The main focus of the Foundation Kalapuwa is on Education and Entrepreneurship. We believe that when investments are made in these principals that this will lead to a sustainable development in the area. We have intentionally limited our involvement to the area within the boundaries of the Kalapuwa peninsula. Inevitably, during our many visits to Sri Lanka to meet and make new friends and to follow the progression of our projects, we come into contact with many other elements of the society. Sometimes it is unavoidable that emotional situations outside our normal remit demand attention and with a minimal outlay we are able to offer help where no help would otherwise be forthcoming. This is the third element in our plan, Humanitaire Help.
We support two Orphanages mainly with educational projects and with workshops. Regular visits are made to women with small children who are serving terms of imprisonment. Mobility for many physically handicapped remains a problem and with gifts of wheelchairs and bicycles life may be made better for some. A new inovation is the introduction of a ‘Meals on Wheels’ service for the elderly. We do not wish to become involved with medication and medical assistance and we refer such requests to the local Red Cross.
We will never forget meeting the Singhalese man in the photo on his board with roller skate wheels , wearing gloves to protect his hands whilst propelling himself through the streets. Having lost the use of his legs this was his only means of transportation. But his board was broken and he was unable to move around. We went shopping and found that for Euro 125 it was possible to purchase a new tricycle with hand propulsion. In the photo the wooden plank on the tricycle is for selling lottery tickets which gives him a modest income and the tricycle some mobility. This is part of our reasoning in giving bicycles, wheelchairs or a tricycle to those in need and depending on the waiting list and the Foundation finances we are able to make a significant difference to some lives.
The Vishaka Girls Home in Kalutara is an orphanage for grills and offers accomodation for a maximum of 45 young girls. The girls enjoy a loving environment created by a number of women who have been appointed to the job by the local government. In 2016 the Foundation helped in the refurbishment of the premises with particular emphasis on the sanitary facilities, the sleeping quarters and the purchase of sheets and ventilators. The difference was remarkable and the orphanage is now fit for purpose. Currently the emphasis has shifted towards Education for these girls and for two hours twice a week English lessons are given and Workshops are arranged when we are in Sri Lanka. The girls love these sessions not in the least because at the end of each session we arrange a meal and a fun evening together .
The Jayanti Childrens Home is an orphanage for boys that has endured a desperately difficult period in recent years. In 2013 it became evident that the previous administrator had abused children under his care. Because of this a number of the boys were transfered to five other orphanages. A few years ago Mr. Gumara took over the job of administrator and it is thanks to him that peace and regularity have once again been restored to the orphanage. The boys have returned home and Mr. Gumara has managed to raise funds and donations to further improve the facilities.
In 2018 we made the decision to help with what had become a dangerous situation with the roof to the dormitories partially collapsing. The major work has now all been completed and we are in communication with the local government to have the necessary approval to re-open the dormitories.
The Foundation has arranged for weekly lessons in English and mathematics to be given to the boys. These lessons are given in the Orphanage. During every visit we make to Sri Lanka we always take time for a call on Mr. Gumara to see if we can help any further and organise an afternoon for the boys with games, a meal together, dancing and small presents.
In Kalutara is the second largest and most high-risk prison in Sri Lanka. On average there are 900 men and approximately 300 women in separate quarters serving out their sentences. We make regular visits to the prison specifically for those women with small children. Children up to the age of five are allowed to stay with their mothers after which they have to be relocated either to relatives or to an orphanage. The facilities for these young women were intolerably poor. Foundation Kalapuwa was given permission to improve conditions with floor tiles, toilets, showers, beds, mosquito nets and ventilators. We have an excellent working relationship with the governor of the prison and where necessary he put male prisoners to work making the alterations. This has resulted in a clean and light dormitory and bathroom for the mothers and children.
Whenever possible we make two visits to the prison. Firstly to make an appraisal of the number of women and children and their requirements. Some women are only on remand for a limited time and are later released which results in a fluctuation in numbers. We ask the women what the main requirements are for the children, nappies, soap, oil, extra food, clothes etc., and armed with this list a trip is made to local shops, These articles are personally delivered later to the prison.
We have also arranged that English lessons be given in the prison. This a voluntary program and available to all the women and is given free of charge in the hope that after their release they may have a better chance of finding work, for example within the tourist industry where a basic knowledge of English is essential. Being incarcerated in a Singhalese prison is dismal and any distraction to the daily routine is very welcome.
In 2018 Foundation Kalapuwa started a pilot program to give extra nutritional support to elderly single people living on the Kalapuwa peninsula. We call this our ‘Meals on Wheels’ project.
Nirmala cooks, twice a week, a healthy meal for ten families ( twenty people) and delivers these to their homes.
The purchasing of the fresh ingredients is done by Nirmala (rice, curry, vegetables, a little meat or fish and papdum). The meals are placed in special containers and delivered the same day, twice a week on Tuesday and Friday.
The Foundation made a selection of twenty persons on the following criteria:
This allows us not only to have a social control on the less fortunate elderly but has given Nirmala a means of income. She has three children and her husband is unable to work and this initiative has given her a chance of working towards a better life.
This pilot program has proved to be a success and will be continued in 2019. We are particularly grateful to the Lameris Foundation for their generous donation which has enabled us to continue the project for 2019.