Supporting projects in Sri Lanka

David Pipe, author, writer novelist, Sacrificing Starlight, Henry's Tale - UK, Germany

We’ve been visiting Sri Lanka for Ayurveda treatments for about twenty years, mostly over the Christmas period to avoid the European winter. Occasionally, we’d go to other places. In 2004 we decided to go to Western Australia instead of to Paragon, our Ayurveda oasis close to Galle on the South coast of Sri Lanka.

On December 26, 2004 the Sumatra-Andaman earthquake occurred setting off a series of massive tsunamis.

We were travelling down the West coast of Australia from Perth to Margaret River when our mobile phones pinged and pinged again. Messages from home. Where were we? Were we OK?

Paragon stands on the coast with a beautiful garden full of palm trees and a lagoon which protects bathers from the tides.

A tsunami rolled over the coast killing people in the hotel and further inland. In the Galle region there were more than 39,000 victims. People lost family, friends, neighbours, and their livelihoods.

When we eventually returned to Sri Lanka our Ayurveda advisor, Dr. Buddhike, had with the support of the Paragon management, set up a charity, Sahana Seva, to support the children of families who had lost almost everything, later an orphanage in Galle.

We now have seven ‘godchildren’ from three families. Our first who was five when we started is now 19.

Today it’s Covid which prevents us from visiting our friends and their children. The virus is rampant on the island. The lockdowns also prevent the parents from working. One father is a tuktuk driver, one a watchman at a factory and one mother makes simple clothes to sell locally. The support we provide now buys food and in one case medicines for the families as well as the extracurricular needs of the children.

When we were small, mobile libraries came to our villages. Books opened the doors to new and fascinating worlds. In Sri Lanka children go to Sunday school in their temple. In Dr Buddhike’s local temple there were no books. Long ago storytellers went from village to village and mesmerized their listeners with fantastic tales. Today, we can’t imagine a world without books.

Together with Dr. Buddhike we have set up a small library in the Kettarama temple for children. Since there is always nearly 100% humidity the first requirement was for special cupboards…and then the books.

We hope we will be able to visit our friends again soon but until then will continue to support them and the development of the library and other projects from here.

February 5th, 2023

Once again our friend Dr Buddhike and his son Saviru have been busy helping where they can.

Each year we support a blood donation camp and which aims to collect one hundred pints of blood for the transfusion service.

With the continuing economic crisis we are still helping our friends with the supply of food to the families we are supporting.

And of course the children. We were able to help eight of the smallest start an education by making available the books they need for school