1. Read-Write Sri Lanka
A large number of schools in the northern, eastern and southern coastal belt have been completely destroyed by the tsunami. Read-Write Sri Lanka is a project started by volunteers in the Bethesda Maryland area led by Imalka Senadhira, an elementary school teacher there, and supported by Sarasali Fonseka. We, Rotary Club of Colombo Regency, have been requested to collaborate with them to rebuild ten destroyed schools. We are delighted to help and are currently discussing the formalities.
Read-Write Sri Lanka plans to work with international donor agencies such as U.S. Agency for International Development to identify the 10 schools that they will be renovating. Once the renovation work is completed, Read–Write Sri Lanka will be responsible for donating the school equipment and providing school supplies for children to go back to school.
2. Message from Imalka on “Read-Write Sri Lanka”
"Please take a moment to think about how education has helped you in your life. Think of several thousands of innocent victims that have been robbed of this opportunity, for no fault of theirs. Please think about sharing something - money or goods with these children. We are the grievers from a distance, they are the devastated victims. Let's put a smile on a little face.
Today, I have initiated Read-Write Sri Lanka Initiative together with the Rotary Club of Colombo Regency. Our project will initially re-equip ten schools in South (predominantly Sinhala), North (predominantly Tamil), and East (predominantly Muslim) of the island and provide school supplies to innocent, little children who have been left to care for themselves.
While gradually waking up from the horrible nightmare, I am thinking about the tens of thousands of children that are left orphans with no schools and no parents to motivate them. I can only picture them dropping out of education and becoming dependents of the nation. This is scary. This could create an unimaginable increase in unemployment and lead to deep poverty in the future. We have to take care of these children now.
Sri Lanka has always been proud of its high literacy rate. In fact, the estimated literacy rate in 2003 was 92%. We are proud of this because every citizen in Sri Lanka is a teacher. I became a teacher when I was 10 years old. My mother was actively involved in an Association that supported an orphanage in Galle - my hometown. I taught these children to read and write in English. I am sure I am not the only Sri Lankan child who was a student and a teacher, while growing up. For Sri Lankans, education is as sacred as religion or as important as the air we breathe. Please help our children - Education is not a choice, it's a must!
Elementary School Teacher, Bethesda, MD, USA
3. How the assistance will be delivered
Most of the schools in the North, East, and South coastal line are completely destroyed. To get an idea of the destruction, we have included pictures of Sri Sumana Jyothi School in Unawatunne, Galle – the South of Sri Lanka.
Rotary intends to work with U.S. Agency for International Development [USAID], U.K. Department for International Development [DFID], and German Technical Cooperation [GTZ] to identify these schools that they will be in renovating the physical infrastructure.
This initiative is a long term project. Your assistance will be used to equip these schools and provide school supplies to children, to get them back to school. We are in the process of identifying the schools and tabulating the many needs of these schools and children. A detailed plan will be available in a few weeks.
4. How you can contribute
Anyone wants to contribute school supplies or equipment, please hold on until we sort out the logistics. As you surely understand, storage in Sri Lanka is not a possibility right now. Please plan on your commodity contributions by collecting and storing any of the above items and informing us, so that we could contact you at the appropriate time.
You could also use the “donate by credit card” option at our site and make a note that it is for the "Read-Write Sri Lanka" initiative.
5. Contact persons
U.S.A - Imalka Senadhira +301-656-6919 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Sri Lanka - Chamila Wicramasinghe at email@example.com
For more information about Imalka Senadhira and Read-Write Sri Lanka, read this story which ran in the January 6th issue of The Gazette of Bethesda, Maryland:
17 January 2005
Read Write first initiative completed
"The Read Write Sri Lanka (RW SL) initiative in the
RW SL team says a big thank you to people who contributed in kind and all who assisted in sorting and boxing them. In particular Paul and Evette Lindler, Christopher Ingraham, Chetana Senadhira for loading the 75 boxes to the truck. Special thanks to Marc Lande and Stephen Fernando for driving the truck to
Each box had pictures drawn with encouraging messages from the American and Sri Lankan children including many brownies and girl scouts living in
20 January 2005
Read Write Sri Lanka Phase 2
Each child could prepare a backpack containing school supplies appropriate for him or her to last a child for as long as you wish – six months, one year. You can put what you use in school. The backpack may include school supplies such as pens, pencils, pencil sharpeners, crayons, scissors, bound notebooks [loose paper is not used in
RW SL would like to encourage partnerships with schools/classes for this initiative. Individual contributions are most welcome too. The 5000 backpacks will be distributed to children to have new school supplies and a backpack for the new school term. Rotary Regency will directly hand over these backpacks to the most needy children of the South, East, and north of the country. At present, Rotary Regency is working with the Ministry of Education of
If anyone is interested in participating in this initiative, please contact Imalka Senadhira in the
Note by Harsha: Imalka had sent me a detailed document which I am unable to load on the blog, so please email her or Chamila at firstname.lastname@example.org for same.
20 January 2005
Read Write Sri Lanka donations now tax deductible in the US
Please send an e-mail confirming donations to email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org, along with any preference for how the funds should be spent, and your full name and address. This will enable us to track of your donations and keep you informed about our progress and how the money is being spent.Contributions can be made in any of the following ways:
By cheque: Please make cheques out to SLAGW, with “Rotary Regency - Read Write Sri Lanka” in the memo line. Mail cheques to SLAGW,
By bank transfer: Please send bank transfers to account of SLAGW, Chevy Chase Bank,
By credit card: A credit card portal will soon be inaugurated at www.slawdc.com on
In Kind: Please contact Imalka Senadhira in the
Direct Donations: If you want to send to
3 February 2005
Cuddles for our children all the way from Alaska!
"I am writing to you from Badger Road Elementary, North Pole,
Mrs Billie Murdoch
Badger Road Elementary School, North Pole, Alaska
Thank you Mrs Murdoch and all the kids for keeping our world a small place.
10 February 2005
Rebecca wants to help Read Write Sri Lanka
Rebecca Borjs, the 11 year old girl who made the headlines in Sri Lankan news papers with her generous donation of USD 5.00 is all excited to help raise funds and backpacks for Read Write
Her letter said, "I was delighted to see your letter and to hear about your wonderful contribution, in the
Imalka had a call from Rebecca's mother soon after she received the letter and said how excited they all were to receive it! She received the letter in school and was able to read in front of her whole class! She now, wants to get her school involved in RWSL
Daily Mirror, 1 Feb., 2005
Amidst world funds for tsunami relief being talked of in millions and billions it was touching to see that concerned little children were also making contributions in a small way.
After all little drops of water make the mighty ocean. The People's Bank received this heart-warming letter from an eleven-year-old girl from the
Daily Mirror 8 Feb, 2005
Former Air Force Commander, now a peace activist
"…I will undertake to take the two of you to whichever devastated area(s) you wish to travel to see things for yourselves and to interact with affected parents or children, if you so desire," Air Vice Marshall Goonetileke said in a letter to 11-year-old Rebecca Berjas.
In a letter to
You do not know who I am, nor, as to how much I was touched by your great contribution of $5.00, which was received by a bank here and sent to the 'Daily Mirror' newspaper, a leading English daily in Sri Lanka, to acknowledge with thanks. I suppose this has been done by now, as I read the details in a front page article of their newspaper of
I think, just a big thank you alone is not enough for your thoughtful and spontaneous gesture, which I believe came from the bottom of your heart to help in some way to bring relief to at least one person/child affected by the massive tsunami tragedy that hit our country in living memory. The best way to describe it is the possible dubious world record we held for the biggest single train tragedy where more than 1,200 perished when the whole train was swept away from its rail rack by the merciless waves, in only one place down south approx. 50 miles from
Now, I believe that your grand gesture must be better appreciated. Hence, I invite you and your Mum or a Guardian to be my guest in Colombo for about 10 to 14 days where I will undertake to take the two of you whichever devastated area(s) you wish to travel to see things for yourselves and to interact with afffected parents/children, if you so desire.
All you have to bring is the required clothing, for I will take over both of you (or even three) at the
If you can make it, our embassy in your country could be helpful to plan your itinerary although I can do it myself given the green light by you. As for dates, since you have school, I suggest any period before 13th April or after 16t April, 2005 but before our monsoon in October.
I think your only problem might be the cost of return air passages. Here, I would like to think that I may be able to find you a part of the money if the greater part for the two of you could be found at your end but I need to hear from you soon if this is necessary, so that I can approach some of my friends.
In the meantime, here’s me, my wife, children and grandchildren (7) wishing you, your Mom and Dad good luck and happy 'landings' in your habitat.Affectionately Yours,