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Our Projects, Past & Present

‘Books and Buns’!
Tuition and Nutrition.
Investing in the future of Sri Lanka. Download the flyer here.

Uragasmanhandiya Library
The RSL flagship library at Uragasmanhandiya has enrolled over 5,787 members and now stocks over 40,000 books! On average we have over 200 members come in to check out books every Saturday. It is the busiest day of the week. In June 2011 RSL opened another smaller library on the Uragasmanhandiya site due to increasing numbers of books and new library members.

On the 19th January 2012 RSL opened their 5th Library in Neluwa town, just below the Singharaja rain forest.
2520 Members.

RSL opened their 6th Library in Mathugama town in January 2013. It is the biggest library so far. It has over 8,000 members.
It is our shining star! 

December 5th 2013 RSL opened our 7th Library in Killinochchi. 1474 members. 

RSL opened their 8th Library in Ambalantotha on 3rd September 2014. 2,150 members.

RSL established another library in Kaithady at the Nuffield School for Deaf and Blind on November 27th 2014. It will be run by the school themselves. 

The David Pope Library - The Rohana Special School
In June 2015 The David Pope Library was opened at The Rohana Special School. It became our tenth library.

The David Pope Collection Library - Uragasmanhandiya
On 2nd February 2016 we opened The David Pope Collection Library at Uragasmanhandiya. RSL’s 11th Library! It houses all of David’s treasured books, which were given to RSL for safe keeping. Huge thanks to Simon Pope.

The Hansa Pre School
The Hansa Pre school is at maximum capacity. On registration day all the places were full in less than 30 minutes. Thanks, as always, to Lina and Pritesh Desai for maintaining this beautiful school.

Bartukanaththa School
140 students are currently enrolled.

Galpoththa School
Loughborough High School and Mr and Mrs Schleipen have very generously committed to sponsoring this beautiful and extremely needy school near Uragasmanhandiya. A nutrition pack for all the children is given on a monthly basis. There are currently over 110 children at the school.

The Marcsri Home, Kalutara
With the help of generous donations from Pritesh Desai and Friends and the Brave Fish Yogis we are looking after the nutritional and practical requirements at this residential home for the elderly and disabled. There are over 200 residents who benefit from this project.

Hambantota Widows Livelihood Project
RSL help currently help 29 widows and their families living in Hambantota. Each family receives approx. £25 per month. It is one of the poorest districts in the country. RSL and Bath Abbey have also given each of the families livelihood projects and it is our greatest hope that they will be self-sufficient by the end of 2017.

“Hansa” Pre School and Library – Uragasmanhandiya
This beautiful educational facility was officially opened in August 2007. In the first four months alone the library had enrolled a staggering 1,400 members!! Some of the children traveling up to 16kms to get there! Now, at the start of 2009 there are over 2,500 members who have joined from 64 different schools and the library has recently been acknowledged as the best quality, fastest growing facility outside the capital. The “Hansa” Pre School is at full capacity and over 250 children are enrolled at the RSL English Language classes there. There is still a great demand for new books and we continue to welcome donations for this fantastic facility, which has become a beacon in the local community. Enormous thanks to Lina and Pritesh Desai and The Asia Foundation for their continued support of this project.

Human Link – Kalmunai
Situated on the East Coast of Sri Lanka this incredible family run school serves differently abled children and young adults. Its focus is on care, providing relevant skills and encouraging their students to become independent, productive and highly recognized members of society. Some of the children they are teaching were found locked away in rooms, neglected and ostracized. One girl is still suffering extreme post traumatic stress after nearly dying in the tsunami. This is only a small area and 4,000 people lost their lives here in December 2004. RSL have been helping support this school since it opened in May 2007. In order to serve greater numbers of children the school needs a bigger building and more staff. Annual running costs for this project are £6,000. We would love it if there were someone out there who would like to sponsor this wonderful place. Please get in touch!! Plans for 2009 are for Human Link to open a laundry to generate additional income for the facility. They also hope to launch an initiative to teach 100 parents of deaf children to be fluent in sign language.

Batukanaththa School
In 2006 RSL discovered a school in a very poor area that had been terribly neglected. On our first visit there we found a child asleep at her desk, exhausted from hunger. RSL immediately set about improving conditions by providing uniforms, shoes, books and nutrition. Thanks to the enormous generosity of Loughborough Grammar School we were able to build a new school there that was officially opened on 28th August 2006. With the help of LGS we continue to provide dry rations to the families of each child on a monthly basis. In November 2008 Batukanaththa enjoyed a complete refurbishment and repaint. They have a wonderful new principal there who is extremely proactive and who, with the help of RSL, has introduced a small library at the school. Admissions for the new school year were the highest ever experienced.

Early RSL Works

Boats Programme
Boat Building In May 2005 RSL completed a two-month programme to supply fishing catamarans, nets of various types and some larger hulls. Our reports demonstrate that 144 fishermen have now returned to work as a result of this programme. Approximately 646 people benefit directly from these incomes being restored.

Toilet Projects
Since the disaster RSL have built toilets in over 50 locations. RSL continues to provide toilets where they are needed. In addition RSL have provided wells and fresh water in many areas. It’s not too glamorous (!!), but if anyone would like to sponsor a loo, it costs only £250 to build a really nice one!

Sea Beach South Project
Temporary Housing in Ambalangoda Sam Rowe (UK) and Shawn Fernando (US) are two RSL volunteers who managed this project building temporary housing in this area. The building was completed in 2005. Unfortunately Ambalangoda is a very densely populated area making it very difficult to find land for these families. Seventy houses were provided by RSL. Donors Roger and Hedvig Bates and Rod and Mary Hudson visited this project in 2005. “Our visit was most appreciated as was the generosity of those who donated…..” click here to read more. You can also visit the link below to hear RSL interviewed by BBC Five Live. This programme was aired on Boxing Day 2005. Listen Here

Payagala Housing Project
RSL completed a major project to build medium term housing for 350 refugees in Payagala. 998 families in this one tiny area lost their homes. Temporary homes were built, the land cleared and toilets & electricity provided. Our link with “Swim Lanka” meant that we were also able to provide a pool and swimming lessons for the children in this area.

Permanent Houses and RSL Village!
All permanent houses in Payagala, Ambalangoda and Kosgoda are complete. The RSL village in Magalakanda was officially opened on 2nd September 2006. It was a fantastic day and the recipients were all over the moon. Thank you to everyone who contributed to this amazing project. There are still many families in desperate need of permanent homes. To build a two-bedroom house complete with kitchen and bathroom costs £4,000.

Schools Programme
In January 2005 RSL started work with 24 schools in the Beruwela educational region. RSL provided books, shoes, special needs equipment, uniforms, sports and music equipment and teaching aids in all of these schools. Sadly, destitution was a very real crisis for many families and they were unable to afford even the bus fares to get their children to and from school. RSL implemented a travel supplement scheme, which provided monthly cash disbursements to displaced families to help them with transportation costs for these children. RSL continued this scheme for six months. Many children returned to school as a result. RSL identified several schools where the diet of students was very poor. In response to this situation we started a nutrition programme in April 2005 providing a mid morning snack in these schools on a daily basis. Attendance rose dramatically as a result and academic progress witnessed a marked improvement. RSL has been able to achieve unprecedented government permission to arrange sponsorship between Sri Lankan schools and schools in the U.K. This initiative has been supported by Loughborough Grammar School, Colton Hills Community College, Bedford Modern School and Leehurst Swan in Wiltshire. All our schools have been provided with new first aid kits and supplies donated courtesy of Mary Fair and Kings Street Club, Walsall Wood. Many thanks! RSL has completed the refurbishment of the deaf unit in Aluthgama thanks to a very generous donation from Di and Jim Bolton, providing wonderful new classrooms and proper equipment for these fantastic children. RSL continues to improve safety standards in schools by correcting structural problems and by improving sanitation and security.

Rural Schools Revival Programme
It is widely recognised that the effects of the tsunami in December 2004 are far reaching and extend well beyond those who suffered actual physical damage. In rural areas the poverty is terrible and the schools have suffered extreme neglect. Some of the parents who worked in tourism in Sri Lanka before the tsunami have lost their jobs and have been forced to go to the Middle East to take jobs in hotels, restaurants and private homes. They may not see their children for many months, even years at a time. As a result, the already traumatized country is becoming more fragmented as children are no longer enjoying the security of a close family unit. Nutrition is another key issue. Some of the children attending rural schools arrive having had nothing to eat and will not eat all day. Concentration and energy levels are extremely low. Rebuilding Sri Lanka selected ten of the worst affected schools and has provided nutritional assistance, uniforms, shoes and teaching equipment.

Child Resource Centre – Hambantota
In March 2005 one of our trustees decided to travel as far as Hambantota to identify projects which were in need of help. The situation is dire in many of these villages and this had prompted RSL to widen its area of support. RSL worked alongside the TDA in Hambantota and funded and helped create a Children’s Resource Centre. It is the only facility of its kind and provides one to one counselling, interactive games, a secure and well-equipped play facility and computer & English lessons on a daily basis. Hambantota lost over 40% of its population on 26th December 2004 and we identified over 250 children who have lost either one or both parents. This facility is dedicated to improving the lives of these children and providing them with hope and support for the future. Please click on for further information. Many thanks to Mari Linnman at The Art Farm for her generosity and support of the CRC.

We have identified four hospitals and we are providing them with basic medical supplies. Additionally, we have provided machines, beds, linen and have funded several operations and responded to many requests for insulin. Special thanks to Mary and Mick Fair and to Lina and Pritesh Desai for their generous support of this programme.

Livelihood Programme
So far we have helped 60 recipients get back to work in the following occupations;
furniture makers
boat repair men
treacle makers
shop owners
English Language Seminars

At the beginning of January 2006 RSL started English Language Seminars for children in tsunami affected areas. It is widely recognised that standards of English in local schools are fairly low and vocational training is virtually non-existent. It is our hope that by providing this service we will enable the children to have greater opportunities when they leave school.

Everyone at RSL would like to extend their warmest thanks to all those people throughout the country (and in Europe, the US, Bermuda and Australia!) who have been working tirelessly to raise donations and awareness on behalf of RSL. There have been many wonderful events and we are extremely grateful to you for all your support. If you would like to discuss ideas for future fundraisers please call Clare on 01722 413481. Thank you.

Making Links
An extremely important aspect of working in overseas development is to make productive links with other NGOs and charities that are also working “on the ground”. Developing relationships with charities such as Downton Friends of Tsunami, Restore Sri Lanka, We Care, The Abhina Foundation, Swim Lanka, Village Trust for Tsunami Affected Communities, Adopt Sri Lanka, No Strings International, Wherever the Need, eRanger, The Rainbow Centre, REBUILDING FOUNDATION and Unconditional Compassion have proved to be an invaluable source of support, inspiration and mutual assistance. Please visit our links page to out more about any of these organisations.

Human link - Kalmunai 
Situated on the East Coast of Sri Lanka this incredible family run school serves differently abled children and young adults. Its focus is on care, providing relevant skills and encouraging their students to become independent, productive and highly recognized members of society. Some of the children they are teaching were found locked away in rooms, neglected and ostracized. One girl is still suffering extreme post traumatic stress after nearly dying in the tsunami. This is only a small area and 4,000 people lost their lives here in December 2004. RSL have been helping support this school since it opened in May 2007.