During my travels through Sri Lanka, I was made aware of a school in Kokilai, a fishing village in the Mullaitivu District. This region was greatly damaged during the war, and community was in the process of slowly rebuilding the school. For the school library, the students were using a small sheltered patio with a coconut-leaf thatched roof and plastic tarps for walls.
Last June, during my summer camp program I offer in Chicago, I mentioned this library to my students and told them that even under adverse conditions students are determined to receive their education in Sri Lanka. One of my students, named Nimalan was inspired to help these children on the other side of the world; he organized a volleyball tournament to raise funds to build a proper library for the Kokilai School. Nimalan’s effort succeeded!
Opening the new library
In April of 2014, we visited the school and my mother ceremoniously opened the new library building. The students and teachers were so happy and appreciative to have their new library! Our sincere thanks to Manitha Neyam Trust for coordinating the building of this new library. And special thanks to Nirmalan and family for this effort.
With school students
Nine year-old Anjali lives with her family in the suburbs of Toronto, Canada. One day, Anjali saw a fund-raising program on TV about the “Me to We” Foundation. This particular program was about children raising funds to donate bicycles to poor students in Africa who walked many miles to school every day. Anjali asked her mother how poor children in her native country, Sri Lanka, travelled to school. Anjali’s mother replied that when she was growing up, she also used a bicycle to go to school, though many less fortunate children did not have bicycles and had to walk to school like the children in Africa. Immediately Anjali replied, “I have some money from birthday gifts … I’d like to donate a bicycle to the poor children in Sri Lanka.”
(Pictured above – Suwishana receiving the bicycle from Thondunathan Swami’s mother)
Anjali’s mother contacted me and shared her daughter’s wish. We found a young girl named Suwishana whose family lost everything during the war and are now temporarily living in Jaffna. She walks more than a mile to catch a bus to go to school everyday. With Anjali’s donation, we purchased a bicycle and gave it to Suwishana. One month later, Anjali raised money from her family and friends and she told us that she was ready to donate a second bicycle. This time, we found a university student who had also been greatly affected by the war who needed a bicycle for her commute to university everyday from home. We gave the university student that bicycle and told her that the bicycle was a gift from a little girl named Anjali from Canada. When she heard that, tears rolled from her eyes.
Both students who received bicycles from Anjali, wrote beautiful thank you notes to their little sister, who lives half-way around the world and still cares about them. With more Anjalis among us, the world we live in would be a much better place!
(Pictured below is the university student who received the bicycle along with Thondunathan Swami and his mother)
As shared by – Thondunathan Swami
(The story was shared originally in 2011. Anjali is now, Twelve years old and has continued to expand this project since then)
Meet Suganya, 18 year old resident at Shakthi illam, who is originally from Valvettithurai, Sri Lanka. Suganya is currently in grade 13 preparing for her A/Ls in Ratmalana Hindu College.
Her story – Due to civil war strife Suganya was restricted from going to school. However, things became worse when her home was destroyed due to Tsunami in Sri Lanka. Her father – a fisherman, lost his equipment and tools to continue his job. Her family moved to Colombo following the Tsunami and she applied to study in Ratmalana Hindu College.
Life in school – Suganya enjoys being in Shakthi Illam. Her hobbies include singing and dancing, and she also enjoys spending time with her friends.
Her goals – Suganya aspires to be a journalist and work for the media someday. Her motivation is to be able to tell the truth in people’s stories and to emphasize the need of first hand information.
Your support and contribution help to give Suganya and strong young ladies in Shakthi illam – an opportunity to make their dreams into reality.
Help this young dreamer reach his goal of becoming a high court judge.
Welcome to our very first blog post! Starting from this month – we will publish interview excerpts from various people who are supported by Manitha Neyam Trust in Sri Lanka.
Meet R. Thasan, an eleven year old boy from Batticaloa, Sri Lanka, who is currently at Hindu College Hostel in Ratmalanai.
Thasan’s story – His Appamma (paternal grandmother) raised him after he lost his parents long ago, due to causes he does not know. Working as a cook, his Appamma was unable to support Thasan, and applied for him to come to Ratmalanai Hindu College a year ago.
Life in Hindu College Hostel and hobbies – So far, Thasan enjoys being at Ratmalanai hostel. Like all young boys, he stays active, and loves playing cricket, table tennis and break dancing in his downtime.
Life’s goal– As for his goal, Thasan aspires to be a high court judge. When asked why, he responds: to save innocent people by making sure bad people get in trouble for their crimes.
(As narrated by Thasan to our Interviewer, Suhasini Aravinthan)
Your donations/ support for Manitha neyam will help this young boy and others like him achieve their goals and make their aspirations become a reality.
Donate at www.manithaneyam.org/donate-us/ .
For more information please reach out to us at www.manithaneyam.org/contact-us/