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STILL WATERS NEWS: MAKING A DIFFERENCE

“I am a slow eater!”

The next project is to build the new home for teenagers. Labour and building costs have escalated at an alarming rate.  The cost of a bag of cement alone has quadrupled in the last two years and we have to revise our budget for this building.  Our professional advisers tell us that we will need £35K. We have already raised just over £15K and are looking for partners to help us get this project off the ground.
Repairs and construction of the access roads and fences are due to be completed in March 2008, thanks to funding from Rotary International. The Water Company has laid a new large main to the Tangalle district and we now have clean drinking water on tap 90% of the time. This is a great relief and we no longer have to pump water from the lagoon and put it through the purification unit before use.

The number of children has remained the same for over a year, but there has been change. We were able to facilitate the return of five children to their extended families and we have received five new children. We received the newest of our family, Ransika, when I was in Tangalle in January. Her single mother is unable to care for her and keep her job at a garment factory working day and night shifts. Ransika was vulnerable and at risk and was referred to our home. She settled in well almost immediately and is now very happy and at home with us.


The new wing to boy’s home

It was a happy day when we opened the new wing to the Boys home.  We added two more bedrooms to the home and a new two-storey wing.  The ground floor includes a small library and study room and the first floor houses the Computer Training Unit.  After six years with us, our nine-year-old minibus was part-exchanged for a much-needed newer and larger bus.  The staff and children are delighted with this new acquisition.

Presentation of a new home

Welcome Dance

Making a difference to children and families in Sri Lanka

Greetings to all our supporters! We are very appreciative of the encouragement and financial support you give to Still Waters.
It is
over eighteen months since our last newsletter and a lot has happened during this period.

Building Houses and supporting Families
The house building programme has continued at a steady pace.  We have completed over sixty houses, and there are another ten being built now. We are building two-bedroom houses for families who have their own land.

There are still some displaced families who require homes, but we have no funds to purchase land. We are seeking funds to be able to buy a small plot of land for these families. It has been a great delight to hand over to families a new brick-built home, and help them to move from the dilapidated sheds which were their homes.

Computers for schools

Supplying computers for schools and providing training support has been an important part of our schools support programme. I was asked to visit Wehella School in a rural community who had received one computer. When I arrived I was greeted by the school  band  who  escorted  me  to  the assembly hall which was full of pupils, parents, Village Councillors and members of the community.

There  followed  a  programme  of  appreciation  which  lasted  for over one and a half hours, with welcome dances,  musical items and many speeches and expressions of thanks from teachers and pupils. The Head Teacher said this was one of the most significant dates in the history of the school,when they were given their first computer. I was overwhelmed by this expression of thanks over the gift of one computer for a school of over 400 children. I was humbled and  moved by their gratitude and I promised to donate another computer to the school.  You  can  imagine  their response to this offer. Computers and computer training are vital to equip children for gainful employment when they leave school. Many schools lost all their equipment in the Tsunami and have no funds to replace the equipment.

We are thankful for funding we received from the Dorchester Rotary Clubs through Rotary International which has enabled us to support schools with the equipment they need.

Supporting Children in Education

Poverty in families results in many children being forced to leave secondary school, before taking either O” or Alevel exams, seeking  employment  to  supplement  the  family  purse.  We  have  a  small  Bursary Fund which is able to help gifted children continue with their education up to “A” level, and consider going on to University.  A small grant of £30 per month  will pay for books, school uniforms and travel expenses for a child. Two stories which illustrate how our gifts can make a real difference:

Pasan comes from a single-parent family. His father died when he was very young. At 16 he is a gifted athlete, who has won many trophies for his school. He won first place in the triple jump in the Southern Province Championship and has been chosen to represent his region in the All-Island competitions.

Sadly,  he was not able compete because he could not afford the running shoes he needed.  I made the need known to Barnet Running Club who were able to get a few second-hand pairs of spikes for Pasan. I was able to take these to Pasan in January. He is delighted and back on track to win many more medals for his school and region.

I think of a girl who was not at school when I visited the family to discuss the support they needed to care for a ten year-old Downs syndrome child.

Thilini,  the  eldest  daughter  was  not  at  her  new  school in January because the family could not afford the Rupees 2,000 for school uniform,  shoes,  books and school bag. I was able to give them the £10 needed for Thilini.  She  phoned  me  later  that  afternoon  with much delight to tell me that she had got all the necessary things and would be at school the next morning.  I learnt  a  week  later that she was the number two pupil in her class. Your gifts do make a significant difference.

Income and employment generation
We are working with several small businesses to help them develop and grow. Many of these are small family businesses which generate just enough money to support the family. In most cases there are over eight to ten persons dependant on the income from the business. Sewandika is a 21 year-old widow, who lost her husband and mother-in-law to the Tsunami. With courage and enterprise she has built up a small grocery shop and supports 6 other members of the family - her parents (both of whom are disabled), three sisters and one brother, all younger than her. We helped to build and stock the shop.

Despite her huge responsibility, she always has a smile for all her customers. Recovery from the effects of Tsunami damage to premises and stock is a long-term challenge. We are working with several businesses giving marketing and financial advice to help them to grow.

We also support widows and single mothers and their children. Small grants to start up small-scale
income generation projects and help with unexpected expenses keep them out of debt. Many families struggle to live on less than a pound a day, and get into debt to unscrupulous money lenders who charge 60% to 70% interest.

There is a great need for a Credit Union-type facility to help families, and I am in discussion with Sri Lankan colleagues with a view to starting a scheme soon. We need start-up capital to get it off the ground, and if anyone is able to help this will be greatly appreciated. I can give you more details.


The Still Waters family

All our plans to increase our numbers are on hold until we get the teenagers’ accommodation built. We hope and pray that it will not be long before we can start on the work.

Those of you who have visited Still Waters will remember Mahinda one of our staff.  Congratulations to him and Anuradha on their marriage in December 2007. They have a small house near the project and are very happy in their life together.



Ranasinghe Hall Project
This project is in  downtown Colombo and  provides a  pre-school playgroup  for 40 children and Day Care service from 7am to 6pm for 60 children six days a week.  This  vital service  was  in danger of being closed for lack of funds. Still Waters stepped in with the offer of funds and supervision of the project.  All the children come from the nearby slum community and the Day Care service enables single mothers to go out to work and keep the family together. We have three dedicated staff, and their salaries have to be subsidised, because the parents can only pay a small sum towards the care.  We need to raise an extra £1,500 per year  to  meet  the  modest  salaries  of  the staff.  We welcome friends who may wish to sponsor the staff.  £500 per year will support one staff member.

All the work we do is directed towards making a difference to people and their future.

We are committed to capacity building within the communities in which we work. Our aim is to help children and adults look to the future with hope and confidence. We work in partnership with community leaders, and encourage everyone to believe in their significance, and take responsibility for their future. We thank God for the staff team and the dedicated service they give.

In addition to the support we have received from our partners, we acknowledge the grants received from Barnabas Fund, Baptist World Aid, Dorchester Rotary Clubs, Barnet Rotary and Rotary International.

Thank you to everyone who supports us with prayers and financial gifts. The cost of caring for a child has risen by over 30% in the last two years and we need to increase our support to meet todays budget. P lease give generously  -  your gifts can and do make a big difference.

Thanks again,

Frederick George

Please send your gifts & requests for further information to:

Pastor Frederick George,

The Still Waters Society,

68 Manor Road,

Barnet, Herts. EN5 2LG

Email: stillwatersbarnet@gmail.com

Tel: +44(0)20 8440 4691

We now have Still Waters T-Shirts to help raise funds. They are available in sizes small, medium, large and extra large and cost £5 each plus p&p. They are selling well so please order some for yourself and friends soon.


“Thank you for our new bus”