In rural Sri Lanka, many villagers struggle to gain qualifications that will enable them to develop their professional careers, which is why the Foundation of Goodness NGO is providing holistic opportunities with a unique model.
On 1 July this year in the central Sri Lankan region Bindunuwewa - Bandarawela, the Foundation of Goodness opened its tenth Village Heartbeat Empowerment Centre. The Foundation of Goodness is a unique holistic rural community initiative which encompasses 30 empowerment activity sectors that serves an impressive 15,000 children from over 300 villages every month, at no cost.
At the heart of these centres is a mission to empower disadvantaged villagers, by supporting them with English and IT training which can open up career opportunities and enhance socio-economic mobility, essentially breaking the cycle of poverty they are trapped in.
Their programmes cover areas such as life skills, medical and psycho-social support, housing, dental hygiene, arts and multimedia, volunteer management, vocational training and sports development -all aimed at closing the disparity between urban and rural communities.
A staff member helping to run the new centre said:
“By harnessing the talent and skills of the disadvantaged in rural areas, this initiative believes strongly in the centres’ ability to alleviate poverty and improve living standards for those who would not otherwise have them. Over the years we have seen incredible progress being made by children and women in particular who are the most affected by social inequalities.”
English Language workshop Moneragala VHE Centre
“This initiative, we believe, is an ideal solution to alleviate poverty elevating their standards, harnessing the rural talent and skill of the disadvantaged to make better progress as we have experienced in the last decade where kids, youth and women have accomplished amazing feats.”
To facilitate these Centres, generous families have donated ancestral property, such as Sri Lankan cricketer Sidath Wettimuny who enabled the opening of the Bandarawela branch.
The Foundation of Goodness itself was established in 1999 and has worked extensively following the 2004 tsunami that devastated the lives of thousands of Sri Lankans, to develop a one-of-a-kind holistic rural community model.
Following years of civil war conflict, the charity extended its development activities to the post-war North and East of Sri Lanka and has been working in the North since January 2011, reaching over 39,000 beneficiaries to date through ongoing projects that have built the infrastructure needed to sustain and develop the programmes.
CCTV Repair and Maintenance class - Oddusuddan
Speaking of his experience at the Oddusuddan Village Heartbeat Empowerment Centre, Mobile Phone Repair and Maintenance and CCTV Installation Course Graduate Victor Jayamany commented:
“After graduating from the self-employment courses at the Oddusuddan Village Heartbeat Empowerment Centre I was able to get a job as a Mobile & CCTV Technician in Mullaitivu in Northern Sri Lanka. Now I earn a very good basic salary plus commission and am very happy to have received this work opportunity. My father passed away during the war and my family is very poor so this opportunity is very helpful for my whole family.”
To find out more about the Foundation of Goodness’ projects, visit www.unconditionalcompassion.org