Saturday, 17 May 2008

Community Centre Opens at OI Sri Lanka - 1000+ Attend!

Below is a complete copy of today's newsletter by OIWW ( )

Community Center Opens at OI Sri Lanka – 1,000+ Attend!
More than 1,000 guests – including over 400 children – turned out for the May 2 Opening of the Kathaluwa Life Skills & Educational Centre.
Ribbon cutting ceremonies were held at both of the campuses’ two buildings, the Centre and Holland House Pre-School.
The ceremony was MC’d in flawless English by our students of the Centre who have only studied the language since December, under the excellent tutelage of Mrs. Vasanthy Manickam.
Each of the Kathaluwa Group leaders spoke, children of all ages presented song and dance, Jim Luce and John Lee spoke – John stopping the crowd with his entire presentation in Sinhala (“Sri Lankan”) – and Dutch volunteers joined the children in the finale, dancing to OI’s traditional “We Are The World.”
The Centre was built with funds contributed by Giorgio Armani and Donna Karan. The Kathaluwa Group leadership includes Ms. Sumi Moonesinghe, Ms. Sharmini Mathew, and Mr. Maithri Gunathratne.
The Centre, opened since September 2007, supports 350 village children impacted by the Tsunami who are in Family Care. Their extended families receive a monthly stipend for their education and nutrition, and half the funds will be available as micro-loans when they graduate.
The Centre boasts a computer lab, sewing machine training, and English instruction. It will soon have a health clinic and vocational training program for the hospitality industry so important to this island nation off the coast of India.
OI Global Officer Indika Bandera and local director Buddika Bandera helped enormously to make the Opening happen.