Hands on Student Volunteers in Sri Lanka

Chris Booth :: Friday 30th June 2023 :: This Story

Picture: /files/press-releases/528/w288/2018-10-03-srilanka.jpgIn support of their newly adopted charity, Ocean Stars, a delegate of staff and students from the Avonbourne Trust headed out to Sri Lanka.

The epic journey saw seven Year 11 and 13 students and four staff members from the Bournemouth multi-academy trust spend five days in the regions of Batticaloa and Trincomalee, where communities have been affected by both the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami, and the 2009 civil war.

Led by the trust's CEO Debbie Godfrey-Phaure, the group volunteered at Ocean Stars' 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."

A highlight 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.

Read the full report


Dance for Sri Lanka

Chris Booth :: Saturday 31st December 2022 :: This Story

Picture: /files/press-releases/529/w288/fb.jpg'Kandyan Dancers' is the only social media platform aiming to connect all Sri Lankan dancers on a global scale!. They showcased its first-ever Sri Lankan Cultural Dance show at Rudolph Steiner Theatre in London. The show was directed by Dilini Seneviratne.

Narthana 2022 showcased Sri Lanka's most traditional dance forms including Kandyan, Ves, Pahatharata, Folk and South Asian dance Bharatanatyam as well as a medley of Sinhala songs paying tribute to Sri Lankan music.

The show opened its stage to a total of 57 performers based in different corners around the U.K. as well as collaborating internationally with Ceylon Dancers based in Paris, France.

The show was also able to donate to Ocean Stars Trust, a U.K.-based charity that exists to empower children through education and community development.

Read the full article on uklankanews.com

Barefoot Billion Launch

Barefoot Billion - British Poet Starts Barefoot 1,000 mile Walk to Raise Awareness and Funds for Vulnerable Street Children. 500 Schools. 200,000 Children in 100 Countries and Leading Celebrities Will Support Record Breaking Project

OceanStars :: Thursday 24th April 2014 :: This Story

Leading Performance Poet, Philip Wells is undertaking an epic 1,000 mile, 2 million step journey, walking barefoot ‘in the footsteps of the bards’ through Cornwall, South West England and Wales.

The walk begins informally at St Michael's Mount on Tuesday April 22nd and is formally launched with a poetry performance at the Minack Theatre, Porthcurno on April 23rd at 3pm.

Ocean Stars Barefoot Billions Philip WellsThe walk will give a ‘Voice to the Voiceless’ by inspiring 200,000 children in 100+ countries from China to Easter Island to "Be the Step" and sponsored walk together, sharing experiences, poetry and art, via social media.

By ‘Being the Step’; the children will be encouraged to help accelerate social change through raising awareness and funding for children all over the world crippled by poverty and preventable deprivation.

As he walks between England and Wales's most historic and literary landmarks including Jesus's Well at St Enodoc and Glastonbury Tor,  Philip will deliver passionate performance poetry at schools, pubs and prestigious venues along the way. He will also seek the help of fellow-walkers ranging from musicians and poets, to painters and leading celebrities. With their help, he will be uncovering Britain's forgotten history and engaging with literary geniuses to reconnect our modern life with our ancient ancestors.

This international education project examines why history and poetry matters to children in all circumstances.

Sharing the the magic and mystery of Britain's history, Philip will support an international vision of eliminating poverty for children around the world by 2030.

The ‘Barefoot Billion’  represents what UNICEF estimates to be over a billion children who suffer from at least one form of severe deprivation. Philip will be walking barefoot to highlight the vulnerability of those walking through life without adequate nutrition, water, sanitation, health, shelter, light or education. His 2 million record-breaking steps 'in the spirit of the bards' will spark a global children's walk that will give the world's most vulnerable children real hope.

Philip will perform poetry in schools, abbeys and town halls, collaborating with musicians, rappers, painters, bards and celebrities including Virginia McKenna and Bettany Hughes.

Inspirational messages are pouring in from participating children around the world:

"Hope for the children living in poverty.
Opposite of what we are living in.
Poetry will help them find a voice!
Education needs to come to them."
           by Alicia, 9.  Penang, Malaysia

All funds raised benefit three charities focused on positive change for children most in need: The Consortium for Street Children, Born Free’s Global Friends Project and Ocean Stars Trust.




The Three Featured Charities

1. Consortium for Street Children www.streetchildren.org.uk
CSC is the only global network focussed exclusively on supporting street connected children. Whether that be children living on the streets, working on the streets or simply those who just hang out on the streets. CSC’s focus is empowering these children and helping them to help themselves. They currently comprise some 50 organisations from around the world working in over 100 countries.  Street children deserve to have their specific needs, wants and rights understood and to be represented at the highest level.  This is what CSC seeks to do.

2. Ocean Stars Trust oceanstars.org.uk
Ocean Stars Trust (OST) was established in 2005 following the Boxing Day tsunami of 2004. Their vision is to relieve suffering among disadvantaged people in Sri Lanka by providing them with the necessary skills to rebuild their shattered lives whether following natural disasters or with the aftermath of civil conflict. OST supports a wide range of projects across Sri Lanka and has a special interest in child education, especially that of pre-school children, where there is little government support in the country.

3. Born Free’s Global Friends www.bornfree.org.uk
The Born Free Foundation is an international wildlife charity working in some of the most remote regions in Africa and Asia, areas which are also home to some of the poorest communities in the world. Born Free believe there is an intrinsic link between poverty and the environment and they understand the important part that local communities play in supporting the environment. Recently Born Free have launched Born Free’s Global Friends where they aim to support the local community that lives alongside the wildlife. They believe the children are a huge part if this. By educating children in these poor areas they will not only substantially improve the children’s lives but also ensure they grow up with a greater respect for their natural environment.

Fundraisers' work adds up to nursery

The opening of two pre-schools on the 2011 trip to Sri Lanka

OceanStars :: Friday 18th November 2011 :: This Story

Volunteers from a Fleet based charity have just returned from another successful mercy mission to Sri Lanka.

Thirteen members of the Ocean Stars Trust (OST) were kept busy helping needy families on the tropical idland just off the southern tip of India.

The charity was set up by Church Crookham resident Dilanee Bunter after the Boxing day 2004 tsunami and has raised more than £100,000 to help more than 40 projects in the north and east of the country.


“Among the highlights of the trip were the openings of two new playgroups in rural communities where children have had no access to pre-school education until now,” said 50 year old mother of three Mrs Bunter, who was born in Sri Lank but moved to Britain when she was 15.

“Former Court Moor School pupil Matt Marshall from Fleet had worked hard all year and raised money to help build Little Stars Nursery in Makkalvanchi near Batticaloa, which he himself ceremonially opened during the visit. It means 40 local children can mow benefit from a pre-school education.

“A playgroup in another village called Karaveddy, which was destroyed in the floods of January this year, has been re-built by Ocean Stars and was also opened by the team.”

The OST group also visited new wells and toilets in rural communities that have been provided by the trust thanks to various British Donors. “During the visit the group met many of the hundreds of children who are being sponsored by people in the UK fir £10 a month, and the families are very grateful for the help they receive,” added Mrs Bunter, a teacher and counsellor at the Linden Education Centre pupil referral unit in Queen’s Road, North Camp.

“Local groups such as Heatherside Infant School, Fleet Baptist Church, Fleet Methodist Church and All Saints Church have all raised funds for the charity this year.”

The trust has raised money through child and teacher sponsorship schemes, individual legacies and donations and fundraising events, including variety shows.

Volunteers have previously visited playgroups and schools in Sri Lanka with supplies collected by Fleet and Hartley Witney Methodist churches, local schools and individuals.

Supplies have included pencils, pens, rubbers, glue sticks, balloons, toothpaste, toothbrushes, hairbands, deodorant, soap, tissue paper, hair brushes and knitted teddies.
Mrs Bunter said “Many families live on an income of about £12 a month with which they have to buy rice and their fuel for cooking. They don’t have anything left over for luxuries like pencils and paper and shoes and clothes.”

Fleet News & Mail
Fri 11 Nov 2011

Sri Lanka trip to help island schoolchildren

Danny and Helena Carter will be heading to Sri Lanka with Ocean Stars Trust

OceanStars :: Friday 18th November 2011 :: This Story

sri-lanka-visit-pre-school.jpgA Grayshott couple are setting off to Sri Lanka to help people whose lives were devastated by the 2005 tsunami and are asking for the community’s help.

Danny and Helena Carter will be heading to Sri Lanka in just under two weeks time. It will be te couple’s third visit and they will be taking with them gifts to give to some of the poorest families and schools.

The Carters take part in this expedition with the charity Ocean Stars Trust, who were set up soon after the tsunami hit.

Every year 12 volunteers from East Hampshire make the trip to Sri Lanka to help rebuild the lives of those who lost everything.
When the Boxing day tsunami hit in 2004, millions of lives were devastated as homes, schools and businesses were destroyed.
The group from the Ocean Stars Trust have worked tirelessly over the past few years to help rebuild the towns and villages of Sri Lanka.
Ocean Stars Trust supports a wide range of projects across Sri Lanka but has a special interest in child education, especially that os pre-school children, as there is little government support in the country. Donations of school supplies are always gratefully received.

The charity was set up in 2005 by Dilanee Bunter, a teacher from Fleet in Hampshire.

It is through Mrs Bunter tat Helena first heard about the charity. Helena said: “I worked with Dilanee when I was teaching in Fleet, she spoke so passionately about her work that I felt really inspired and wanted to do something to help.

“So me and my husband, Danny, flew out to Sri Lanka and got involved with the teaching and building work.

“We now go over every year, this is our third trip and we’re very excited about it. The country is so beautiful and the people we go over to help are simply amazing. Even though many of them have absolutely nothing they will still go out of their way to make us feel welcome and comfortable in their homes.

“Even though most of them sleep on the floor and have to walk miles for water, the women always dress In their finest clothes and would just look exquisite – it really puts us to shame in our scruffy old T-shirts.

“We do a wide range of things when we’re out there. Right now I’m cutting out thousands of elephants for the children to colour in when we get out there.

“We normally take over a primary class for a few hours and colour, sing songs and have some real fun.
“I have been volunteering at PK Pre-school in Grayshott one day a week so that I can get a better understanding of how advanced children are at that age.

“I would also like to say how wonderful the school has been, helping to raise money with various race nights and other events, they’ve been fantastic.

“Grayshott Books have also been a wonderful help and donated more than half the books needed to take to Sri lanka.

“We know the economic climate isn’t great at the moment, which is why it means so much to us when people are so generous, even at such a difficult time for business.

“Though there’s more to it than teaching, we do try and rebuild homes, that’s part of my husband’s job. He’s a very good handy man and will do a lot of that kind of work. The whole group really pitches in.

“The whole experience is very humbling. We have everything, but moan endlessly. It really does put things into perspective.
Helena and Danny will be flying out on October 16th, and are still accepting donations to take with them.

Bordon Post
Wed 5 Oct 2011

Collingwood College donates to Ocean Stars Trust

Collingwood Donations to Charities

Dilanee Bunter :: Friday 19th November 2010 :: This Story

Collingwood College donates to Ocean StarsDilanee Bunter receiving a cheque from Collingwood College

Following the great success of the Sponsored Walk, Mr Oddie and Mr Marjot were delighted to present cheques to selected charities from the proceeds of the money raised by students.

Pictured [above] are Dilanee Bunter, representing Ocean Stars Trust, who sponsor Kurumanvelly School in Sri Lanka; David Cox and Alison Morey, representing ASCT - a Philippines charity; together with Mr Oddie and Mr Marjot and a number of students who raised in excess of £50.00 each!

"Collingwood College News & Views", 19 November 2010

The Building Futures (Falkirk) group

Building Sustainable Futures

Dilanee Bunter :: Saturday 19th September 2009 :: This Story

Building Futures Falkirk and Ocean Stars
Learners with a consignment of textiles to be recycled through ACE Limited

The Building Futures (Falkirk) group in the Department of Access and Progression have learnt about sustainable practice while undertaking their Citizenship Project. After looking at local and community issues as part of this project, their efforts took a global turn when lecturer Maggi Baird told them about the Ocean Stars Trust, which was set up in the wake of the Indian Ocean tsunami of 2005.

This trust is currently focusing on some 50 projects aimed at supporting children in Sri Lanka who where orphaned as a result of the tsunami. It is now working on setting up FE opportunities for boys (who were otherwise often recruited into the Tami Tigers) and there is an ongoing need for sponsorship. The Building Futures learners felt inspired to support the Ocean Stars Trust so they made a visit to Alloa-based recycling charity ACE (Alloa Community Enterprises) Limited to find out about fundraising opportunities.

The charity ACE operated profitable waste management businesses that provide employment, improve employability, increase environmental awareness and return profits to support the social needs of communities in which the operate.

The Scottish Government is committed to sustainable development the goal of which it defines as to enable all people throughout the world to satisfy their basic needs and enjoy a better quality of life without compromising the quality of life of future generations.

The citizenship project is an excellent example of how sustainable development can be wholly integrated into a learning programme and how a citizenship project can incorporate the three key strands of sustainable development social, economic and ecological on local and global levels.


The learners really enjoyed their visit to the recycling plant and took delight in seeing what happens to their milk bottles and old newspapers. More importantly, they learned that by collecting textiles for recycling, the can earn 20p per kilo.

They have also been given an invaluable insight into how recycling does more than just protect the environment. In this case the reusable textiles are packaged up and sent off to areas of need in African countries and the money raised can be used as sponsorship of the Sri Lankan charity Ocean Stars Trust.

Article from Going Forth magazine from Forth Valley College.

Fund-raisers go to Sri Lanka

Nine Fleet fund-raisers set off as a self-funded trip to take school and household items to children in Sri Lanka today (Thursday).

Dilanee Bunter :: Thursday 23rd October 2008 :: This Story

Fundraisers go to Sri LankaFundraisers go to Sri Lanka

Nine Fleet fundraisers set off as a self-funded trip to take school and household items to children in Sri Lanka today (Thursday).

They went under the banner of the Ocean Stars Trust, which was set up by Dilanee Bunter of Netherhouse Moor, Church Crookham, after the Boxing Day 2004 Tsunami and has raised £30,000 so far to back more than 15 projects in the country.

They will visit playgroups and schools with supplies collected by Fleet and Hartley Wintney Methodist Churches, schools and individuals, including pencils, pens, rubbers, glue sticks, toothpaste, toothbrushes, hair bands, soap and hair brushes.

Mrs Bunter, 42 who was born in Sri Lanka but moved to Britian when she was 15 said: "Many families live on an income of about £12 a month with which they have to buy rice and their fuel for cooking.

They don't have anything left over for things like pencils and paper, shoes and clothes."

Mother -of-three Mrs Bunter a teacher and councillor at Linden Education Centre pupil referral unit in Queen's Road, North Camp, said: "Initially it was just in response to the tsunami, but it's now sort of working with the poor communities."

"We've now got a lot of schools on board. We also have a lot of children being sponsored by families in Fleet and Farnborough."

Summercups Day Nursery in Church Crookham has links with Graces's Children Home where the children have lost their parents in ethnic conflict.

Maureen Johnston from the school with accompany Mrs Bunter on a visit to the home.

The Connaught School in Aldershot has links with Kerrari School and Celthorpe Park School in Hitches Land Fleet with Wesley High School, St Catherine's School in Guildford sponsors Thotagaevca Village School.

Of her last Sri Lanka trip Mrs Bunter said:

"On these visits the help is more direct. Had I been at home guessing the repairs sorted it would have taken weeks of months"

Pupils help children throughout world

Pupils hope to raise thousands of pounds for people less fortunate than themselves by taking part in a sponsored walk.

Dilanee Bunter :: Tuesday 1st July 2008 :: This Story

pupils-raise-thousands.jpgPupils help children throughout world

Pupils hope to raise thousands of pounds for people less fortunate than themselves by taking part in a sponsored walk.

Last year's event at Calthorpe Park School in Hitches Lane, Fleet raised £3,4152 for Sport Relief to help equip a home for orphans in India. This year the target was £4,000.

The pupils walked in aid of three projects - to help build a school in Sri Lanka through Ocean Stars Trust. Fighting for justice for children and child soldiers in Uganda and buying part of a rain forest in South America to help protect the planet.

The walk was held in the grounds of the Patches Lane school on Friday from 11:30am to 3pm and pupils were asked to make a donation of £1 for every length they walked up to a maximum of £3.

Parents and their children not yet at school were invited to the event, which also featured a number of other fundraising initiatives, including an inflatable assault course, a circus workshop and a challenge.

The assistant headteacher at Calthorpe Park School said: "The event not only aims to raise money but also awareness of global issues and appreciation of how individual and small group action can really have an impact."