Sri Lanka: March 2010 – RYTHM Foundation has provided support for the Foundation of Goodness since April 2009 with a US$ 50,000 grant. The Foundation of Goodness manages 30 sectors delivering work across the South of Sri Lanka and beyond, including healthcare, education, employability and enterprise, women’s empowerment and village infrastructure development. The sectors funded by RYTHM Foundation are the Preschool, Computer Training, Village Heartbeat Project, English Teaching and Children’s Goodness Clubs.
Key to FOG’s work is the provision of children’s services. This includes the facilities at the Seenigama MCC Centre of Excellence designed to prepare children for formal schooling by teaching them vital skills in pre-school and the English and IT classes. The emotional well-being and community spirit of children and youth are developed through the Children’s Goodness Clubs, which aim to inculcate the spirit of goodness and teach rural children to ‘be good, do good’. In addition, FOG supports the infrastructure needed to give children the best chance in life through the Village Heartbeat Project, which includes women’s empowerment, a library, English and IT classes and a Children’s Goodness Club in the village of Udumulla. Work has been progressing well over the last year, since the RYTHM Foundation joined as a sustainability sponsor for the children’s development sectors.
The preschool serves 63 under privileged kids aged 3 to 5 with high quality daily classes taught by 4 preschool teachers. Children are provided with free meals, a playground and essential school items. Children also benefit from other services supplied by the Foundation of Goodness, including regular dental and health checks at the Medicare Centre, parents’ workshops with the Rebuilding Lives Psycho-Social Support Team and the contributions of volunteers from around the world. The preschool is the first of its kind to be established in a rural village and serves as a model in the region, with an emphasis on learning English, free of cost.
The high standards of IT training continue to provide new skills and opportunities for rural youth at the MCC Centre of Excellence Computer Training Centre. 3-month diplomas in computer science, Introduction to IT for children, Graphic Design and Web Design are very popular and attract students from villages across the South coast. All courses are provided free of costs and provide students with a graduation certificate that they can also use for future job applications.
This is an essential facility for rural children and youth. English teaching is provided to age groups 5 and up and it includes an adult class, a diving school class and a Foundation of Goodness staff class. There has been an expansion of activity over the last six months, with two new teachers being recruited. Classes are provided free of cost and continue to improve in quality and consistency. A syllabus is being developed and exams are now used to place students in classes according to ability rather than age. Progress is monitored through regular spot tests and students are encouraged to give feedback on their experiences in the classroom through evaluation forms that are used to continually improve the service.
Children’s Goodness Clubs
It has been a busy year for the three Children’s Goodness Clubs, which are based in the neighbouring villages of Seenigama, Werallana and Udumulla. The Children’s Goodness Clubs aim to inculcate the spirit of goodness into local children, encouraging them to ‘be good and do good’, to help their parents, families, community and country through kindness, compassion, humility and thoughtfulness. The children organise and take part in events throughout the year, which include observation of religious festivals and cultural events, helping others through community aid work, alms giving and environmental projects. The children also have the opportunity to take part in classes through the Foundation of Goodness such as IT Training, English and also Announcing, in which many young people are beginning to excel.
Village Heartbeat Project, Udumulla
The Village Heartbeat in Udumulla is an innovative community development project that was launched in 2007 to empower and uplift the lives of impoverished rural people. The Centre is designed to provide poverty alleviation activities and children’s development for the whole village and actually provides for the needs of 10 villages in the surrounding area. Particular emphasis is placed on women’s empowerment and the promotion of positive activities to bring the community back together after the tsunami and to promote a bright future for the villages’ children.