The ROCKIDS Foundation is still  young (June 2016). In this period, we have only 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. Our key contact person is the Director of Caritas Valvuthayam, Ref.Fr.S.Anton. But we have extended our local network with parish priests, staff members of Caritas Valvuthayam and his Lordship, the bishop of Mannar as well.

Projects in Sri Lanka

2022: Project visit

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.

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