Newsletter Christmas 2021

Our December newsletter is out now with a summary of all our news for 2022.

Naomi Booth :: Friday 3rd December 2021 :: This Story

NewsletterOcean Stars continues to work during these challenging times, transforming lives and empowering children through education in Sri Lanka - we hope you enjoy reading our update.

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As December approaches and we at OST reflect on this past year, I find my thoughts centred, yet again, on the pandemic and its effects on the development of our work. Covid has presented us with many challenges in the past nineteen months. It has been a long haul for us all and especially so for those both near and far living in poor, disadvantaged situations.

As a charity which aims to promote equality of opportunity for all in Sri Lanka, our preschools are central to our work and at the heart of our education programme. As in the UK, they have been shut for long periods this year. Since many of our 26 schools are situated in remote, rural communities, this has been quite a challenge.

With hindsight, it is now evident that it was the provision of Tablets to improve communication with our communities that became the key to finding a way to deliver home schooling. Finance provided by Fonthill Foundation allowed us to purchase a Tablet for each preschool. Their funding also provided training on Tablet usage, so that the teachers could receive details of the themes and learning activities that should be taught to the children. This information was sent out at the beginning of each week and then communicated to parents by the teacher. A 'What's App' group was also set up so that the teachers could share good practice, support each other, and ensure regular communication with our OSL team was maintained.

The weekly contact between teachers and the parents also helped us address another of our main concerns at this time. Due to the effects of the pandemic so many more of our children and their families were now hungry and living with an increased level of poverty. Thanks to improved communication between teachers and the children's families we were able to identify those most in need and provide food parcels to help feed and support them.

Whilst the situation has improved and the preschools have now reopened, Covid continues to impact and affect the rollout of OST's work. We continue to respond as best we can to an ever-changing situation. There is always lots to do. However, we're delighted that thanks to the help and donations received from our supporters, we have been able this year to respond to appeals, bring aid to our communities and provide some schooling for our children.

So, this Christmas we celebrate all that's been achieved in these uncertain times and we thank you for all that YOU
have given to support and enable our work.
Merry Christmas everyone !!!
Maureen Johnston (Chair)

Newsletter July 2020

Banana Tree project, COVID and more...

Naomi Booth :: Thursday 1st July 2021 :: This Story

Picture: /files/publications/427/w288/ost-june-2021-final-1.jpgOur third lockdown Covid-19 newsletter is now available to our supporters and donors. As always a huge thank you to everyone who has supported us in so many ways over the last 18 months. Our work in Sri Lanka is very much ongoing and thanks to your generosity we have not had to curtail any of our work empowering children through education in Sri Lanka.

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Newsletter December 2020

Supporting Children and their families through 2020

Naomi Booth :: Tuesday 1st December 2020 :: This Story

Download our December Newsletter here.Picture: /files/publications/410/w288/december-2020-newletter-1.jpg

Newsletter July 2020

Dilanee Bunter, Founder and Operations Manager of Ocean Stars Trust, reports on what has been a challenging 2020 so far for the charity, as with many other UK charities.

Naomi Booth :: Tuesday 30th June 2020 :: This Story

"I was in Sri Lanka in January 2020 and had the privilege of visiting our all-island projects, distributing new uniforms, spending time with our Ocean Stars Lanka team and opening both a new music classroom at Urani High School and a new preschool building at Thantha for Little Stars. All this seems like a dream now as we complete almost 12 weeks in lockdown in the UK.

During the UK lockdown, Sri Lanka has been on 24/7 curfews with people being allowed out every 4th day to get essential items during a 6-hour window. It soon became clear to us that several of our preschools located in poorer villages relied on a daily wage income and there-fore children and families were struggling to find their daily meals. After considering carefully the hardships endured by people everywhere we launched our Covid-19 appeal for a month from April to May. We were truly thankful to everyone for their support and for their generosity which meant that we were able to provide 300 food parcels to our neediest and poorest families. The local government offices were also very appreciative of the help we were giving to their communities.

We would like to thank our Ocean Stars Lanka staff who have worked non- stop during curfews from home and subsequently from our office to make sure that all our communities and families had enough to eat and remained healthy. We set up from the beginning of lockdown weekly zoom calls with our OSL team. Zeddy, our Monitoring and Evaluation Supervisor joins our zoom calls from Kenya so we span 3 time zones with the UK getting the early morning slot!! We have begun to really value these weekly meetings as we have completed lots of major admin tasks and talked about our weekly plans. Home learning has become the new norm for our preschool children. OST UK and Lanka have been working closely with the Preschool Bureau to establish a learning programme and to make sure that it has been implemented. New WhatsApp groups have been established be-tween teachers and parents, and teachers and OSL staff and myself.

It seems like a whole new world of communication has been opened up, certainly, and we all feel more connected than ever before. Our fundraising has moved to virtual events. If you feel you would like to make a donation to support our continued work in Sri Lanka further details on how to donate can be found in this our Newsletter. Thank you for your support and, as the future seems uncertain,

I wish you all peace and good health."


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Newsletter June 2019

Welcome to our latest edition of news from the Ocean Stars Trust. There have been many significant developments to report in the six months since our last publication, and I hope you will find all our news in the following pages of interest.

Naomi Booth :: Friday 28th June 2019 :: This Story

We have been blessed this year so far by the partnership of two UK charitable trusts - Glasgow's Sunny-Sid3up, and the Fonthill Foundation from Sussex, whose generous donations have enabled us both to complete several long-awaited capital building projects and to hit our target in developing teaching and learning in our 21 OST-sponsored preschools.

In addition, with committed new staff in our OSL team in Batticaloa, we feel we have good capacity on the ground to oversee these important developments. I was able to observe for myself some of the progress made in these projects when I visited Batticaloa, Trincomalee and Yatiyanthota with Dilanee in April, and I was very impressed by what had been achieved, what with, for example, one school in Mandoor now no longer having to struggle with a leaking roof and lack of kitchen area, another with a good gate which now prevents animals from invading their premises.

The advances that teachers had been making in recording children's progress we saw at one of the pilot schools was quite remarkable as the Child Development Project had only begun in the new year. We returned on Good Friday to the UK, thoroughly unprepared for the shocking news of the Easter Sunday massacres in western SriLankan hotels and churches, and at the Zion Church in Batticaloa. OST launched the UK OST Easter Sunday Appeal. We have been able to make a real difference to the victims in Batticaloa thanks to the generous response to our appeal. Our OSL team has shown amazing initiative and compassion in supporting victims at the hospital in Batticaloa, using monies we have sent from our recent Appeal to carry on the work of OST in spite of such atrocities, and we have been in constant touch. With this in mind, I thank you, dear readers and supporters, for your continuing support for all our work. I have seen for myself the consummate gratitude from our target Sri Lankan Communities for this, and it is awe-inspiring.

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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.

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Newsletter 2018

Dec 2018 Newsletter

June 2018 Newsletter

With the growth and development of projects, there has been lots to do, and challenges to overcome.

Naomi Booth :: Wednesday 20th June 2018 :: This Story

Our latest newsletter highlights:


  • Avonbourne Trust in
    Bournemouth are taking 7
    students on an inaugural
    trip to Sri Lanka to visit
    their link schools in
  • New sewing centres are
    opened in Yatiyanthota and
    Karavetty, providing a
    livelihood for 20 local


  • A new team in our local
    office in Batticaloa reflects
    our expanding work in Sri
  • 16 preschools in Batticaloa
    District are registered with
    the zonal education offices.
  • Would you like to be a volunteer Intern for Ocean Stars Trust and gain
    valuable experience in International Development?

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Picture: /files/publications/301/w288/ost-june-newsletter.jpg

December Newsletter

A round up of all our news this autumn

Naomi Booth :: Thursday 30th November 2017 :: This Story

Dear Friends and Supporters of Ocean Stars Trust.
Thank you all very much for your loyal and committed support for our work in Sri Lanka, empowering children and changing lives. In October I travelled to Sri Lanka with 40 volunteers from the UK.

We worked directly and indirectly with about 3500 children during their visit. Seeing a sponsor child receive his first ever bicycle and hearing him thank us for making a dream come true for him, and the tears in his mother's eyes as he received the bike, was one of many
special moments.

21 students and 4 teachers from Calthorpe Park school in Fleet visited a tsunami village during their stay.

The 75 families who survived
the tsunami in this village had been asked to move back to their own land here recently, so the school group were met by families living in very basic huts with no sanitation, electricity or running water. The students were galvanised into
action to make a difference to these families, and revisited the village with the local village committee and police to distribute emergency aid.

As we approached one hut, a boy came out and ran towards the students and teachers with a big smile on his face, as he was a student at one of the link schools Calthorpe had worked in.  He was so happy that we had made the effort to come and visit his village and to show the local people we cared about them.
The passing of Mr Rasanayagam is a very sad loss to OST. We have supported his work and the
450 children at Mahadeva since 2013, and many OST volunteers have visited this Children's Home,
directed with love and care from dedicated staff.

OST will continue to fund several projects at this well-run Home, including a new preschool building .
I wish all our friends and supporters a Very Happy Christmas and a Peaceful New Year 2018.

Dilanee Bunter, Founder, Ocean Stars Trust.

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July 2017 Newsletter

Find out how our sponsored children and pre-school children are getting on in Sri Lanka

Chris Booth :: Saturday 1st July 2017 :: This Story

Picture: /files/publications/257/w288/ost-newsletter-july-2017-1.jpg

Page 1: Amali Bunter, co-opted Trustee, reflects on our work and our impact.
Page 2: Our work with preschools in Sri Lanka. Jennie Dunbar, Trustee, talks about her experience with OST.
Page 3: Our sponsorship programme and impact.
Page 4: Richard Oliver, Calthorpe Park School volunteer, writes about his experience.

View the July Newsletter

December 2016 Newsletter

It’s been almost two weeks now since we returned from our 2016 team trip to Sri Lanka. As on previous occasions, it is taking me time to settle back at home. My head is still full of the sights and sounds we encountered during our time there.

OceanStars :: Wednesday 7th December 2016 :: This Story

It was great to be back, to meet again with our Ocean Stars Lanka team who work tirelessly for us. We ask a lot of them and more than ever I am convinced of their commitment to OST and our dependence upon them as we seek to support and develop our work amongst the Batticaloa community.

Picture: /files/publications/238/w288/newsletter-december2016.jpg

As I travelled around the schools, I met up with many of the teachers who have become my friends. I taught in the classrooms and delight-ed in the smiles and laughter that I shared with the children. I was humbled by the sheer joy evident on a local man's face when he re-ceived his chickens, a gift bought from our gift catalogue. And like the rest of our team I was quite stunned to witness computer classes, sewing classes, English classes all taking place in Hope House, Ama-planthurai, a remote and very poor part of the Batticaloa district.

The work of Ocean Stars continues to progress, affecting and changing the lives of many living in remote and difficult circumstances in the North and East of Sri Lanka. We are very aware that this would not be possible without your support and on behalf of all the trustees, I thank you. Your gifts really are making a difference and changing lives.
Merry Christmas Everyone!

Download the full December newsletter and see the 2016 highlights.



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