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FoG's 8th Village Heartbeat Empowerment (VHE) Centre in Oddusuddan (Mullaitivu) was declared open in partnership with SriLankan Cares (the CSR arm of SriLankan Airlines) on the 1st of September, 2017. The VHE Centre offers classes in IT, English, Sinhala (link-language), Science and Maths as well as Women's Empowerment Programmes, Children's Good Values Initiative and access to a library and volleyball court.
The Pimp My Tuk Tuk Charity Ride 2017 took place from the 15th – 22nd September when 54 expat financial specialists working in Asia traveled around Sri Lanka (Colombo - Chilaw – Sigiriya – Trincomalee- Pasikudah – Arugam Bay – Hambanthota – Unawatuna) in tuk tuks for a truly unique experience while also conducting a variety of charitable development activities along the way including:
- Stopping at the 3 Reverse Osmosis Water Purification Plants built by the 2015 and 2017 rides in Mihinthale (Anuradhapura District), Mullekumbura (Moneragala District) and Galnewa (Anuradhapura District).
- Visiting the FoG Village Heartbeat Empowerment Centre in Eravur where they also handed over 12 bikes to students who do not have access to transport (funds for a total of 109 bikes were raised by the group, 97 bikes were already distributed previously in Kilinochchi and Jaffna).
- A visit to the Meth Sewa Foundation, a home for special needs and differently-abled beneficiaries in Moneragala.
- The team will also provide solar power to 70 homes in the remote villages of Udugaladebokka and Galamuduna situated in Hasalaka (Central Province) atop a mountain which requires a 7km trek through wilderness where wild elephants roam.
- Their final stop before the ride concluded in Colombo was at the MCC Centre of Excellence and Sports Academy in Seenigama. The group also raised funds to sustain development and humanitarian activities carried out by the Foundation for the benefit of rural impoverished villagers.
IRONKIDS Sri Lanka (affiliated with IRONMAN 70.3 Colombo, which will take place in 2018) was organized for the first time ever in South Asia with the kind sponsorship of Shangri – LA Hotel on the 30th of September, in an initiative spearheaded by Rajan Thananayagam from Australia with 135 kids from the Southern Province participating in the events which included track and swimming.
Congratulations to FoG’s talented young swimmer Yasindu Kavishani who won 7 gold medals at the R. M. P. De Silva Memorial Inter School Swimming Championship held in Ambalangoda.
Used golf equipment including 90 clubs and 700 balls were distributed among caddies in Digana who originate from rural disadvantaged backgrounds but after being exposed to top golfers, learned the game and at times have even gone on to play in the international circuit. Their greatest hindrance is the inability to purchase the necessary equipment due to poverty and through this donation, we hope to empower them to excel through this donation which was made possible by Ms. Nirmala Dharmaraja with the kind facilitation of Dr. Naj Nagendran (both from USA).
Renowned Sri Lankan swimmer, Julian Bolling who represented our nation thrice at the Olympic Games and has won 15 Gold Medals at the South Asian Games, visited the MCC Centre of Excellence & Sports Academy to see all the work conducted by FoG. He will be back in November to conduct a 2 day coaching clinic for the Sports Academy swimmers.
The Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) Camp - India took place in Seenigama on the 29th and 30th of September with 15 youth participating in the 2 day leadership, philanthropic and team-building programme which included an ocean adventure, craft workshop, cookery programme, sports initiatives and a presentation by FoG Founder/ Chief Trustee Kushil Gunasekera to learn about life skills and good values. The team were also enthusiastic to study the work carried out by the Foundation of Goodness to uplift local communities.
Professor Errol Wirasinghe from USA who is a trainer and consultant in Decision-Making and Negotiating held a workshop on the same subjects for 40 FoG Managers, Coordinators and BPO staff in Seenigama free of charge, as a way of giving back to uplift rural Sri Lankan communities.
A ‘Google for Education’ workshop conducted by Mr. Nathan Sooriyakumar from Australia and Dr. Charles from the University of Jaffna took place at the MCC Centre of Excellence for 33 teachers from the Galle Education Zone and included a special session with Krishni Goonesena, First Secretary, Development Cooperation, Sri Lanka and Maldives Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australian High Commission, Colombo who spoke on the importance of developing core skills (collaboration, communication, critical thinking and creativity) for future employment.
The 2nd North Cricket Coaching Camp took place at the Kilinochchi Central College Grounds for 50 students with the kind sponsorship of Tokyo Cement in an effort to develop cricketing skills in the Northern Region. The next clinic will take place in Mullaitivu during the month of October.
6 patients have successfully undergone cataract surgeries conducted by Help Age in partnership with the Foundation of Goodness. These surgeries are part of phase 3 in an ongoing programme made possible by kind donors from the Sri Lanka Association of Geneva (SLAG), Switzerland facilitated by Mr. Chinta Rajap, formerly of UNDP.
Dance classes for children with special needs continue to take place at the MCC Centre of Excellence giving these kids a fun opportunity to get involved with new activities and develop their aesthetic talents.
Village Heartbeat Empowerment Centres:
The Foundation of Goodness Village Heartbeat Empowerment Centres are designed to empower rural disadvantaged villagers, especially through English and IT which are essential to reduce the levels of poverty. Other programmes also include life skill & values, educational subjects, vocational training and sports to help them make better progress overcoming the disparity between the urban and rural communities.
Udumulla Village Heartbeat Empowerment Centre
(337 beneficiaries from 20 villages)
- A special Maternity Clinic was held at the Udumulla Centre for pregnant and new mothers.
- Students from the Grade 5 scholarship class participated in a fun "Do You Know" contest.
Rathgama Village Heartbeat Empowerment Centre
(334 beneficiaries from 10 villages)
- A special activity was introduced to keep the kids engaged by teaching them about different kinds of cake and icing, including learning how to decorate cakes.
- In an effort to teach kids the value of money and saving, all children participating in the Children's Good Values Initiative in Rathgma have received colourful tills and will practice saving money.
- The members of the Children’s Good Values Initiative conducted a clean-up programme at the Centre to keep it looking beautiful and clean.
- A special Maternity Clinic was held at the Rathgama Centre for pregnant and new mothers.
Moneragala Village Heartbeat Empowerment Centre
(677 beneficiaries from 28 villages)
- Moneragala VHE Centre staff members attended a 3 day programme on Spoken English to improve their vocabulary and pronunciation.
Matara Village Heartbeat Empowerment Centre
(897 beneficiaries from 8 villages)
- A special programme took place for all the students attending classes at the Matara VHE Centre in celebration of World Children’s Day.
Eravur Village Heartbeat Empowerment Centre
(799 beneficiaries from 6 villages)
- A special session was conducted for the beneficiaries about appropriate behavior and travel safety.
- The children celebrated 'Sarasvati Pooja', a ceremony honouring the Hindu Goddess of Education.
Thirukkovil Village Heartbeat Empowerment Centre
(514 beneficiaries from 4 villages)
- The members of the Children’s Good Values Initiative conducted a clean-up programme at the Centre to ensure that it looks clean and inviting.
- A special awareness programme to celebrate World Literacy Day was organized for the community by the children attending programmes at the VHE Centre.
Mathagal Village Heartbeat Empowerment Centre
(296 beneficiaries from 6 villages)
- Students attending programmes at the Mathagal VHE Centre conducted a community aid cleaning programme at a local church in an effort to maintain a clean environment in public and communal areas of their village.
Oddusuddan Village Heartbeat Empowerment Centre
(282 beneficiaries from 6 villages)
- The kids attending classes at the Centre organized a clean-up programme to keep their brand new building looking spick and span.
Women’s Enterprise & Empowerment Unit:
The students from the cookery programme at FoG’s Women’s Enterprise & Empowerment Centre visited the Udawalawa Grand Hotel to learn about the service industry and gain more exposure & experience which can broaden their knowledge-base.
Business Skills Centre:
Students of the Foundation of Goodness Business Skills Centre participated in a special workshop to better prepare them to succeed upon entering the job market. The workshop included the following:
- Life Values programme conducted by FoG Founder/ Chief Trustee Mr. Kushil Gunasekera.
- Guidance on Financial Management by Financial Consultant Mr. Prithy De Silva.
- Practical Aspects of Managing a Business by Mr. Niluka Samarasinghe from Hatton National Bank.
- A session on the importance of IT by FoG IT Lecturer Mr. Saman Kumara.
- Advice on developing Life Skills by the Community Psycho-social Unit.
Community Psycho-social Unit:
- The CPU members attended a workshop on supporting children with reading and writing difficulties at the Rajagiriya Child Eye Centre.
- A special series of lectures on Sinhala Literature were held at the Akurala Child Resilience Centre to celebrate World Literacy Day.
- An awareness programme on Good Mental Health was held at the Udumulla VHE Centre.
- An exercise programme was conducted at the Madampagama Elders' Home to ensure the well-being of the elderly residents so that they remain fit and healthy even in advancing years.
- A first aid training programme was conducted at the Akurala Child Resilience Centre to ensure that all the children were aware of basic first aid practices to be better prepared in the event of an emergency.
Medical Centre & Dental Clinic:
- The Medical Centre Team conducted their monthly wellness check-ups at the Hikkaduwa, Madampagama and Wellawatta Elders’ Homes to make sure that the residents remain in good health.
- The Dental Clinic continues to conduct monthly oral care programmes introduced by American teenager Sonali Ranaweera’s Recycling4Smiles initiative.
- Peace Day Programmes in accordance with the Coaches Across Continents 'One Day One Goal' initiative were organized in both Seenigama and Kilinochchi. 30 kids participated in each event which were focused on teaching leadership skills and the value of peace through sports.
- Dhammika Withanachchi from USA returned to Seenigama along with his two daughters to conduct a second swimming coaching clinic at the Bryan Adams Foundation Pool Complex.
- The monthly coaching camp by Sri Lanka's National Women's Coach Hemantha Devapriya sponsored by Tokyo Cement was conducted for 38 cricketers and 8 coaches.
- Daily fitness training was conducted by Victor Celestine for all FoG sports squads to help improve their performance. In addition to fitness training the members of the FoG Elite Squad also attended IT and English classes to give them a more well rounded approach to success.
- Items donated to struggling schools this month in an effort to develop their sports programmes include presenting a cricket bag to Basilica College– Ragama and handing over new practice kits to the U13 Wimala Buddhi School cricket team.
- Community aid sports tours this month included a visit by the Jain Residential School from Bangalore. These friendly matches are a valuable experience for the local and visiting teams because of the opportunity to play and learn from each other.
Beneficiary Community Aid Programmes:
- The MCC Kids Computer Class helped the Madampagama Elder's Home by donating dry rations for their meals and presenting them with a bag of cement towards building a wall.
- Weekly beach cleaning programmes were conducted by the students of the Seenigama Diving & Training Centre to keep the village coastlines garbage free.
The Foundation of Goodness is delighted to have 3 volunteers with us this month from Germany, The Netherlands and Spain, all of whom are adding value to our work.