By Faye Holahan,
Head of Fundraising
In early May, my colleague Quenelda and I touched down in Colombo, Sri Lanka. This was our first time in this beautiful country and my first visit to a ChildFund New Zealand project. After meeting our colleagues at ChildFund Sri Lanka, we set off on an eight-hour journey across to the east side of the island, to Batticaloa, our dedicated project area.
Accompanied by the local team, we spent the next four days visiting ChildFund projects, to see the difference being made by the generous donations from New Zealand donors, to ensure standards are being met and that our Roadmap to sustainability is being followed.
A particular highlight of the trip for me was meeting a group of “Lead Mothers” who have received training in child-related topics such as nutrition, pregnancy and good hygiene practices. These mothers have been carefully selected from the local community and volunteer their time to help and train other local mothers give their children the best start to life.
They are well respected in the community and have seen dramatic results, including reduced sickness, improved school attendance and they’ve even changed local eating habits to the point that food vendors have stopped selling their unhealthy produce in the local village. This means, children are now eating more nutritious and safer food than ever before!
“Nandri” which means thank you in Tamil (the local language) was all I kept hearing throughout my time in Batticaloa, especially when I met sponsored children and their families and heard about the huge difference child sponsorship is making to their lives and their local community. It was heart-warming to hear the excitement from the children as they received letters or cards from their sponsors.
These communities are truly grateful for all the support they receive, so on behalf of the families and children I met on this trip, Nandri to all the sponsors and donors making a difference in their lives.
I can’t wait to get back to this wonderful place!