The festival of Vesak

The Buddhist communities in Sri Lanka have been celebrating the festival of Vesak over the last two days.

Naomi Booth :: Tuesday 17th May 2022 :: This Story

Picture: /files/latest-news/469/w288/vesak-image-1.jpgVesak is one of the most important Buddhist festivals. It is also known as Wesak or Buddha Day. It is a celebration of Buddha's birthday and, for some Buddhists, marks his enlightenment (when he discovered life's meaning). It is also a time to reflect on his teachings and what it means to be Buddhist.

In Sri Lanka Buddhists decorate their houses and public places with colourful lanterns called Vesak koodu are hung along streets and in front of homes and arrange for various cultural events to bring happiness to everyone on that day.

Local businesses...

Chat to us!

Naomi Booth :: Tuesday 3rd May 2022 :: This Story

Dilanee met up with Melanie Huttunen and Roshanie to chat about our work and how local Sri Lankan people may be able to add their support.

Melanie is a regular traveller to Sri Lanka for her work in Sales and has fallen in love with the country and people.
 
We are hoping we can connect with more local businesses.

Contact us if you'd like to know more about it, or you think your business could work with us to empower children through education.

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To the countryside

to see...

Naomi Booth :: Friday 29th April 2022 :: This Story

The team travelled for over an hour with our star driver, Sudha. Miles and miles of countryside with no people in sight, until finally in the distance there was a small building with blue shapes. The blue shapes turned out to be 37 small preschool children waiting to greet the team with flower garlands.
The team were reminded of the power of our work, reaching out to forgotten villages and giving children the best possible start to their education journey.


The building was too small for all the children so they sat on mats outside. They read stories, sang the hokey Cokey, blew bubbles, drank Milo and had an amazing morning with a truly inspirational community.

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The breakfast project makes sure the children have one nutritional meal per day. Seeing the children's faces light up when they were given a teddy to take home was a moment to treasure - another community grateful for our visit and the support of OST.

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Chenkallady 2 preschool

Welcoming the new students and to say goodbye to the older students

Naomi Booth :: Wednesday 27th April 2022 :: This Story

The team visited Chenkallady 2 preschool to welcome the new students and to say goodbye to the older students moving on to primary school. The parents were dressed in beautiful sarees and were clearly proud to be there to mark this special milestone in their children's education.
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Students who completed our Assessment Tool were handed out certificates to show the different areas of early learning they have achieved.
 
The parents were very grateful to Ocean Stars for all the support provided to the preschool, teachers and children. A shining example of our mission in action: Empowering children through education!

Mahadeva Children's Home

and the 2 preschools in the local community

Naomi Booth :: Sunday 24th April 2022 :: This Story

Our teams spent a day visiting Mahadeva Children's Home and the 2 preschools in the local community that we support - Puthumurippu preschool and Jeyanthigar preschool.
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Both preschools celebrated the year 2 students going to primary school with certificates. Proud parents watched and it was a pleasure to share this special moment with everyone.
They also visited the boys and girls homes. The children were delighted to see the team again and are looking forward to UK volunteers visiting them again. We are always humbled by the extraordinary work that goes on in the homes. It is an oasis of compassion, kindness and love!
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Batticaloa to Trincomalee

and then onto Killinochchi

Naomi Booth :: Friday 22nd April 2022 :: This Story

The OSL team and Dilanee travelled from Batticaloa to Trincomalee and then onto Killinochchi - a journey of over 300km.
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In Trincomalee the team handed out uniforms to the preschool children and went shopping with the teachers to buy Abayas - the Muslim ladies working outfits. The teachers, Misna, Raisa and Riskana, talked to the team about the challenges of working during Ramadan when they fast from dawn to dusk - around 4am to 6pm in Sri Lanka. During this period they do not eat or drink and we talked about how challenging that is working in a hot classroom with 30+ children in the heat of a tropical morning. Their total commitment and self-discipline to fasting was an inspiration. Prayers are said at sunset and then a meal is shared with friends and family. Bells are rung at Mosques at pre-dawn to remind everyone it is time to have their meal before dawn.
 
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After the children had gone home, the team went shopping for Abayas for the teachers. This was followed by lunch of rice and curry before travelling onto Killinochchi - the team are excited to be back with the children at Mahadeva Children's Home.

Starting back at pre-school

After a few days off for the Sinhalese and Tamil New Year celebrations, Poya and Easter, all of our preschools started back today.

Naomi Booth :: Monday 18th April 2022 :: This Story

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The Ocean Stars Lanka team and Dilanee were back visiting preschools. In 2022 the charity took on 5 new preschools to support and today's visit was to one of them.
Situated in a remote village in the middle of nowhere, all the parents are daily wage earners whose livelihoods are lost whenever there is a crisis in Sri Lanka. The village elders came to meet the team and were very grateful for our support to their forgotten children.

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The team read books, sang and danced to the Hokey Cokey, chased bubbles, cuddled new teddies,  drank Milo and ate biscuits. Toothbrushes and toothpaste had been donated by UK donors. Knowing they had brought laughter and joy to the children, the team left after a very happy and hot morning.

School Partnership

with Royal Hospital School (RHS) in Ipswich

Naomi Booth :: Monday 11th April 2022 :: This Story

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We are very pleased to say that Royal Hospital School (RHS) in Ipswich has partnered with a school in Sri Lanka through Ocean Stars Trust. Over the last year, RHS provided funds for Vigneswars Maha Vidyalam Mandoor to build a Smart Classroom.
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This was the Principal's dream wish for his students so they could access technology and be prepared for life in the 21st century. After a year of planning, the smart classroom was opened by Dilanee and John on Saturday. A big ceremony was planned by the local school community and attended by VIP guests from the Eastern Province educational office.
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We would like to thank Royal Hospital School for transforming the lives of hundreds of children in Sri Lanka. We look forward to the future when UK students will Zoom students from Sri Lanka and learn from one another!

The Ocean Stars gift catalogue...

...provides our communities with gifts that are sometimes essential but are not affordable for most of our families.

Naomi Booth :: Sunday 10th April 2022 :: This Story

We would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has purchased a gift from our catalogue over the past year.

John, Dilanee and the OSL team have spent the last few days distributing gifts, which to some are life-changing. Shoes, dictionaries, stationery sets, educational posters, bicycles, whiteboards, first aid kits, chickens and boats have been handed out.


All the recipients have asked us to thank those who have purchased gifts. If you have a special occasion coming up, please think of donating a gift to our catalogue which can be accessed on our page: https://oceanstars.org.uk/shop/
Thank you!

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Meeting the teachers

Dilanee and John met up with our Ocean Stars Lanka teachers for the first time in over 2 years. volunteers visit them soon!

Naomi Booth :: Saturday 9th April 2022 :: This Story

OST supports around 60 teachers by giving them a monthly donation, uniforms, resources and training. In return, we have a team of committed teachers who work under very challenging conditions to deliver a high quality early years education programme to over 1,000 children.

The teachers value the support they receive from our Ocean Stars Lanka preschool manager, Dishanthini, as well as the rest of the team, and the UK OST team. The teachers are looking forward to having UK.

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