and still it rains.....
We have been assured that the dry season is upon us, if this is correct then it's the wettest period of dry we've ever experienced! Lightning follows sun, follows rain, follows sun, follows thunder........
The gods are really moving around up there.
Hopefully you will have noticed that we have developed our website; if you haven't then please take a look - www.theteaproject.org.uk We are really pleased with the results and our thanks go out to Radiant Point Technologies for providing their services and time free of charge. This new home will be enable us to promote The TEA Project more effectively and hopefully increase support.
We are still waiting for our NGO visas to arrive, basically the usual red tape wrapped in more red tape. Anyway, as our current visas terminate at the end of this month we must leave the country to re-apply for Sri Lankan visas oversees and then return. It's an unfortunate and costly necessity for us but one we decided to accept and use to the advantage of The TEA Project if we could. So, following some hefty research we sent a proposal to a number children's charities in India; the response that came back was very positive. Around 60% of the organisations responded and requested our services and we eventually chose to work with an organisation called 'Our Home Community' - www.ourhomecommunity.org. OHC are a fantastic charity who are based in the south west of India providing a permanent home & community to homeless and orphaned street children. We feel fortunate that the opportunity has arisen to work with a charity that shares our ideals and are confident that this is the right time to deliver and pilot a new model of training called 'Child Centred Community Development'. We hope that explains our plans in a nutshell.
We have begun a partnership with a school in Kandy which we mentioned wanting to achieve on previous TEAblogs where a large number of the children we work with attend. Recently we supported an English Camp running activities and games with children from four of the poorest schools in Kandy and we plan to continue running workshops and teacher training every week for them. Our workshops and training will be really important as government schools have few resources to rely on. The school we support does not even have a computer.
Our Project with The British Council is going well. Up to five centre children will be receiving free English tuition for a year worth £2,500 as a result of Racheal's efforts. This will create a fantastic and rare opportunity for very poor children.
Carl is nearing completion of the new Library which he designed for the centre in Kandy. We managed to run a series of workshops in the new library to get feedback on the project and ask the children to name it, help develop ground rules and set consequences for breaking the library rules. The children can be very destructive and act impulsively so before the library is formally opened we needed to establish clear boundaries. They suggested rules such as no stealing and being relaxed in the library with consequences of cleaning the library or having to leave the library for a period of time if they break the rules. They did also suggest going to prison for 2-years and being spanked for breaking the rules but we felt these to not be appropriate punishments for the crime! The library will be named 'the space'. We will post a blog when it is fully up and running. This week we will run our first day of Personal Development training with teenagers in 'the space'. We hope at least 20 young people will attend; ice cream, biscuits and lemonade are our trusted recruitment tactics. Watch Facebook for an update.
We still have our weekly workshops with 7-11 year olds and 12-15 year olds which are always fun, active and the children never cease to amaze and amuse us. They recently made some excellent paper mache hot air balloons in an arts workshop but destroyed the final results before anyone could paint them. They come from families with few or little boundaries so this is the nature of the kids and the work. Racheal now runs additional weekly English classes for centre managers and staff. Some of the young girls were noticeably intrigued by Racheal's make-up so following their interest Racheal ran a make-up workshop. We can optimistically say it will be a few decades before they reach the catwalk scene!!
Carl is working on designs which will be used to brighten the pre-school area. Work will commence on completion of the library space. Designs for a mural will also start on the entrance steps and walls to the centre providing a positive greeting to the children and parents who attend.
We are also working on a number of innovative ideas for new workshops in the future including a collaboration with a British artist who works with sound and a contemporary glass company. If anyone has an aspirational workshop idea and feel you would like to share your skills and guidance with us we would love to hear from you so please get in touch.
Outside of The TEA Project life is Kandy continues to become more familiar and feel like home.
Racheal and new friend Kylie (no, not that one) have somehow managed to find the time to start a weekly toddlers group and Asia-Lilly may start nursery in December which will enable us to work together more during the day which we are finding is essential. Rumours of a snooker club in town have surfaced offering Carl with an opportunity of 'exercise' with new compadre 'Rotherham Al'. Kyan is liking school more & more and has quite a group of friends now all with mostly unpronouncable names. He has taken to swimming like the proverbial duck and Asia-Lilly is following close behind in his wash. We unfortunately had to say goodbye to our friend's 'the Hulses' recently who made such a positive impact on our first few months in Sri Lanka. We would like to thank them again for their inspirational support & real friendship which we will continue cherish. Thank you guys.
We are excitedly looking forward to a visit from 'the outlaws' in 2 weeks time. Racheal's dad and her sister Tracey and nephew Leon are arriving for a 10 day holiday. We are looking forward to seeing some of the tourist sites that have so far eluded us and showing them the centre and some of the work we do...but mostly we are looking forward to the chocolate and proper coffee they have been ordered to bring with them.
Finally we would just like to say a BIG THANK YOU to an inspiring young man from the UK who has recently shown his support for The TEA Project. Theo Thomson from Clitheroe, Lancashire, organised a cake sale at his school and helped raise the financial equivalent of 2 weeks wages for the average Sri Lankan. We think Theo is a great role model for young people.
Love & respect as always.
Carl, Rach, Kyan & Asia-Lilly. xxxx