Eastern Sri Lanka Projects

Ocean Stars Trust runs community projects in Eastern Sri Lanka, empowering women

Naomi Booth :: Friday 8th April 2022 :: This Story

Ocean Stars Trust runs community projects in Eastern Sri Lanka, empowering women to gain new skills and earn a living as well as providing computer classes for children who have no access to technology. John and Dilanee visited Hope House 1 and saw grade 6 students engrossed in their computer class.

From knowing nothing about computers, the students can navigate Microsoft and love using Paint to draw pictures. The students never miss a class and even come in during their holidays. Our projects offer hope to students by enriching their educational experience!

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Sri Lanka situation

Naomi Booth :: Friday 8th April 2022 :: This Story

Picture: /files/latest-news/458/w288/p2.jpgAlongside all the positive work of Ocean Stars Trust, the situation in Sri Lanka continues to cause suffering to our communities and the general public in Sri Lanka. Daily power cuts of 12 hours mean that work using technology is impossible. Computers run out of power, networks stop running, phones don't work and working indoors is like working in a steam room.
The shortage of fuel is heartbreaking. Queues and queues of people with plastic cans to collect fuel for cooking - queues of motorcycles, queues of three-wheelers, queues of lorries, queues of buses and queues of vans.
 
Our Ocean Stars driver has to queue for 7 hours to fill up with diesel so that our local staff, and John and Dilanee, can visit our projects and support our communities who are at breaking point.
In these challenging global times, if you feel you are able to support our work and alleviate the suffering of our Ocean Stars communities, please visit our website and make a donation. Any donation big or small is much appreciated.
 
We hope for a better future for Sri Lanka soon.
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Healing Power

The true healing power of the hundreds of teddies that are knitted for Ocean Stars Trust by our supporters is incredible to witness.

Naomi Booth :: Thursday 7th April 2022 :: This Story

The true healing power of the hundreds of teddies that are knitted for Ocean Stars Trust by our supporters is incredible to witness. These are normally transported to Sri Lanka as part of our luggage allowance in large sports bags.
 
When the team arrived at Kilakanoli, the children were a little unsettled and tearful. But once the teddies had been handed out, the instant change in their demeanour was magical. The tears vanished and they all cuddled their teddies. The joy and happiness the children felt was palpable.
 
A HUGE thank you to all of our teddy knitters, making such a positive impact on children in Sri Lanka!
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Kilakanoli

Today the team visited Kilakanoli, one of our most remote preschools.

Naomi Booth :: Tuesday 5th April 2022 :: This Story

Today the team visited Kilakanoli, one of our most remote preschools. It was a long 90 minute journey that had to be completed by motorbike and tuk tuk as the final leg of the journey was on unmade dirt tracks. Then suddenly from nowhere a small building appeared with 12 little children waiting for the Ocean Stars team to arrive.
 
Reaching children in such remote areas really demonstrates the value and importance of the work of Ocean Stars Trust. The day starts for the children with a hot meal - often the only meal they will have.
 
The team were humbled to be a part of such an amazing team doing transformative work for the forgotten children of Sri Lanka.
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Great big thank you to Sudha

Our Ocean Stars Driver, for getting Dilanee and John safely to Batticaloa from Colombo today.

Naomi Booth :: Saturday 2nd April 2022 :: This Story

Picture: /files/latest-news/454/w288/drive-2.jpgDilanee and John would like to say a great big thank you to Sudha, our Ocean Stars Driver, for getting them safely to Batticaloa from Colombo today.
 
The state of emergency, curfews, power cuts, lack of fuel and cooking gas as well as 30% inflation on the price of food, makes for very challenging times for people in Sri Lanka.
 
Our work in Sri Lanka is so needed and important at the moment. If you would like to, please make a donation towards our work in Sri Lanka.
Thank you!

Mega Maalai 2022

Imperial College London Tamil Society

Naomi Booth :: Friday 1st April 2022 :: This Story

Picture: /files/latest-news/451/w288/mega-maalai.jpgOcean Stars Trust is delighted that the Imperial College London Tamil society has chosen Ocean Stars as one of the three Charities set to benefit from the proceeds of their annual showcase even Mega Maalai. Held at the Troxy in London the annual family-friendly charity show features a variety of dance, music, comedy, fashion and cultural acts.

The event also aims to promote and develop an awareness of Tamil Culture. The show attracts audiences and participants from all over the UK.

We are truly grateful to Imperial College London Tamil Society for their support of our work empowering children through education in Sri Lanka.

Our team visited Blue Angels preschool in Colombo

- our only trilingual preschool where all the children learn in English, Tamil and Sinhalese.

Naomi Booth :: Friday 1st April 2022 :: This Story

Our team read stories, sang songs, blew bubbles and had a morning of fun and laughter with this preschool community.

Located in the heart of Colombo in Pettah, the children come from very poor families and the work that the preschool does with them is truly inspiring!

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New preschool in Hapugala, Galle

Yesterday, our Ocean Stars Lanka team visited a new preschool

Naomi Booth :: Friday 1st April 2022 :: This Story

The founder of the Galle preschool approached us about working in partnership so this was an initial visit to meet everyone.

The coming together of Tamil, Sinhalese, Buddhist, Hindu and Christian teachers and staff is groundbreaking and everyone was keen to move forwards.

The communities felt they could learn a lot from one another. We are excited for the future!

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Back in Sri Lanka

After 2 years and 3 months Dilanee our Head of Operations is able to reunite with our Ocean Stars Colleagues.

Naomi Booth :: Wednesday 30th March 2022 :: This Story

Everyone is so happy to meet in person and zoom calls will be suspended for a while. Ahead this week are visits planned to our all-island preschools in Yatiyanthota, Galle and Colombo.

The team spent the day at Yatiyanthota preschool on 28th March. There was lots of fun with bubbles, stories and hokey cokey, and new uniforms and school bags were given out. Dilanee was also reunited with our Ocean Stars driver, Sudha!

Dilanee back in Sri Lanka Out to see the prechools with driver Sudha Children in their uniforms New school bags Welcome garlands

 

Thai Pongal

We wish our friends in Sri Lanka and around the world a Happy Thai Pongal festival.

Naomi Booth :: Friday 14th January 2022 :: This Story

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Pongal festival or Thai Pongal festival is a four-day harvest festival celebrated in Tamil Nadu, South India. One of the most popular Tamil festivals, Pongal is celebrated as offering of prayers to nature.

Pongal festival is celebrated for four days from the last day of the Tamil month of Margazhi (mid-December - mid January) to the third day of Thai (mid-January - mid February) and coincides with the festival Makara Sankranthi and Lohri Festival of north India. This year, the date of Pongal festival is from 14 January to 17 January 2022.

The word Pongal means boiling over and the Tamils refer Pongal as Tamizhar Thirunal (the festival of Tamils). In Astrology, this is the period when the sun traverses from the Tropic of Capricorn to the Tropic of Cancer via the Equator (from 14th January to 14th July), and this movement is termed as Uttarayan. Following are the four days of Pongal Festival.

1) Bhogi Pongal date is on 14 January 2022

2) Surya Pongal date is on 14 January 2022

3) Maatu Pongal date is on 16 January 2022

4) Kaanum Pongal (or Kanum Pongal) date is on 17 January 2022

 

Pongal rice

To celebrate this day, people in Tamil Nadu make Delicious Pongal Dish. Pongal is a famous dish prepared with rice. The origin of this rice dish was from the Indian subcontinent, in Sri Lanka and Indian states of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, and Telangana. It is a traditional food and most historic taste of the south.

What is Pongal Dish Made of?

Pongal Dish is made of rice mixed with moong dal, ghee, cashew nuts, raisins, and mild spices. The spicy variety consists of moong dal, rice, cashews, curry leaves, pepper and ghee. The ingredients are good for winter and is made of the right balance of carbohydrate, protein, and fats.

Picture: /files/latest-news/445/w288/pongal2.jpgTwo varieties of Pongal Dish:

The two varieties of Pongal are:

  1. Chakkara Pongal: a sweet Pongal made of jaggery
  2. Venn Pongal: Spicy Pongal made with pepper, and chilli.

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