A Recap of 2013

The Foundation of Goodness hardly had a minute to spare during the amazing year that was 2013. A quick look back at the highlights of the year attempts to bring together the most outstanding moments we experienced, some of which were a testament to the enduring nature of our projects while others expanded the horizons of our work further than we could ever have hoped for.

In January, we completed the Essential School Supplies Pack deliveries for the 2013 school year by distributing 2,553 school packs to students in the North, South, East, West and Central regions of Sri Lanka. The Rebuilding Lives Project Psycho Social Team also attended a ‘working with children’ workshop with FoG volunteer Caroline.

February was a big sporting month for FoG. The Sports Academy swimmers performed brilliantly at the All Island Aquatic Sports Novices Swimming Championship. Jayaruwan Wijesiri, brother of FoG triathlete Lakruwan, placed first in U19 50m Breast Stroke, U19 200m Individual Medley and U19 50m Butterfly. Mandira Charuni and Tharani Haripriya from the FoG Netball team were selected for the National U12 Netball Squad. Attending the 3rd Dhamso International Chess Festival, little Nethmi Dilanya from FoG bagged the position of U8 Overall Champion while Sasika Goyumi became the U12 Overall Runner-Up.

March was a fun filled month for the pre-schoolers with the introduction of a mini-library exclusively for their use and the annual outing sponsored by the Hat Foundation. Over at the Sports Academy, the visiting Scotland Cricket Academy U19 Squad conducted a coaching workshop for the FoG players.

In April, the Foundation organized physiotherapy clinics in the North and South with the help of volunteer Aravinth Nallathamby who treated civilians, soldiers and ex-combatants. An asthma clinic was also held in Seenigama along with the distribution of respirators and instructions on how to use them.

New Hall College from the UK also visited us in April to play a friendly match with the FoG Sports Academy team and donated various items including 10 brand new HP computers towards improving the IT Centre.

The month of May brought a lot of activity to the North. The first phase of the Neethipuram Village Water and Sanitation Project was completed when 50 newly constructed out-house toilets were handed over to the villagers. The opening ceremony for the Neethipuram Pre-School was also held this month with the school building upgraded from a semi-open shed into a sturdy building with a storage room and play area.

The very first graduation ceremony was held at the Oddusuddan IT Centre, an empowerment initiative by the FoG and sponsored by the American Centre Youth Empowerment Grant.

June meant the Lahiru Pre-School celebrated its 7th anniversary while the Children’s Goodness Club held a goodwill poster competition.

In July, the Foundation of Goodness had the great fortune of hosting the very first international school boy cricket match to be played in the North of Sri Lanka with the help of long standing FoG supporter Mr. David Cruse. Melbourne’s Ferntree Gully District Cricket Association and Australian Hellenic Federation combined team took on the combined North and East U17 team from Sri Lanka in the charged atmosphere of the Kilinochchi Central College grounds which was filled to the brim with cheering spectators. The day ended in a brilliant win for the young Sri Lankans and some wonderful experiences for the sporting Aussies who had raised funds for bicycles which they presented to the Sri Lankan team players at the end of the match in a true gesture of great sportsmanship.

In August, we welcomed two amazing groups to Seenigama; The Cartwheel Initiative and the South Asia Youth Leadership Summit (SAYS). The Cartwheel Initiative is a team of professional artists who help young people find empowerment and heal through the artistic activities and creative expression. Over an 8 day workshop, they brought together 23 kids from the North and South of Sri Lanka who worked on music, animation and photography projects under the theme ‘I Have a Voice’. The Cartwheel legacy still lives on through the photography club and animation classes which were initiated at the completion of their project and continues to impact the lives of many children even today.

The SAYS programme saw 18 enthusiastic youngsters from Pittsburg U.S.A. arrive in Seenigama excited at the prospect of 10 amazing days getting to know Sri Lanka. During their time here, the kids explored Galle and its surroundings, attended seminars and interacted with various FoG run sectors as they learnt more about community aid work in Sri Lanka. They also spent some time at the Sports Academy and mingled with the kids from the North and South attending the Cartwheel Workshop.

In September, we were delighted by the 5-11 year olds at British School, Colombo who organized a Skipathon to raise funds for charity. This was also the month when Cricket Seenigama, the FoG Sports Academy team emerged the Division III Southern District Cricket Champions. We were also delighted to begin monthly oral and dental care programmes for local kids with the help of 12 year old Sonali Ranaweera and Recycling4Smiles, the organization founded by her to provide dental care for children around the world with the help of money raised through recycling.

We were also thrilled to celebrate with FoG triathlete Lakruwan Wijesiri, who having reigned over his competition for years at Sri Lankan triathlons first tested his skills out in the international arena. Attending the Cold Storage Singapore International Triathlon 2013, he made us all proud by placing 3rd overall. We wish Lakruwan all the very best as he gears up to take on even more triathletes from the international arena in the years to come.

In October, FoG’s Lahiru Pre-schoolers were delighted with the opening of a brand new computer lab room with the help of Rotary Club, Colombo West and with the help of KPMG; we handed over two newly completed libraries to schools in Ramanathapuram and Vattapalai in the North.

The Foundation was also honored by a visit from West Indian opening batsman Kieran Powell who conducted a Star Search Program to distinguish talented young cricketers from the region and presented scholarships and cricket gear to the ten most promising sportsmen. During the course of the month, FoG also presented 24 bikes to rehabilitated and reintegrated beneficiaries from the Bureau of the Commissioner General of Rehabilitation in Trincomalee.

November signaled the long year was fast drawing to an end but for the FoG, it only meant the momentum which was steadily gaining throughout the year cranked up all the way to frenetic. Four of FoG’s most high profile events for the year all took place in this month, sometimes within days of each other and at other times even overlapping.

The 1st of November was the inaugural day of both the Murali Harmony Cup 2013 and Beefy’s Big Sri Lanka Walk. For the second consecutive year the Foundation of Goodness in partnership with Red Dot Tours had the honor of hosting the Murali Harmony Cup across 5 venues in the North. Over a period of 5 days, matches were played in Vavuniya, Mankulam, Oddusuddan, Kilinochchi and Jaffna during which time, 12 U19 boys teams and 8 U23 ladies teams from around the island battled it out for the championship trophy and St.Peter’s College emerged champions for the second year running, while the Shakthi Ladies who were runners up last year finally took home the trophy. The event was attended by Sri Lankan cricketing greats Muttiah Muralidaran, Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardena.

Beefy’s Big Sri Lanka Walk saw Sir Ian Botham and his crew walk tirelessly for close to 40 km every day over 8 days during which time the covered distances from Kilinochchi to Mankulam, Anuradhapura to Mihintale, Sigiriya to Dambulla, Kandy to Pinnawala, Colombo, Tangalle, Matara to Galle and finally Galle to Seenigama. During the course of his track, he was joined by sporting legends such as Sourav Ganguly, Sunil Gavaskar, Steve Waugh, Allan Border, Morné Du Plessis and of course Sanga, Mahela and Murali from our own board of trustees.

Morné Du Plessis and the delegation from Laureus also took this opportunity to present an award to Hakkini Hasanga, the 13 year old swimmer from the FoG Sports Academy who won the Laureus IWC International Art Competition. Hakkini was the 3rd participant from FoG to have won this honor in the competition’s five year history.

And yet, November was far from over. MCC Centre of Excellence in Seenigama was honored to welcome a delegation from the Commonwealth Heads Of Government Meeting which was held in Sri Lanka, and later, a Unity Team made of the best talent to come out of the Murali Cup had the honor of meeting with British PM David Cameron in an event hosted by Murali and the Foundation of Goodness.

The last weeks of the month had still more excitement in store, as with much joy and fanfare we announced Dive Seenigama, Dive Lanka open for business. A dive tourism venture meant to be a sustainable income generation venture to help the costs of the Seenigama Diving & Training Centre, Dive Seenigama, Dive Lanka is all about ethical diving which protects local ocean life and develops the local community all at once. Be sure to drop in if you pass through Seenigama and dive for good!

December brought the 9th anniversary of the Boxing Day Indian Ocean Tsunami and it heralded the beginning of Essential School Supplies Package distribution for the 2014 school year. 1008 Nokero Solar Power bulbs were distributed to students in the North who do not have access to electricity. With the help of the Foundation and our generous donors Triathlete Lakruwan Wijesiri visited Singapore for 3 weeks of professional training with coaches from Metasport to develop his skills. Last but certainly not least, FoG trustees Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardena were celebrity guests on Sri Lanka’s ‘Who Wants To Be A Millionaire’ where they played for charity and pledged the 1 million rupees they won on the show to the Foundation of Goodness.

As we round off what has been an amazing year for the Foundation of Goodness, we salute our amazing staff, wonderful donors & supporters and brilliant volunteers who came together to make this such a successful year for us which allowed us to help more and more people every day. We look forward with great anticipation to the coming year so that we can do even more!

13th January 2014

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