Last April, while building homes for two families in need in Sri Lanka, the volunteers of Team 15 learned about another family living in a desperate situation. For some time, they had been squatting in a tin shack with no toilet and an outdoor fire for cooking. Their situation was very precarious with a terrible house, a dangerous roof and they could get thrown off the land at any time.
We were introduced to the family by Navajeevena, an organization providing therapy and education for disabled children. Udesh is 12 and because of his disability cannot read or write although he can move reasonably well and has some speech. The family includes his mother, Swarnamalani, his 9-year-old sister, Shashikela, and a father, Vijay, who is crippled by rheumatology. There is also a brother, Venuka 15, going to school and living with an aunt in Matara which is 30 km away.
Swarnamalani is the mainstay of the family taking Udesh some distance to Navajeevena’s school every weekday on the local bus. This costs 500 rupees per month and the daily bus ride is 100 rupees. The only source of income is Swarnamalani buying then re-selling dried fish to neighbours on the weekend earning up to 1,000 rupees per day. Inspite of their challenging conditions, the parents are very committed to providing their children with the best opportunity possible.
When we found out that the government would provide a piece of land if we could raise $6,000 to build a home for this family, some of the volunteers of Team 15 jumped in. They donated, approached family and friends and together raised $6,040.
With thanks to this group, work started on a new home in August. It is in a development sponsored by the government not far from where they currently live. So they don’t have to move far and will be part of a new community.
The foundation is well underway and the smiles on their faces speak a thousand words. We are very grateful to the generous donors who are making a better future possible for Udesh and his family.