Merry Christmas

Ocean Stars office staff celebrated the end of another Ocean Stars year!

Naomi Booth :: Friday 21st December 2018 :: This Story

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Ocean Stars office staff celebrated the end of another Ocean Stars year with their Christmas lunch party ????.

We would like to wish all our supporters a Happy Christmas.

Exciting opportunity!

Do you have experience of helping small organisations grow, knowledge of Sri Lanka/international development, experience of governance structures and leadership or finance/accounting experience? OST would love to hear from you...

Naomi Booth :: Friday 7th December 2018 :: This Story

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Trustee Recruitment - Introduction

The mission of The Ocean Stars Trust is to identify and overcome the barriers to equal opportunity for children in Sri Lanka through education and social enrichment, sharing friendship, hope and joy.

Since being established in 2005 following the boxing day tsunami, OST now works directly with a Sri Lankan team, providing education to over 750 pre-school children every day. OST prides itself in the close support that it provides to beneficiaries and ensuring that the desired benefits have been achieved.

OST supports a wide range of projects across Sri Lanka but has a special interest in child education especially that of  pre-school children where there is little government support in the country.


As the organisation grows and evolves, we are looking for committed individuals to expand our range of Trustee skills. We expect Trustees to contribute actively to the Board by giving strategic direction; defining goals and setting targets; evaluating performance; ensuring the charity's effective and efficient administration and financial stability. Overall we are looking for people who share our passion for the work we do.

We are particularly looking for people who can support the board with any of the following skills:

  • Knowledge of Sri Lanka, or experience of international development in a similar context
  • Experience of helping small organisations grow
  • Governance structures and leadership
  • Finance / accounting

NB if you feel you have other skills to offer, we would still be keen to hear from you.

Trustees are expected to

  • attend up to six meetings a year (usually Thursday evenings in Fleet, Hants) and an annual away day;
  • act as board support on a particular operational area (supporting the operations manager as required);
  • contribute advice and support on an ad hoc basis; and
  • attend fundraising events as required.

Trustees are expected to stay in post for a minimum of two years.


We are hoping to recruit two new trustees in 2019. If you are interested, please send a CV with a covering letter as to why you'd like to join the team to by January 15th.

More information

Further information about our work, including our theory of change and current programmes can be found online

More information about the role of a charity trustee can be found here  

If you would like to speak to someone about this opportunity please contact Maureen Johnson (chair of trustees), or Dilanee Bunter (operations manager)

We look forward to hearing from you.

December 2018 Newsletter

Because of you our work in Sri Lanka continues to grow and develop in new and exciting ways. Thank you for your generosity of time and money and for your ongoing commitment.

Naomi Booth :: Thursday 29th November 2018 :: This Story


Welcome to this latest edition of the Ocean Stars Trust Newsletter.

This year I have had the privilege of making two visits to Sri Lanka. I've seen at first hand how your
money is being spent and the impact that Ocean Stars continues to have on so many lives across the
island. There are so many highlights from this last year, but here are just a few:

  • The opening of a new preschool in Kilinochchi in July.
  • The development of a comprehensive socio-economic study helping us really understand the communities we are working amongst in Sri Lanka. Plans laid for a pilot
    study to monitor the development of children in their time in OST preschools.
  • A new replacement preschool building in Chenkalady opened in October.
  • The first gathering of teachers from all our preschools across the island for teacher
    training in October. One teacher gave thanks for this opportunity as the first training
    she had received in 32 years of teaching.
  • More sewing projects set up alongside several preschools, empowering communities.
  • New links continue to be made – the first visit of Avonbourne School in July, and new
    partnerships built between UK and Sri Lankan Preschools and Churches.

This year the focus of Ocean Stars has been and continues to be on ensuring we have the ongoing capacity to support all the good work that has been started down the years. We are proud to be working in communities across
Sri Lanka as we continue to journey towards becoming an all-island NGO.

We can only do this by relying on your generous gifts and by depending heavily on our wonderful team of staff in Sri Lanka. Together we are making a huge difference to so many lives and communities.

As we thank you for your support for Ocean Stars Trust may we also take this opportunity to wish you all a Happy Christmas with every Blessing for the New Year ahead.

Download Full Newsletter

Newsletter 2018

Dec 2018 Newsletter

Driving digital literary in Sri Lanka

by Jo Webber Social Media Director and Marketing Director

Naomi Booth :: Tuesday 20th November 2018 :: This Story


Combining Jo's love of travelling with her passion for digital media, this time her journey took her to the "Noble Island" of Sri Lanka. Inspired by a previous trip to Ghana, Africa in 2011 where she had taught secondary school children in Keta, as part of the Kutu Project. This goal was to drive digital literacy in schools.

Thus, she knew that when she booked my tour of Sri Lanka that having the opportunity to educate school children on the same subject would be a top priority. She had the opportunity to meet Ocean Stars Trust Founder Dilanee Bunter on Facebook (of course!) She liaised with her team mate Janabdeen at the (full name of the school) in Trincomalee, in the North Eastern Province, an area badly affected by the recent tsunami. This was a community keen to rebuild itself, and driven by Sri Lanka's national pride in education and driving all-round intellectual achievement. 

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Arriving at the school in the morning, Jo met Janabdeen and the school principal. The children seemed excited and motivated to see a fresh face. From there, they went into the classroom to complete introductions in a mixture of English and local language Tamil.

From there, Jo ran through a presentation explaining more of her background in digital media (13 years now, having completed a 4 plus year tenure at Google whilst working in London). Subsequently, they ran through statistics on digital adoption in Sri Lanka and the types of social media platforms actively engaged with plus and the most popular websites in the country.

Finally, it was time to complete an activity. The classroom of 30 children was divided into groups of five. Next, confronted with questions they hadn't been asked before, but were super motivated to brainstorm:

  • What type of business would you like to build, and why?
  • Which members of your teams will hold which function?
  • How do you plan to market to your customers i.e seasonal discounts?
  • What are your core objectives?

A cacophony of furtive noise ensued. The ideation scribbles on pieces of paper. The sense that they could achieve something collectively where shared knowledge was applied. Janabdeen and Jo mentored the children in their groups and then it was time for presentations. This was clearly far outside the comfort zones, but finally, two group winners were announced. One male and one female group discussing their business ideas around a seashell business, and an online marketplace business.

Jo had bought several computer and mobile phone gifts from Germany, where she is currently living (though originally from London).

Whilst an all-around educational curriculum is an important cornerstone for many children in this region, and in all the schools we work with, it is imperative for those children wishing to pursue a business (in various industries) to have a sense of how the internet works, how to generate sales and, crucially, stand up and be counted in today's digital era. This was a welcome step in the right direction.

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Jo Webber November 2018

 If you are interested in volunteering in Sri Lanka,

Contact Dilanee

Training Day Success

Over 80 teachers attended an all island teacher training for Ocean Stars Preschool staff held in Batticaloa on Friday 26 October.

Naomi Booth :: Thursday 1st November 2018 :: This Story

Picture: /files/latest-news/323/w288/ost-training-day.jpgOne teacher who has been teaching for 32 years said that this is the first training session she has been to and thanked Ocean Stars for giving them this opportunity.

Volunteers Arrive

10 volunteers ready for their adventure in Sri Lanka

Naomi Booth :: Wednesday 17th October 2018 :: This Story

Picture: /files/latest-news/322/w288/ost-volunteers.jpgPicture: /files/latest-news/322/w288/ost-10-volunteers.jpg10 volunteers arrive safely in Sri Lanka. They will spend the next 12 days visiting Ocean Stars projects in Sri Lanka.

Resources being packed

1000 kilos of resources have been packed ready for Calthorpe Park School Trip

Naomi Booth :: Tuesday 16th October 2018 :: This Story

1Picture: /files/latest-news/321/w288/ost-packing.jpg000 kilos of resources have been packed ready for the 21 students and 4 staff travelling with Calthorpe Park School Fleet, to take to Sri Lanka.

They will be visiting their link schools and preschools which are run by Ocean Stars Trust charity based here in the UK.

Teacher Training in Batti

Our preschool teachers have been signing up for our upcoming teacher training day

Naomi Booth :: Friday 12th October 2018 :: This Story

Picture: /files/latest-news/320/w288/ost-teacher-training.jpgAilidh , Ocean Stars Intern holding our Teacher Training booklet.

Over 60 teachers have signed up to attend our Teacher Training day for preschool teachers on Friday 26 October in Batticaloa Sri Lanka.


Avonbourne Trust students

helping Sri Lankan children reach for the stars...

Naomi Booth :: Wednesday 26th September 2018 :: This Story

Picture: /files/latest-news/319/w288/avonbourne-sri-lanka-4.jpgStudents from Avonbourne Trust are showing that an ocean apart is no distance when it comes to helping fellow young people in need.

Avonbourne Trust has adopted a new charity to support, Ocean Stars Trust.

The charity was set up to help Sri Lankan communities devastated by the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami and 2009 civil war by helping the country's young people through education.

Avonbourne kicked off its support by sending a delegation of staff and students – headed up by the Trust's CEO Picture: /files/latest-news/319/w288/avonbourne-sri-lanka-1.jpgDebbie Godfrey-Phaure - to volunteer at the charity's Sri Lankan schools.

Debbie said: "We are absolutely delighted to be adopting Ocean Stars Trust as our charity, especially after witnessing first-hand the tremendous work they are doing in Sri Lanka.

"It is particularly powerful that the charity believes passionately, like us, that education is key to empowering children to a brighter future.

"Our time in Sri Lanka was so special that I know that for all of us lucky enough to be on the trip the memories we created there will last for ever."

During the summer holidays seven Year 11 and 13 students and four Avonbourne staff members spent five days in the regions of Batticaloa and Trincomalee, where communities have been affected by both the Tsunami and civil war.

While in the Ocean Stars' schools, the Avonbourne students led lessons with the pupils, which varied from parachute games with a group of under 5s right through to teaching ballet moves to around 80 boys.

The Avonbourne teachers also got stuck in by leading on a number of activities from painting the classrooms to forging links with the schools that will now become Avonbourne Trust partners.

During their stay the Avonbourne delegation saw how empty patches of land once belonging to families swept away by the Tsunami are fenced off and kept available in case the owners return.

They also met a local headteacher who, during the civil war, was shot in both legs on his way into school. Despite his obvious physical pain he still had a passion for his school and pupils.

Picture: /files/latest-news/319/w288/avonbourne-sri-lanka-2.jpgAnd a highlight of the trip was witnessing the official opening of a new playground in one of the Ocean Stars' pre-schools. All of the equipment had been paid for by donations to the charity.

Student, Lydia, said: "Our trip to Sri Lanka has shown us how much we have and what we take for granted. It has made us appreciate the little things more and made friendships closer.

"The short time we had with the children has had a long-lasting impact on both them and us. Seeing how little they have and knowing that we have made them happier is very fulfilling."

Prior to the visit the Avonbourne group gained sponsorship to pay for the trip and raised several hundred pounds to buy equipment for the pre-schools and schools they visited.

Ocean Stars was set up by Dilanee Bunter, a Sri Lankan woman living in the UK, who was moved to action after the 2004 tsunami.

Alongside the 20 schools that it runs, it also supports a wide range of projects across Sri Lanka, with a special interest in children's education, particularly pre-school children where there is little government support.

Dilanee Bunte said: "Following a very successful visit to our projects in Sri Lanka I am delighted that Avonbourne is officially adopting Ocean Stars Trust as its charity.

"Avonbourne is now linked with three schools in underprivileged areas in Eastern Sri Lanka where our charity empowers children through education.

"Students from both countries find the visit to the link schools life changing. The children in Sri Lanka have so little in the way of material things but give us so much through friendship."

Avonbourne Trust and its four academies are planning a number of fundraising initiatives throughout the year to continue its support for Ocean Stars Trust.

600 Teddies Ready

The teddies will be given out to the children who attend Ocean Stars Preschools.

Naomi Booth :: Thursday 20th September 2018 :: This Story

Picture: /files/latest-news/318/w288/3a7a6576-5818-4974-b6aa-8456a2b3a05d.jpg600 teddies  are ready and waiting to travel to Sri Lanka in Octob                                      er 2018.

A group of 35 volunteers will be going to Sri Lanka to volunteer at Ocean Stars projects.

The teddies will be given out to the children who attend Ocean Stars Preschools. For many children the only toy they will ever have.

Thank you to all our knitters for bringing a smile to children' s faces.