Newsletter December 2023

Naomi Booth :: Monday 4th December 2023 :: This Story

Newsletter Nov 2023Read more...

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30 volunteers visited Sri Lanka in October 2023 and over 10,000 students and families were impacted by this visit.

5 Samba Bands are operating in Batticaloa Schools thanks to the fundraising of students from Calthorpe Park School, Fleet.

Over 2500  nutritious meals have been provided by our Feeding Programmes to preschool children in remote communities

One of our sponsor children graduated from the University of Jaffna with a Degree in BioScience and another is a successful entrepreneur who has helped over 1000 Sri Lankans improve their digital skills. 

Hope House projects continue to provide village women with skills that empower them to set up their own businesses.

OST Trustees met for their annual Strategy Planning Day in September and agreed on the Action Plan for the year ahead.

A residential Teacher Training was held for 70 Ocean Stars teachers in July 2023

Over 1000 preschool students assessed in our Child Development Programme.

 

Newsletter June 2023

Welcome to our summer newsletter

Naomi Booth :: Tuesday 4th July 2023 :: This Story

Latest NewsPicture: /files/publications/526/w288/june-2023-newsletter-v5-1.jpg

Three cycles of our flagship Assessment Tool completed in 2022. A total of 2400 assessments were completed.

847 students have enrolled in our 29 preschools for 2023.

OST Trustees are pleased to welcome two new Trustees onto our Trustee Board.

Breakfast programme established in 15 preschools and marked improvements in children's health and weight have been recorded.

 Hope House projects continue to provide village women with skills that empower them to set up their own business.

Planning is underway to resume volunteer trips, and Calthorpe Park School have 21 students signed up for October 2023.

Ocean Stars Trust was shortlisted for Charity Governance Award and became Runners-Up the Category Improving Impact in Small Charities.

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OSL Newsletter

In Tamil

Naomi Booth :: Tuesday 17th January 2023 :: This Story

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Newsletter November 2022

On another year of challenges and changes for Ocean Stars Trust

Naomi Booth :: Monday 21st November 2022 :: This Story

Picture: /files/publications/492/w288/newsletter-nov-2022-1.jpgThis Christmas Ocean Stars appeals for their Feeding Programme to provide a nutritious meal for over 500 preschool children. Details of our
appeal and how you can donate to feed a child for 50p can be found on Page 3. We thank you for your support.

Latest News includes:

  • Ocean Stars Lanka wins an award by the Sri Lanka local government for services to the local community.
  • 75 teachers attend a residential teacher training in July 2022.
  • Trustees met for annual Awayday to discuss our OST Strategy and to review our goals and objectives.
  • 5 sponsor children pass A Level exams and go on to University, Nursing and Vocational Training.
  • Breakfast programme now in 14 preschools ? marked improvements in children's health and weight have been recorded.

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Newsletter June 2022

Our Appeal and updates from Sri Lanka

Naomi Booth :: Tuesday 12th July 2022 :: This Story

Picture: /files/publications/476/w288/newsletter-june-2022-1.jpgAs you may be aware Sri Lanka is currently undergoing a very challenging period economically. The country is in debt and has little western currency to pay for imports. This has led to unprecedented fuel, gas, kerosine, food shortages as well as daily power cuts, sometimes up to 13 hours a day. The Sri Lanka Rupee was recently devalued and overnight prices of basic commodities went up exponentially. For the first time in the history of Sri Lanka there is not enough rice to feed the population and people are down to eating one meal a day. Our staff regularly have to queue up to 7 hours to get fuel for their
motorbikes. As there is no cooking gas everyone is now using firewood to cook their meals. As we are inundated with requests for support Ocean Stars are launching our June 2022 appeal.

More information on this and news from the preschools in our newsletter.

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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."

Dilanee

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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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