The ROCKIDS Foundation has been established in 2016. In this period, we have mostly been active in the former war area in the North of Sri Lanka. But we already achieved valuable and promising results with the support of our capable partner Caritas Valvuthayam and dedicated donors (a.o. Wilde Ganzen and ScanmarQED).

Partners in Sri Lanka

We have experienced that reliable local partners are essential to achieve sustainable results. Our local partners are mostly related to the Caritas network like Caritas- Valvuthayam in Mannar. This organization possesses strong project management capabilities and has a valuable and strong network in the area. We are working closely together with the Director of Caritas-Valvuthayam; from 2016-2018 in the person of Dr.Ref.Fr.Jeyabalan, between 2018-2023 with Rev.Fr.S.Anton and since 2024 with Rev.Fr.A.Croos. We still are in contact with both of his predecessors and ROCKIDS is sponsoring projects for their current parishes as well. In this way we have extended our local network with parish priests, staff members of Caritas Valvuthayam and his Lordship, the bishop of Mannar.

Projects in Sri Lanka

2024: Project visits in Mannar & Vavuniya

In January 2024 we were happy to find an opportunity to visit the ROCKIDS projects in the North of Sri Lanka. We still remembered our previous trip about 1,5 years ago very well. The country was in a deep, very visible political and economical crisis. Meanwhile the mobility is back in Sri Lanka. Tourists are finding their way to this beautiful country again, busses and fishing boats are in operation and the shelves of stores filled up again. But against high cost and personal sacrifices. The IMF granted a billion dollar restructuring loan and the taxes have been increased significantly. The inflation is still high as well. The average Sri Lankan feels the pain in his wallet. Due to heavy rainfall during the autumn and winter period, many crops have been destroyed. Carrots are so expensive, they sell them per piece. Too many Sri Lankans can only afford 2 or less meals a day…

As we arrived at the Caritas-Valvuthayam office in Mannar, we were most friendly welcomed by staff members and the new Director Rev.Fr. Arulraj Croos. We have known him for some years as a committed and kind parish priest and are very pleased he has been appointed as new Director. ROCKIDS has been working closely together with the Dutch foundation SEHH (Stichting Een Helpende Hand). For this reason we agreed to visit our projects together with chairman Piet Houtenbos and his wife Lydia.

Together we handed out the certificates to students who passed the exam of the ‘Computer Assistant’ course recently. Striking that so many young ladies are interested in IT! There even is a waiting list for the next course, because parents think it is safe to send their daughters to Caritas and the course is professional and affordable. A wonderful result and compliments to senior trainer Nerojan and his team. In the recently built computer lab in the Vavuniya district, we were also present at a certificate celebration with students. And we participated in an English class on the mini laptop for primary school students. It is promising to witness the fascination for IT among these youngsters. Hopefully it will enable them to create a better future for themselves and their family.

The Medical Center in Mannar is getting way too small nowadays. In 2022 we sponsored the Center with diagnostic and analytic equipment with the support of Wild Geese and Pour Les Autres. Caritas is building a new hospital and by the time this is ready (probably early 2025) all equipment of the Medical Center will be transferred to the hospital. For the hospital ROCKIDS will sponsor the baby care unit and the children’s ward (with the support of Wild Geese and the KIO foundation).

We still maintain a warm relationship with Dr.Ref.Fr. Jeyabalan, one of the previous Directors of Caritas. He was de co-founder of our successful ‘Sorelle Micro Credit Program’ in Vavuniya. This year we are celebrating the kick-off of a new initiative, the ‘Organic Home Gardening Program’. A third project where ROCKIDS is joining forces with the SEHH foundation. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we have provided dry ration packages (rice, tea, coffee, beans) to the poor and needy. After the pandemic we decided to start a program to improve the food supply for poor families in difficult situations. We support the families with tools, seedlings and other necessities. Two government officers will give agricultural advice to the participants on a regular basis. We are starting with 16 beneficiaries in a pilot of 12 months. We hope to conclude that the harvest has increased significantly. In that case we will gradually increase the number of beneficiaries in the organic home gardening program.

2022: Project visits to Mannar and Vavuniya

After 4 failed attempts due to COVID-19 restrictions, we finally arrived in Sri Lanka in April 2022. Meanwhile the pandemic is no longer dominating the news, but the war in Ukraine took over the global headlines. On our date of arrival, the state of emergency was declared in Sri Lanka, followed by a national lockdown and power cuts that lasted 7-15 hours per day. Suddenly we were witnessing the economic and political collapse of Sri Lanka, caused by many years of failing government policies, the Easter bomb blasts in 2018, COVID-19 misery in 2020-2021 and the effects of the war in Ukraine in 2022. The stock of foreign currency was exhausted and products like gas, oil, paper, baby food and medicines could no longer be imported. Furious public demonstrations, endless rows before petrol stations (guarded by armed soldiers), closed hospitals and partly empty shelves in shops were the responses.

Fortunately we have been able to visit our projects in the north of Sri Lanka:

  • Education: computer courses for exam students and English courses on the tablet for primary school students
  • Health care & prevention: early screening & treatment program for disabled children between 0-5 years old. Diagnostic and analytic equipment for the Medical Center
  • Micro Credits/recovery loans: visiting the 65 participants and monitoring their progress
  • Animal care: visiting the Donkey Rescue & Educational Center.

2021: Other projects

COVID-19 still also had a firm grip on Sri Lanka. In Sri Lanka frequent and sometimes random curfews had a major impact on daily life; schools and shops were closed for long periods and especially for daily earning workers the poverty increased. Fortunately most projects have shown progress, because we have been able to work with our partners in online meetings. In the last quarter of 2021 we have been working on the following projects:

Mannar region (in cooperation with Caritas Valvuthayam):

  • Continuation of the successful e-learning pilot in 2019 (new e-learning project started in October 2021)
  • Sponsoring of a new health program aimed at children with a disability in the age 0-4 years, the so called ‘Early Screening & Treatment Program’ (fundraising completed, implementation will start in January 2022)

Vavunyia region (in cooperation with Prosperous Life):

  • Scholarships for promising students (together with the Dutch Foundation SEHH)
  • Micro Credit program ‘Sorelle’: we already have 64 participants (all very poor women). In June, the next group is supposed to get started (we don’t need to invest, because it is a sustainable project with a revolving fund)
  • Micro Credit program ‘Sorelle Advanced’: some of the most successful female entrepreneurs requested a second micro credit. The standard program does not provide for this, so we are setting up a new fund for them (fundraising stage)

2021: Preschool 'Gimbrown Nagar'

At the end of September, the construction of our third preschool was ready. There is a very special story attached to this project. The preschool was requested by Tamil families who fled to India during the civil war. Now, more than 10 years later, they are gradually returning to their motherland Sri Lanka. Houses and infrastructure were badly damaged, therefore they founded a new village with the name ‘Gimbrown Nagar’. Translated this means ‘Jim Brown village’. The new village and the preschool are mentioned after a very brave priest, called father Jim Brown. He offered his church as a safehouse for fled and wounded people. This was not appreciated by all parties involved. After some warnings, father Jim Brown disappeared in 2006 and never returned home.

Thanks to our sponsors ScanmarQED, Wilde Ganzen (Wild Geese), Stichting Kio and the participants of the Asparagus fundraiser, we have been able to offer these poor families a preschool and play garden in cooperation with our local partner Caritas Valvuthayam. They are very happy with the new facilities in the village. Unfortunately we had to postpone the official opening of the preschool until January 2022 due to the COVID-19 situation. But now the lockdown has been abolished recently, the school can already be used by the children and their families. In September Wilde Ganzen (Wild Geese) has selected the construction of the preschool and the play ground ‘Project of the Week’. And all involved are proud of that award.

2020: COVID-19 Support is our priority

The COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown had severe consequences for the population; schools and shops were closed for months and daily wage earners struggled to provide for their families. Together with our Dutch partners Wilde Ganzen, Havonos and SEHH and our Sri Lankan partners Caritas Valvuthayam (Mannar) and Prosperous Life (Vavuniya) we were able to send many dry ration packs (containing rice, dahl, coffee, tea), soap and information material in April, May, and June 2020.

2019: Construction of a preschool in Paliyaru (Mannar region)

In January 2019 we attended the cornerstone ceremony in the small village of Paliyaru, together with a delegation of our sponsor (the Nannan familiy). We were warmly welcomed by parents, children, teachers, and other interested people from the village. The children gave us a wonderful homemade garland of fresh flowers. The Hindu priest and the Catholic father joined spirits in a remarkable ceremony. This mix of rituals is always impressive in this region. After placing (many) cornerstones, the small children performed a lovely song and dance. We enjoyed the toddler activities so very much. After the event, all people waved goodbye. See you again when the school is finished!

In November 2019, the school was ready to be opened. Despite very heavy rainfall and the consequences of the Easter bombings, which complicated the logistic process significantly. We praise our local partner Caritas-Valvuthayam for delivering yet another project within budget and timing constraints. A second delegation of the Nannan family was present at the opening ceremony of the preschool. Of course, they brought lovely presents for the children. After concluding a festive program of speeches, dances, and songs, the preschool was officially declared open. We will keep an eye on the school and the children in the following years. We will also provide relevant teaching materials.

2019: Psychosocial support and infrastructural investments (Mannar area)

In 2019 we have extended the program called ‘Young, Healthy Generation’ in cooperation with the Caritas Valvutayam charity organization. It consists of psycho-social help for war affected teenagers and their parents, renovation of damaged (pre)schools and community buildings, construction of fences and investing in water wells and water filtration units. Fresh drinking water is essential to remain healthy and learn about personal hygiene (washing hands, brushing teeth).

2019: Micro Credit & More: Sorelle Sri Lanka (Vavuniya area)

Together with the Parish Priest of the St. Anthony’s Church in Vavuniya, a remote provincial town in the North of Sri Lanka, we have developed a Micro Credit & Support Project for war affected women. Firstly, 17 women received a workshop on ‘entrepreneurship’. After attending all meetings, they have been drawing up a personal investment plan with the help of a micro credit project manager. After approval by the project management team, the beneficiary received the micro credit. They also get personal ‘sister-to-sister support’ from their counterpart in the Netherlands and Sweden. All investments have been granted in May 2019 and the Sorelle have 12 months to re-pay the loan. All payments will be collected into a revolving fund, making new micro credits available to other women.

2019: IT Educational Support (Mannar, Kilinochi and Jaffna area)

The fastest way out of the poverty for young people is learning good ICT skills. We received many requests to support the growing interest in IT education in the former war area of Sri Lanka. Therefore, we decided to join forces with 2 other Dutch Foundations who are active is this area: Stichting Een Helpende Hand (SEHH) en Havonos. We also requested our local partners, OMI and Caritas to join forces in Sri Lanka. In this way we have been able to construct two new IT classrooms (Ariyalai, Iyakachi) very quickly. At this moment we are developing a Train the IT Trainer Program with two local IT professionals. They are also creating the first IT learning platform for these areas.

2017-2018: infrastructural, economic, and psychosocial support of 3 villages

The involvement in building a preschool resulted in the wish to continue the support of this very poor, dry and war affected area in a more structured way.

With the help of Caritas Valvuthayam, we worked-out a development plan for 3 villages in the Mannar area (500 families) to improve their economic situation, education, and physical/mental health. The Dutch charity organization Wilde Ganzen is sponsoring this development plan.

This development plan consists of various projects such as:

  • Micro credit for 40 women, mostly war widows to set up their own small business
  • Group and individual counseling for war-teenagers (14-16 years old)
  • Renovation of war affected school and community buildings
  • Installation of water wells or water filtration systems for schools
  • Distribution of 20 bikes for children who live far from school (to avoid dropping out)
  • School books, social/cultural/sports events and awards

Two field visits to the projects in the summer of 2017 (by the van der Hende family) and in January 2018 (by Annemieke & Marjolein) lead in combination with the semi-annual report of Caritas Valvuthayam to the conclusion that significant progress has been made. Especially in the field of counseling and education. In the coming months, more focus will be on the renovation activities. All projects should be finalized before April 1st. and we are confident that this will be done within the available budget.

2016: Deva preschool in Palampiddy (Mannar area)

This pre school in the rural area of Palampiddy has been built within time and budget. It is an ‘example school’ for the region because it has a tube well and sanitary facilities in the building.  The cornerstone ceremony took place in August 2016 and was attended by the Meijer family. This was very special and impressed our sons (12 and 15 years old at that time) very much. The opening ceremony was held in May 2017, in presence of his Lordship, the bishop of Mannar, father Jeyabalan and Annemieke and Marjolein.

Join our donors