a month, and the families are very grateful for the help they receive,” added Mrs Bunter, a teacher and counsellor at the Linden Education Centre pupil referral unit in Queen’s Road, North Camp.

“Local groups such as Heatherside Infant School, Fleet Baptist Church, Fleet Methodist Church and All Saints Church have all raised funds for the charity this year.”

The trust has raised money through child and teacher sponsorship schemes, individual legacies and donations and fundraising events, including variety shows.

Volunteers have previously visited playgroups and schools in Sri Lanka with supplies collected by Fleet and Hartley Witney Methodist churches, local schools and individuals.

Supplies have included pencils, pens, rubbers, glue sticks, balloons, toothpaste, toothbrushes, hairbands, deodorant, soap, tissue paper, hair brushes and knitted teddies.
Mrs Bunter said “Many families live on an income of about £12 a month with which they have to buy rice and their fuel for cooking. They don’t have anything left over for luxuries like pencils and paper and shoes and clothes.”

Fleet News & Mail
Fri 11 Nov 2011