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A new Village Heartbeat Centre opens in Moneragala

The Foundation of Goodness had the privilege of opening a third Village Heartbeat Project Centre in Hingurukaduwa, Moneragala on the 8th of October, 2014.

When the Village Heartbeat Project concept was first introduced, FoG Founder/ Chief Trustee Kushil Gunasekera dreamt of establishing centres in rural villages all across the island. The Heartbeat Centres in Udumulla and Rathgama were established to allow rural youth, children and women to have access to the FoG’s most essential free of cost services even though they lived too far from the MCC Centre of Excellence in Seenigama to travel there for regular visits.

The Heartbeat Project acts as the nerve centre of the village, giving members of underprivileged rural communities access to skills that will enable them to develop to their full potential. The centre provides opportunities that would otherwise not have been available due to lack of proper resources. All VHP centres include a library, children’s educational courses, women’s empowerment programmes and children’s/ youth activities.

The Moneragala VHP was set up in partnership with Mr. Janaka Srimal and the Lak Aruna Foundation who are responsible for facilitating all activities at this Centre. The centre will provide free of cost dress making, English, maths, science, computer, music and dancing classes with the hope of introducing a photography course in due time. Other activities which will take place here include establishing a Children’s Goodness Club, home garden and library. The Moneragala VHP Team Leaders Anoja and Prasadika who will carry out an administrator and supervisory role were brought to the VHP in Rathgama where they received a thorough training about the ins and outs of running a VHP Centre, and were able to benefit from the prior experience and insight of the Rathgama team who have been running their centre since 2010.

We were able to establish the Moneragala VHP because of the generosity and sponsorship of Mr. Sunil Malawana who came on board with us for this project because of his own passion for improving the livelihoods and living standards of rural and poverty stricken villagers. He is a staunch believer in giving everyone a chance to succeed, and during his speech at the opening of the centre, he mentioned how Elvis Presley himself was turned down from audition after audition until he was finally discovered because they had faith in him. This need to recognize skills and talents that lie dormant within everyone is essential in helping them develop successful careers that will help those trapped in a circle of poverty to escape the circumstances of their birth. He also mentioned that of the 14 community development initiatives that he has been a part of, this has been the best.

The Foundation of Goodness is enthusiastic about the staff in charge of the centre as they are an energetic and enthusiastic group. Team members Sumedha, Sandaruwan, Anoja and Prasadika worked tirelessly in the lead up to the opening to have the centre ready for the big day. The teachers coordinating the courses have the vision and drive needed to take their students far. The music teacher explained that she took special notice of all her students’ talents on the very first day, and that her aim was to prepare them for district level competitions.

A parent of one of the young beneficiaries gave a heartfelt speech noting the importance of having more centres like this which give their children so many opportunities. ‘It is far more valuable to the community to have an institution like this than to build temples and churches,’ he said.

Founder of Lak Aruna Foundation, Mr. Janaka Srimal looked back on how he first began this operation when they did not even have their own building and he worked in his garage, using a single computer to teach IT to about 5 students. When they finally constructed a building, they had no sponsors and the facility did not even have a single chair. Now, they have a library, computer room, proper classrooms for the kids and sewing machines for the women’s empowerment courses.

FoG sector head Fazana spoke about the importance of establishing an excellent Children’s Goodness Club so the children could ‘do good, and be good’. She stressed on the difference between mischief and bad behavior, reminiscing about a young boy from the Rathgama CGC who’s mother handed him over with the statement that he was really naughty, but during a kite competition when his kite got entangled with another boys, he offered to have his own string cut so that the other boy could continue to compete.

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We extend our most sincere thanks to everyone who sponsored, partnered and work tirelessly alongside us to successfully launch this VHP project, and through it, we hope to uplift countless lives in Moneragala in the coming years.

 

21st October 2014

 


 

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