Preschool leader on life in Sri Lanka

No fuel, soaring prices and few jobs

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

Our Ocean Stars June appeal 2022 will be ending on Wednesday 6th July, four weeks after it was launched. We thank all those who have donated so far, and we will be happy to receive donations after the end of the appeal as the dire situation in Sri Lanka is ongoing and people continue to suffer.

Melanie, a supporter of Ocean Stars Trust currently in Sri Lanka reports: "Having been in Sri Lanka for nearly three weeks now I can say that things are worsening and likely to deteriorate further before they improve. Ocean Stars is a truly worthy cause and I'm pleased to support their great work. The people of Sri Lanka are amazing and appreciate all help offered. Times are hard in the Uk but this is on a different scale to the well done Dilanee and team."

Today we want to share with you the story of one of the preschool teachers and how she and her family have been impacted by the current economic crisis.

Vannakam . My name is K.Kokulavathani. I work at Kilakanoli preschool. The situation in Sri Lanka is very difficult now. I travel 25 kms from my home to the preschool. I normally travel to work on my motorbike. But there is no fuel now. So, I  travel to the preschool by bus. The price of a bus ticket has increased now. I need one day RS.1000.00 to bus ticket. My family members are me, my  husband and my 02 children. My husband works as a laborer. But he does not have regular work. I have preschool my  income only. Now we eat once a day and twice a day if we are lucky.

The Preschool children are keeping well. Their education activities also going well. The preschool manager calls me every day. And she'll ask about my family, preschool children's health and education activities, daily activities of parents (food and work). 

Through the Preschool manager we have access to many programs (marketing, WhatsApp group activities) the children are getting a very diverse and high-quality education. Then children get breakfast through the breakfast program provided by your OSL team. At home they will eat something in the evening.  The nutritious breakfast provided daily by Ocean Stars is essential for the children's development and wellbeing.

Most of the parents are labourers. But they haven't regularly work. Then job availability is also low because there is no petrol. So, the parents are very worried. They probably only eat one meal at a time.  I thank Ocean Stars Lanka and UK for looking after us.

Kokulavathani  would like to thank Ocean Stars for giving her family hope in these dark times.

It is not too late for you to donate.

You can donate:

  • Directly to our bank account. Account Number 02662990 / Ocean Stars Trust/ Sort Code 30-93-32/ Lloyds Bank Fleet.
  • £10 by TEXTING oceanstarstrust to 70085
  • Via our website: oceanstars.org.uk
  • Through Just Giving

THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT FOR OUR WORK

Stories from Sri Lanka

For our June Appeal

Naomi Booth :: Wednesday 29th June 2022 :: This Story

Picture: /files/latest-news/474/w288/k85-2.jpgAs we approach the last week of our June 2022 appeal, we would like to thank everyone who has supported our appeal. The funds raised by our appeal are going towards our communities in Sri Lanka suffering during the current economic crisis.

The situation is getting worse daily and there is currently no fuel left in the country. People are queueing for hours on end just to save their place in the queue for when there is fuel. Over 20 people have died in fuel queues. Food inflation is at 40% so even basic commodities like rice cannot be afforded by our Ocean Stars communities.

The funds raised so far have gone towards setting up 5 new breakfast projects at 5 preschools located in remote areas with high levels of poverty and food insecurity. The United Nations recently declared that 80% of Sri Lankan families are eating less or cheap food. Reduced paddy harvests from two consecutive seasons has already increased food insecurity.

Raventhran a sponsor child with Ocean Stars visited our office last week to speak to our staff about how difficult their life is currently. During the ethnic conflict, after the tsunami, during lockdown, though life was difficult but the problems they face today are unprecedented. His mother said that food shopping is a daily challenge. With 40% increase in food prices, she can no longer afford to buy rice for her family.

The 35% increase in fuel prices means that transport has become a daily challenge. Bus services are not regular so getting to work and to school is also a daily challenge. The children have to walk one hour to get to school.  Raventhran's mum has to queue for over 8 hours regularly to get fuel. She said that she does not have gas to cook daily meals for her family. She has to cook with firewood on open fires outside. Cooking three meals a day on open fires is very difficult. Sometimes she can only manage to cook one meal a day for her family. There are also no medicines and daily power cuts. Without the sponsorship money, she told our staff that her children would not have food to eat. She thanked Ocean Stars for giving her family hope in these dark times.

It is not too late for you to donate.

You can donate:

  • Directly to our bank account. Account Number 02662990 / Ocean Stars Trust/ Sort Code 30-93-32/ Lloyds Bank Fleet.
  • £10 by TEXTING oceanstarstrust to 70085
  • See all donation options
  • Through Just Giving

THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT FOR OUR WORK

 

Coffee Morning

Raised £390!

Naomi Booth :: Sunday 19th June 2022 :: This Story

Picture: /files/latest-news/473/w288/coffee.jpgOur Ocean Stars coffee morning on Saturday 18 June made  £390.00.  A huge thank you to everyone who came to our coffee morning and helped raise funds for our June 2022 appeal helping our ocean stars communities during the current economic crisis.
 
Thank you for your support. 
 
If you would like to donate to our appeal please do...

Life in Sri Lanka

Help our Ocean Stars communities survive these challenging times

Naomi Booth :: Friday 17th June 2022 :: This Story

Thank you to those who have responded to our June 2022 appeal. It is not too late to donate and help our Ocean Stars communities survive these challenging times. Our OSL staff talk about how they have been affected by the current situation in Sri Lanka. From left to right: Dishanthini, Chitra, Shalini and Salujah.

Picture: /files/latest-news/472/w288/ost-smiles.jpg

The daily power cuts mean that our staff have to work without internet, plan zoom calls when there is electricity, phones run out of charge and computers lose their charge. There is no gas available in the country so in the office if they want a cup of tea, they have to boil water by lighting a fire outside. At home they can no longer use their gas cookers, so they cook using firewood. This means they have to get up at 4 am in order to cook before coming to work. As there is no rice or wheat flour, they no longer eat breakfast which in SL is usually made using flour. There are also food shortages or if food is available the prices have gone up exponentially that they can no longer afford the basic staples that make up their diet.

Shalini and Dishanthini both use motorbikes and have to spend every third day queuing for up to 6 hours to get petrol. This is because they are restricted to two days' fuel each time they fill up. Chitra and Salujah now walk to the office as tuctucs, and buses are no longer reliable.

Our staff are totally committed to their job and turn up to work every day as they are determined to support our communities. They make sure all our preschool children have a nutritious meal every day, and that our sponsor children and their families are coping and not suffering.

Your funds can help our staff provide breakfast for our preschool children who are going hungry, help our staff buy petrol which is going up in price every day.

You can donate:

THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT FOR OUR WORK

Economic Crisis Appeal - June 2022

Ocean Stars Trust need your help to help Sri Lankans through this crisis

Naomi Booth :: Tuesday 7th June 2022 :: This Story

Ocean Stars Trust is launching a June 2022 appeal to raise funds for our communities who are experiencing unprecedented hardship due to the current economic situation in Sri Lanka. There are daily power cuts which impacts on the quality of day-to-day life. Fuel shortages mean that people have to queue up to 8 hours to fill up their motor bikes and then they are restricted as to how much fuel they are allowed to buy. Inflation is running officially at over 35%, with the price of many basic commodities rising far in excess of that rate. With supply of foreign currency at an all-time low, the SL Rupee has been devalued by some 60% since December. All our communities are now cooking with Prices of all commodities have risen four, five-fold due to the devaluing of the Sri Lankan currency. All our communities are now cooking with firewood as supplies of cooking gas and kerosine oil have run out.

As our Ocean Stars Lanka children and families are impoverished by the ongoing current crisis, we thank our friends and supporters who continue to donate to our appeals. Through your kindness we are able to bring help directly to our communities and information about how your donations are spent will be available on our website.

Picture: /files/latest-news/471/w288/ocean-stars-june-2022-appeal-flyer.pngHOW CAN I HELP

£10 means extra classes for a student for one month
£12 buys a food parcel
£50 buy resources for one preschool
£100 provides breakfast for one month for one preschool
or make a general donation towards our work...

HOW TO DONATE

Donate directly to our Bank Account:
Account Name: Ocean Stars Trust
Sort Code: 30-93-32
Account Number: 02662990

Donate £10 by Text:
Donate £10 by TEXTING oceanstarstrust to 70085

See the full link of donation methods:
https://oceanstars.org.uk/get-involved-donate

or use Justgiving

or why not...
Organise a coffee morning, bring and buy or set yourself a personal challenge for the month and ask for sponsorship!

GIFT AID
Don't forget to send us a Gift Aid Form if you are eligible!

Thank you.

Ocean Stars Trust UK

June 2022 Appeal

Produce Market

Our Ocean Stars Lanka Manager Dishanthini has organised for our preschool teachers, children and parents to organise a market and to sell their produce.

Naomi Booth :: Wednesday 25th May 2022 :: This Story

The markets are held at a local public ground and attended by all the village people and members of the local government office.

For the children, this is a great chance to use the number skills they have been learning at preschool. Everyone who has attended the market has commented on how wonderful this is and the parents are very grateful for an opportunity to make an income.

The children are very happy to be involved in this project and enjoy helping them count the products, collect money and put the items into bags. It is great to see our communities come together in these challenging days with fuel shortages, power cuts and food shortages and food inflation of 44% in April.

Picture: /files/latest-news/470/w288/untitled-5.jpg Picture: /files/latest-news/470/w288/untitled-1.jpg Picture: /files/latest-news/470/w288/untitled-2.jpg Picture: /files/latest-news/470/w288/untitled-3.jpg

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!
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