Trincomalee is situated on the east coast of Sri Lanka, just north of Batticaloa, at the mouth of a large bay which is home to the Trinco Naval base. The main livelihood in that part of the country is fishing, and during the war the waters were closed by the Navy which led to great hardship for the families of the unemployed fishermen. Now that the war is over, the waters have been opened for fishing once again.
Vellaimanal Nursery School Project
Ocean Stars supports a nursery school in this area which has 32 children and each year six children are sponsored by new Trust’s supporters. The sponsorship continues after the children move into primary and secondary school, giving them and their families the extra help they need to lift them a little out of poverty. In addition, Ocean Stars Trust also pays the wages of the teachers, provides uniforms for the children and provides on ground support for the nursery’s ongoing needs.
OST sponsors 90 children in this school.
Each year, the OST team from the UK visits the playgroup and provides much needed contact from the outside world. This means a lot to people in an area which, during the war, seldom saw visitors. On these visits there is always a large and very enthusiastic audience comprising former students and their parents.
When Dilanee first met the people in the area they were in a post-Tsunami refugee camp. Now they live in homes built by various NGOs and welcome visitors with great warmth and generosity.
In 2009, Scottish supporters of Ocean Stars Trust provided the funds to make a mobile health clinic available to the people, and in 2010 they gave six fishing boats and all the necessary equipment to the community.
To date we have given ten new fishing boats to the community empowering local families.
Vellaimanal Primary School Project
Because of local reorganisation this school presently meets in a community centre, and is looking for new premises. OST has recently supported this school by providing extra furniture, and teacher resources.
T/Al-Azhar Muslim Maha Vidyalaya - a Muslim secondary school in Trincomalee
OST has been sponsoring children from this school since 2005, and is looking to link with a British school.
There is also an OST supported sewing project based in Trinco. The mums of the nursery school children sew items of clothing and decorative wall-hangings whilst their children are at school. These are then sold to raise much needed money for the families, thus enabling the families to begin to support themselves.
|Janabdeen -Trinco co-ordinator at home with his family
Ocean Stars is a very special NGO and I love the work you do for the people of Sri Lanka. You first visited us soon after the tsunami when the people of Vellaimanl were all living in a camp. You played with the children and made them happy. Unlike other NGO’s you didn’t come just once and go away. You visit every year and you have helped the community in so many different ways.
You sponsor over 60 children and these families could not manage without the money you send them for their children’s education. The families love the fact that you bring tams every year and visit them in their homes. No one usually comes to visit us. The people feel very happy that you take time to meet their families. No other NGO does this.
I thanks Ocean Stars from the bottom of my heart and would like to work with you for ever.
Personal testimony from Yasmin Rajapakse Vellaimanal Trinco co-ordinator
Dilanee and I met in 2005 at my home, a few months after the Tsunami to discuss a possible collaboration to help rebuild the lives of Tsunami victims. Since that day, it has been delightful working with Ocean Stars Trust in all the projects we have undertaken.
OST members are so committed, dedicated and energetic that it amazes me every time I meet them on their visits to Sri Lanka. The kids and the village look forward to their visits.
OST have been increasing annually the number of kids sponsored in Vellaimanal, China Bay in Trincomalee. Today, we have 65 kids sponsored. New projects for the school and the sewing centre for the mothers are funded every year. The kids and the parents love the visits by the members who spend time with the kids in the Pre-school.
OST also continues to fund the school requirements every year for the kid’s in the Habaraduwa and Ahangama pre-schools in the South.
My colleague Rohan Ponniah considers it a great pleasure working with OST and look forward to their visits to Sri Lanka.