On April 21, 2019, Easter Sunday, three churches and three hotels were targeted in a series of bombings in Sri Lanka. This project is helping to rebuild lives by showering love through education and community on many who have lost what is most dear to them: family, friends, homes, and an everyday sense of security and hope. | October, 2019 – Sri Lanka
Nearly 300 people died in the Easter Sunday bombing, and lives were devastated by the destruction and trauma that followed. Now, nearly six months later, families and children are still struggling to put the pieces of their lives back together, with extremely limited access to necessary resources, support services, and infrastructure.
We invited our community to join us and reach out “with love towards our kin” (translated “parapurata premayen” in Sinhalese, the primary language spoken in Sri Lanka). And, boy, did y’all show up and standTALL with generosity! We hit our goal, together, and $4,000 was given!
Here is the story of *our* incredible endeavor.
UPDATE (January, 2021) …
We began our scholarship / support of Dinithi in 2019 (grade 4), whose father passed away in the Easter Bombing attacks in Sri Lanka. Dinithi and her mother were very much struggling to make ends meet and were deeply grateful for the support. Our Seeds community’s sponsorship will pay for Dinithi’s school until grade 13 through Educate Lanka‘s Scholarship Program.
She wants to be a teacher, loves to dance, and is bubbly and creative. Currently, she’s in grade 5 at a very good school: Ave Maria Convent. In December 2020, she shared this drawing with us – it is about COVID.
As of December, 2020, Dinithi’s district (Negombo) has been severely impacted (relative to Sri Lanka) by COVID, and is largely under a lockdown. Educate Lanka has had some trouble with their distributions and other operations, but they’re disbursing scholarships remotely as much as possible and have put other programs activities on hold until the situation allows them to do more. Please see here for a commitment they made to their community and post-COVID future and also a recent update on their remote scholarship distributions under COVID.
Other Seeds community funds were used to support the Global Citizenship Seminar (pictures here and press release here). More about the 2nd annual “Global Citizenship Seminar” held in Kandy, Sri Lanka, in which Educate Lanka earmarked a number of Easter Scholars (from the 1st batch) to attend as the curriculum, exposure, and training were crucial for them from a psychological and social and emotional standpoint.
The remaining Seeds funding will be likely be used to sponsor one of the 13 other students who lost their parent(s) from the Easter attacks amid great difficulty given the circumstances of this year. We’ve left this to the discretion of the Educate Lanka team and we’ll share any updates here.
WHY this MATTERS to ME …
My soul sistah Nilmini Senanayake Hecox was born in Sri Lanka. She and I have been friends since we were beautyFULLY blessed to meet, with our then baby girls in our arms, at our neighborhood library, nearly fourteen years ago. Even then, we were drawn to the circling up as a community … and we’ve never stopped.
Over the years, we’ve often collaborated on community projects that matter to us. And, thus, I know this firsthand: Nilmini is a fiercely compassionate and committed sistah. She’s straddled the globe with grace and grit, with one foot firmly planted in her birthplace of Sri Lanka, where most of her family still lives, and one foot here in her home in the United States. I am honored to share her, her family and community, and this fundraising endeavor with you.
I feel a deep sense of grief for everyone who was lost, hurt and impacted by the explosions and for my beautiful country. My heart broke that day, and so did many others. Now more than ever, those who are trying to rebuild need to feel our love and support from the other side of the world.
A true act of love is reaching out to those in need in our global community. This knits us all closer to one another, heart to heart, like family. No matter where we are in the world, we can act from a place of love towards our next generation. We have the power to make a lasting impact on the lives of my people in Sri Lanka. Please join me in honoring the lives lost, and generously making a meaningful gift that will change lives. Let’s do this! (translation in Sinhalese Api Meka Karamu!). -Nilmini Senanayake Hecox
WHY this MATTERS …
Funds raised in this campaign will be allocated for long term education sponsorship for children of victim families through scholarships and for psycho-social program support. Through sustained wraparound services that ensure the care of both their minds, and their hearts, this project will provide these kids with hope and send a clear message that people from around the world do care about them.
We are excited to be partnering with Educate Lanka . A non-profit organization in the United States and a charity registered in Sri Lanka, this is a globally grassroots organization with “boots on the ground” – =a win-win for all!
Thanks to a match from a wildly generous donor, the $2,000 given by our community was doubled, resulting in $4,000. When I asked why our donor chose to match this month, this was their reply:
These types of tragic incidents are sadly a continuing presence in our world. I will admit that when they touch us directly or those to whom we are very close, it sparks more of an impulse to act. This island, on the other side of the world and a place where we have never even been, is inextricably a part of us, because of Nilmini and her family. This is probably the simple explanation or reason why we chose to step up as a matching donor. Our challenge going forward is being open and responsive all the time. We all wish this type of thing never happens at all, but we are incredibly blessed to be able to deliver even the slightest positive impact from our donation, in light of the horrific circumstances. It’s as simple as that!
CREATIVE ways to CONTINUE to support this organization …
- DONATE HERE. A few creative ideas for GIVING: ASK FOR A DONATION to be made as a gift for your next birthday … GIVE a gift in honor of someone you love for an upcoming holiday or celebration. FORM A TEAM on Facebook or GoFundMe and raise funds for a special occasion or celebration in your life … or just because you want to!
- CONNECT WITH, follow, and friend our team: Educate Lanka: Website | Facebook | Insta | Twitter | YouTube
- VOLUNTEER! Educate Lanka provides a platform not just to donate, but to get involved in many ways. Volunteer your time or contribute your skills and strengths remotely to add value to their mission; visit Sri Lanka and spend a week or 6 months working with them, send your children or refer someone else who might be a fit to get a global cross-cultural experience working on the ground and understanding what working at the grassroots looks like.
- SHARE! Send this link to 5 PEOPLE passionate about making a difference locally and globally, together. Let’s EXPAND this organization’s connections.
WATCH – Be informed, inspired, and ignited …
Check out the video replays of our incredible storytellers who each were a part of this month’s Seeds Fundraising Partnership.
- Weaving difference-making into work with Liz Tracy | USA
- Why Nilmini Senanayake Hecox is showering Easter bombing survivors with love | Sri Lanka
- 2 incredible kids speak on compassion, culture, and inspired action: Priya and Meneka Hecox | USA & Sri Lanka
- Turning adversity into opportunity for others: Manjula Dissanayake | Sri Lanka
Videos of the extraordinary and ongoing work of Educate Lanka.
JOIN US as an EVERYDAY PHILANTHROPIST …
As part of our call to all to be an everyday philanthropist, each month I spotlight a project or program in the world. Our partner’s focus is in at least one of these five categories: human rights, education, health, community emergencies, and art-activism. I am blessed with a huge pool of changemakers in my community – so there is never a lack of trusted organizations with whom to partner.
This sort of “everyday philanthropy” is about an unrestrained generosity rooted in the reality of your everyday life. Generosity feels good. It is part of your purpose on the planet. It finds ways to share with others the treasure trove of whatever you have and whatever you love. It makes a difference with your small and large acts alike … living with a commitment and connection to your sisters and brothers near and far. Explore and discover your unique – right here and now – calling to be an everyday philanthropist today.
I get it: These stories and the very invitation to give and to BE philanthropists isn’t always comfortable. Or easy. Sometimes it’s the world’s pain pricking our hearts that wakes us up to see – and say yes! – to our destiny.
So, today and together, let’s dispute the suggestion that philanthropy is an exclusive club only for those deemed wealthy. Today and together, let’s dispute that the only thing that matters and makes a difference is giving in “big” ways. The movement that will be unleashed when we live as generously unrestrained philanthropists WILL light up the world.
You are loved.
We belong to each other.
Let’s standTALL together and light up the world!
xo, -Sarah Davison-Tracy, Seeds of Exchange