Xinxin's Blog

Smiling Angels

Aug 1 – 4, 2009, MCC, Matara

The 4th week I came down to Sri Lanka’s south point Matara. South of Matara District is the fishery area by the beautiful India Ocean, and was caught in the tsunami; north of it is tea plantation mountain area, rich in natural scenery yet poor lives.

I was introduced to INDECOS, an NGO dedicated to community development since 1991. It was thrilled to go over the 69 projects they have completed during the 18 years, and I thought, “what an accomplishment!” As I will have the last 2 weeks working in their headquarter, I may write about it later. Here is MCC show time, Matara Children Centre managed by INDECOS.

Photos 15&16: They are happy here.

It was of immense pleasure working here. 20 lovable sweet cute adorable lovely (…) preschool children come to school every morning. Some 20-30 high school students come in the afternoon for skills training. Filled with kids and young people, the centre is full of passion and joy!

Photos 17&18: Preschool children showed me their masterpieces! Very creative work!!

MCC is a place for children from marginalized, low-income families in Matara. Funded by the Swedish Friends of Children in Sri Lanka (SFCSL), she is now providing free pre-school for 20 children; free skills training, namely computer, English, dancing, music and cookery, for 180 students; scholarship for 104 poor students; and other education programs for low-income families in Matara.

Photo 19: A girl granted scholarship whose father died, and lives in a small house with her mom and 4 younger brothers and sisters.

Photo 20: Computer classes. There are 10 computers in the Centre.

I had a close look at MCC’s scholarship program, from the budget to each student’s profile. The first impression was that it looks exactly like a “Givology profile”! These students were selected through formal procedure by MCC staff. They were firstly recommended by school principles. Then interviews and house visits were conducted by MCC. Face-to-face communication is a priority in MCC programs. Here they guarantee visits to each house, talk to the students and their respective families, not only at the selection process but also throughout the program; they review students’ study and other problems on a regular basis, as well as talk to teachers for updates. Narmada and Rasika are field coordinators. These ladies are so familiar with each student and their family members, “my students” is what they call them.

The program started in 2005 with 10 students funded by SFCSL, and has supported 65 students through the years, now 60 students are benefiting (while 5 are not likely to continue study) from SFCSL funds and another 39 are sponsored by Japanese, Canadian and Australians, mostly volunteer families. From Grade 8 or 9, students are granted SLR600 ($5.23) each month until finishing A-level (Grade 13), or until they decide not to continue study. 600 Rupees is far from enough, but it made a difference; MCC is longing for more funds.

Photos 21&22: Little flowers!

They are also hoping to have volunteers coming to teach English on a regular basis. Anyone interested in forming a Go to Sri Lanka group? :-P I’m 100% supporting it!

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