This is the third house, showing the old and the New together. This now completes the three recent projects undertaken.
Miss A.U.Fathima Sandana 17 years old and the victim of an infection was provided with Ankle Foot Orthosis for right foot.
This is one of the three house projects which we agreed to in June. The family were previously in temporary accommodation as their house had fallen down. They have been living in rented accommodation.
Family of 4. 2 Children are in school and the parents are both labourers.
Master Sindur, 10 years old and the victim of a road accident. Above the knee Modular limb provided. he also chose to leave the limb with all the mechanics showing, rather than the normal covered limb.
The Twins have been Sponsored to remain living with their family.
Final distribution of Dry Food and clothing.
Master Sindur aged 15, in for the fitting of his new above the knee modular limb. The shoes will be adjusted and fitted to the limb on the 3rd May.
He has also decided that he wants to see the mechanics of his new limb and does not want the cosmetic covering.
On the road to another remote area..... Sorm is brewing. Wild elephants on th road and pssiong a temple.
This lady was happy to receive a necklace.
Checking in on the Sponsored Children is all part of our visits.
Delivery of food packs to the village of Ratmale.
After delivery food packs we also left this little girl, who is disabled and walks with crutches some pens and an artist sketch pad.
The triplets have been sponsored since they were babies, in fact they can be seen on our home page.
Making a vist to see Sanaka age 4 who is one of our sponsored children. He is a great chatterbox.
Visiting Possible New Roof Project. The husband is unwell.
This school close to our Monessori School for older children in the Village Elehere, which is a very remote area and not too many Europeans visit gave a very Cheerful Welcome.
This Montessori School very close to a main road had no fence. OIAL provided fencing to protect thise children.
Often some of our projects take us down some very awkward narrow tracks!
There are times whn you just have to get your own refreshements.
This lady lost her husband in a bike accident 4 years ago and her daugher age 12 was also on the bike received major injuries.
Several families have again received much needed food supplies. We also go to the head man in the village to find out those who are in need of help.
OIAL replaced the old school with new building. You can see the old school which was not even weather proof.
Apart from distributing Food Packs. Site inpections are made on completed projects. Crossing the railway track to get to a house which was damaged during a storm with tree falling against the house is now fully repared.
Neme is one of our sponsord children , who .was adopted by this lady who sadly lost her husband last year to covid.
Potential New Projects This would mean supplying the materials the family then complete the building. OIAL would return for site inspection.
More Food Packs ready for distribution.
Today we went off road in a Safari Jeep enabling us to get to a village where we were able to distribute 54 Food Packs.
Along the way some school books and sweets handed out.
All projects which are undertaken are inspected to ensure that the materials were used and not sold.
To replace the thatched extension to the existing building.
Over the years we have managed to find generous donors who help to keep children with thier family. These 21day old Twin Girls could be helped with feeding and clothing at a cost of £400 per year for both of them or £7.70 per month on a direct debit.
Over this weekend we have made several food pack deliveries, below are pictures of some of those who received them
We continue to monitor this recently widowed lady.
2 Projects totally damaged by storms, now completed builds with materials provided.
Getting some fresh King Coconut Fresh from the tree and donating Food Pack.
This is a typical basic house provided.
Handing out donated items is always rewarding.
Its not always easy to check out a project! Crossing waterway to get to site.
This single lady lives alone and on delivering dry food pack find that this is another possible project to supply the roofing materials to repair the roof.
Although we were unable to visit Sri Lanka during the Pandemic we were able to supply materials to strorm damage properties in need of help.
Meet Amith OIAL new driver on this trip. Boot fully Loaded with Dry Food Packs ready for distribution.
5Kg Rice\Dhal\tinned Sardines\Sugar\tea\potatoes\onions\garlic All for Rs3500 - £10 per pack
Soft toys have also been donated to OIAL and are being disbribted along the way.
OIAL helped 3 years ago by supplying the balance materials in order for this project to be completed. Dry food Pack also donated.
Dry food pack delivered at this site which is a possible project to supply the materials for a new roof.
Making a visit to another sponsored Girl age 12, who has been supported for the past 10 years and also donating a dry food pack.
Delivering dry food pack, This lady who is unwell lives in a 6'x8' Shack not only is she exposed to the elements but also wild elephant in the area.
This is a possible worthwhile project for OIAL,
Meet Rohini and her daughter Piomi. Piomi is sponsered by one of our generous donars.
Stopping in Kotmale to visit school and distributing soft toys which have been donated
£ 53 Will buy a Jaipur Limb - Aluninium (Below the Knee)
£126 Will buy a Jaipur Limb - Aluminium (Above the Knee)
£ 74 Will buy a Jaipur Limb with a Polypropylene Socket (Below Knee)
£131 Will buy a Jaipur Limb with a Polypropylene Socket (Above the Knee)
£103 Will buy a New Modular Limb (Below Knee)
£195 Will buy a New Modular Limb (Above Knee)
£ 74 For an Upper Limb (Artificial Arm Below Elbow)
£124 For an uper limb (Artificial Arm Above Elbow)
An other option is to provide a meal while Patients are at the Hospital.
£28 Provides a Luxuary Meal for the Whole Day ( Breakfast/Lunch & Dinner)
£15 Provides a Normal Meal for the Whole Day (Breakfast/Lunch & Dinner)
To Buy a Pair of Crutches £ 14
£11.50 Pair of Deck Shoes for Modular Limb users.
Rs 850 = 5 meals and keels will provide 1 meal for every ticket making 6 hot meals for pre school children.
OIAL purchased 50 ticket which will provide 300 meals.
Meet Master G.I. Awishka Perera Age 9 he has a congenital below right knee amputation and is being fitted with a Modular Limb. As he grows parts of the limb can be reused. The cost of Limb donated Rs45,000 (£100.00). While groowing his limb will be changed annually. A picture of his hold limb, which is being replaced, can be seen in the Gallery.
Before we SL, we were able to make another Dry Food Pack Delivery, on Sunday 5th February 2023. Thank you to Kathy for making this Donation.
All donations are gratefully received no matter how small. Every penny received goes directly to those who need it.
You can donate from the Home Page through Paypal.
Please help us to help others.
Through Keels Supermarket OIAL is supporting a project to provide a nutritious meal for pre school children. Each Meal ticket costing Rs850 = £1.89 will provide 5 meals and for every meal ticket sold Keels will provide 1 extra meal. Making a total of 6 meals per ticket. We are therefore able to provide 300 Children a meal.
Another early start in Colombo to Deliver 10 Dry Food Packs. It is a Long weekend here de to Thai Pongal. These Road Sweepers are working no matter the day or the weather.
1KG DRY FISH
100G CURRY PASE
300G SOYA MEAT
The mother in the picture was unable to collect her food pack with her children . The owner of the house where the goods were distributed agreed to drop it at the the family's house. When he arrived to drop the food in the night he noticed that the family was waiting for the food to cook since they had nothing to eat.
10 Families have today received Food Parcels from OIAL they went to collect them from the Head of village house.
4TH PRIZE ADODYA DEWMINI AGED 13
ST MICHAELS COLLEGE NEGOMBO
3RD PRIZE J.R. HASHANA AGED 9
ST MICHAELS COLLEGE NEGOMBO
2ND PRIZE SENILA YUMETH AGED 12
ST MICHAELS COLLEGE NEGOMBO
W.S KUSHANI S SAHANSA AGED 16
ST MICHAELS COLLEGE NEGOMBO
OIAL has worked wih Center for the Handicapped in Kundasale Sri Lanka
Before leaving Sri Lanka we had one final dried food run. Again with Rice, Dhal, Sugar, Tea, Milk and a tin of Mackeral. Thankfully the weather was on our side.
It poured with rain early morning and even while loading the vehicle. Thankfully as we drove around the rain eased. We were able to delivery all the food packs to different areas in Colombo. Our target was for the road sweepers who earn very little money and work long hours sweeping the roads, rain or shine. Receiving these packs will make such a difference to them and the little money they earn will at least allow them to spend on something they would not normally buy as the can only afford the minimum essentials.
This year Aidex Sports Day will take place in November 2022. Sadly OIAL will be unable to attend this year.
Limb users from around the country of any age are invited to take part. Transport and meals are provided for the days activities, not only for the limb users but for their families also. Breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea is provided.
This year with all the problems with fuel it is not known how many will attend. Also raising funds for the increased costs of providing meals and travel expenses to each family and finding sponsors has been harder than in previous years.
OIAL has given our usual winners cup, but this year we have donated 2 Cups one for the best female and one for the best male. We also thought that it would be nice for each of the children to receive a star who take part winner or not.
All packed and ready for delivery tomorrow. Early start.
After almost 3 years we have been able to make it back to Sri Lanka and been able to assess the situation for ourselves.
Although things are improving slowly Fuel is restricted to 20 litres a week and is monitored with a pass. No pass no fuel, making it very difficult to travel freely around the Island. Also prices have tripled on hiring a vehicle.
At times there are Petrol Sheds as they are called here with long queues or no Fuel at all.
Supermarket shelves are sparsely stocked and prices have doubled.
As you know we have been continuing to help with food packs which we all feel is essential in the curent situation.
We will again be distributing ourselves on Saturday making food pack drops to those who are desperately in need. We will be providing Rice, Dhal, Mackerel, Sugar, Tea & Powdered milk.
Mrs Marasinhe has now been able to collct her new lightweight Knee Ankle and Foot Orthosis.
This also enables her to wear any comfortable pair of shoes rather than having one fixed permantently to the old heary style Caliper she wore.
Another 2 families in the Habarana area have received their food packs.
Another four families have received dried food parcels.
There has been some delay with our lady getting her new Caliper, again today we can see she is being measured and fitted for new Caliper
Today another five families have been given Food Packs
The Grama Sevaka - Who is a man employed to advise and assist villages in matters of community and development identified 5 families in need of help. OIAL donated to each family food packs consisting of :
10KG Rice, Dry Fish, Potatoes, Onions, Dhall, Noodles, Tea, Lanka Soy and packs of Chille & Curry Powder.
Each given with the Compliments of Once In A Lifetime.
Kithulenma is located in Western Province approximately 19k from Colombo.
Due to the current situation in Sri Lanka OIAL is providing Food parcels to those in need. This will be dried food, rice, lentils, powdered milk.
Replacing Calliper for a Lady age 55 Born with Polio and since had Cancer. She is a single parent since her husband left after her Cancer diagnosis.
Not the best of photographs but we can see finished rebuild.
Just a reminder of past projets. Although we have not been travelling to Sri Lanka we are still maining contact and have taken on some Urgent cases whilst still keeping up with Education Grants and sponsored Children.
Check out the Gallery.
This house has been badly damaged by the weather and is uninhabitable and not capable of being refurbished. The family are staying in temporary accommodation.
We are looking to replace this mud house with a brick house. The house is occupied by one of the children who we sponsor.
The second house project is now complete. Previously living in a tented accomodation, now have brick house.
One of the two houses approved is well on the way to completion.
Thank you to all of you who have made donations via paypal online, cheques or given cash.
Every penny donatated goes direct to those who need it.
"A Future - Not a Handout"
This years Xmas card painted in Sri Lanka by J.A. Tharushi Perera
Holy Family Convent Wennappawa, Western Sri Lanka
A 20year old has been given a new type of limb which is jointed at the knee enabling him to sit and behave normally at college. He lost his leg above the knee due to Cancer.
The roof damaged by Fallen Tree has now been replaced.
Work is finished and the school is being decorated. It took the villagers over 10 years to have a completed building and would not have been able to have this facility without the help of OIAL.
The wall has now been repaired. However the roof still needs to be sorted.
This is a before photo of recent project.
This house has now been completed.
Roof is completed.
The new school is nearing completion.
The school in Alut Oya is progressing nicely. Hopefully will be ready soon for the Children
A Montessori School Project located in the village of Alut Oya, which is on the Trinco Road about 15 miles north of Habarana. The progress of the school has been very slow. The parents have provided the cost of materials and labour for work done todate. The school is using temporarary accommodation at the moment and there are approximately 40 Children. OIAL are going to provide the materials in order that the school can be completed by the parents.
The first stage of the Montessori School was to put on roof, due to the oncoming rains. Work is now progressing on the walls.
Please help with donations to provide children up to the age of 16 who need an above the knee limb to be able to receive one that bends at the knee.
These limbs cost Rs65,000. Approximately £235.00 you can make a full or part donation on our website.
Having a limb which bends at the knee gives them so much more freedom, in school, taking part in sports and also puts much less strain on their growing hips.
This lady aged 41 had a below the knee amputation in 2010, after stab injuries caused by her husband over a family dispute.
A new limb has been provided for this 77 year old gentleman, his right leg was amputated below the knee, due to a Road Accident in 2007.
Project 21/27 As detailed in November 2020 is now complete and the Mud house has now been replaced with Brick.
New Roof Sheets to replace existing roof have been put on.
The wall damaged by elephant has now been rebuilt.
WISHING PEACE HAPPINESS & JOY TO ALL OUR SUPPORTERS
Winner of this years Christmas Card Competition W.Nethushi Fernando Aged 11
Holy Family Girls School - Wennappawa Sri Lanka
Stage 1 - Roof for New Montessori School is completed and Stage 2 Materials are being purchased for the Bricks and cement in order to complete the School before the rains commence.
Mr. D.G. Wijerathne is 67, lives with his family in Polonnaruwa. He was a security guard before he lost his leg.
This is the story he related to us: (The Centre for the Handicapped)
I had a small wound on my right leg for which I was treating at home but after a few days it started to swell up. I went to the Polonnaruwa General Hospital to get a blood test and treatment for the wound and swelling. The blood report confirmed I was suffering from vascular disease. The doctors said my right leg had to be amputated from above the knee, as the disease can spread to the other parts of the body. I was depressed after hearing this but decided to agree to the amputation as I had no choice. I was hospitalized for almost 1 year.
I was feeling sad and frustrated after the amputaion of my leg and at this point was when I met a generous donor who said that I could obtain an artificial leg from the Centre for Handicapped in Kundasale and that they would sponsor the artificial limb. I felt very happy and visited the Centre for Handicapped. I was warmly welcomed by the officials; they took the required measurements and gave me a date to come back. When I visited the centre again. I was fitted with an artificial leg that was made for me and they trained me to walk. I felt very happy that I was able to walk with the help of the artificial leg.
My heartfelt thanks go out to both the generous donor and the Centre for Handicapped for giving me another change to walk again.
The 4th Project under review is a roof for family of 4.
The husband is on crutches and cannot work, his wife has a small job.
Small mud house in poor condition. Husband and wife work in the Paddy fields and have 2 young Children.
Proposal is to provide materials for a brick house to be built.
Small house, family of 4 damaged by an elephant.
Dimithu Montessori Elehera picture of existing building can been seen behind the children above and in the Gallery.
In order to complete their new school, of which only the concrete pillars are in place they need all the balance materieals. Bricks, cement, timber and roofing.
All the labour charges will be met by the Parents.
Please go to Gallery to see our Projects for 2020 which commenced at the the beginning of the year, these have been sent by our volunteer helper in Sir Lanka
Disa our regular driver has been to visit this young girl who is sponsored. She lives in the Hill Country near the Tea Plantations.
Please open in Gallery to view all Sponsored Families
Although we have been unable to go to Sri Lanka, our volunteer helper has been able to visit all the families who we support on a monthly basis and send back photos and all relevant documents which are kept on a monthly basis.
This is our elderly family receiving help.
Our Planned trip in October 2020 has been Postponed. Of course we shall be receiving updates on the February Projects undertaken. Photographs and a full report will be sent to the UK and these will then be compared with the Photographs taken at the commencement of the Projects in February this year. We are still able to manage all our work taking place in Sril Lanka.
We are registered with Amazon Smile and will receive donations from the programme if you select our charity, follow the above link. This is AT NO EXTRA COST TO YOU
While the first man was being measured for his new limb, the other was in waiting room.
Yesterday 9th September the two men requiring new Limbs arrived at the Handicapped Centre to be Measured.
Yesterday 9th September the two men requiring new Limbs arrived at the Handicapped Centre to be Measured.
This Gentleman requires 2 Limbs below the knee and OIAL are again sending him to the Centre for the Handicapped in Kandy, where he will be measured and fitted with these new limbs. This will be his first time to receive limbs enabling him to walk again. Transport will be provided from his village and he will initially attend the centre for measurments and then return for Fitting and 10day Training.
Each of his new limbs will cost £130 each
First Time for a New Limb to be fitted above the Knee for this gentleman, OIAL working with Centre for the Handicapped in Kandy. Transport from his village for initial measurement of limb will be provided and then he will then return to the centre for a 10 day Fitting/Training Programme.
This Limb for above the knee will cost £265
The House was virtually destroyed, but with the recent update below you can see that work is coming along. The Roof and floor still need to be completed. Previous picture shown below 5.5.20
During the recent Thunderstorms the Monessori School Roof was badly damaged which has now been replaced.
Previous picture shown below 5.5.20
Original Mud House was falling down and has now been replaced with Brick Build. This work has been undertaken since Lockdown.
Charity Gift Aid Declaration – single donation
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Name of Charity __ONCE IN A LIFETIME LIMITED (OIAL) _1112679___________
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Sadly our old Lady passed away of Old Age this week. We were informed that she had been taken to hospital but passed peacefully,
She will be missed on our visits as we always check in on her.
Again during the recent Thunderstorms a tree has fallen onto a family of four house. Husband and wife with two children. The Husband is injured and still in hospital. The roof has been destroyed and whilst trying to remove the tree a wall has fallen and broken.
Oial will again help with purchasing materials and part cost towards labour as some of the other villagers are available to help with the repairs.
During recent Thunderstorms in Habarana, where Curfew is more relaxed The roof of the school has been destroyed, some roofing sheets are broken. OIAL will be purchasing direct from the wholesaler new roofing sheets which will be deliverd and the locals will get the work done.
Stay safe during COVID19
OIAL is doing a monthly Alms giving for the transit patients in the Colombo Foot Foundation this is to provide a full days meals for transit patients while they are in having limbs fittied and they learn to use their new limbs.
Sponsored Girl In Pussellawa
We have completed our work and are now preparing to fly back to the UK.
New Project for considertion.
A new roof is needed for small village shop.
Extension has been completed.
New roof for house completed
Possible house project.
Happy mother and child with some new clothes and a soft toy.
This lady was helped by providing a new toilet and also received a food pack.
It is not always easy to get about especially after heavy rain.
After heavy rain out delivering food packs.
Its not always possible to get around in the van sometimes you may need to take a tuk tuk, others a passing scooter!
All the spoonsored children are checked up on and given items of clothing and toys which have been donated.
After a very wet start to the day time for a lunch break!
In the jungle there are not many places to stop for a drink.
OIAL is hoping to help to supply artificial hand for amputee.
Another soft toy finds good home.
Clothing books and toys were handed over after visiting one of OIAL Sponsored Girls.
A lot of baby clothes were donated to a nurse outside clinic. These can now be distributed as needed.
The youngest girl is one of OIAL sponsored children. The girls have receied some of the clothes sent out from the UK.
All projects are put forward and discussed before any final decision is made. Below is a possible kitchen project.
All the clothing donated is distributed..
Along the way food packs are delivered to families in need and also to sponsored families.
This man was involved in a lorry accident and a food pack was delivered to help the family whilst he is unable to work.
Hard to believe that these are the triplets in our banner, growing up fast.
As usual a visit to our eldery lady for a delivery olf food pack.
Soft toy Monkey donated and shipped out to Sri Lanka has found a new home.
The Banyan tree is a fig that grows on another plant.
Making a visit to one of our Montessori schools and delivery donated toys
Meet the winner of 2019 Xmas Card Competition. She is 16 years old and is with her Parents, Father Titus who organizes the completion for OIAL, together with Rosemarie & Colin.
Rantilica is a man who has been helping us with some of the projects in the Kotmale Area.
A Montessori School high up in the moutains is a possible project for a protective fence around the school. Check out other photos in the Gallery to see the children and inside the school.
A jacket donated to OIAL was a good fit for Driver Dissa. The sleeves need a small adjustment. He is very pleased with his new acquisition.
puchasing a couple of food packs in the local shop in Kotmale.
Food Pack was delivered today to this elderly lady who lives with her widowed daugher and three grandchildren.
Once Again OIAL are preparing for the next trip to Sri Lanka. Shipments are underway with donated clothing, toys etc The team will be checking out all new Projects in January 2020
The new frame and roof have now been completed and the family have been able to move back home.
This roof has been blown off and the family who have 3 children are living with a neighbour. The husband is unable to work.
The team shall be returning to Sri Lanka once again to review previous projects and finding those that are in need of help.
In August the first shipment of clothing donations were made and shall arrive intime for the September visit.
The next shipment is planned for November 2019.
Mrs. Priyadarshani Chandrathilaka, 29 years old, lives with her husband and 2 children in Habarana.
This is the story she related to us:
On that unfortunate day, I was on my way to Galapitigama with my husband; the three wheeler we were travelling in went off the road. I was injured severely; I was immediately admitted to the Polonaruwa General Hospital by the pedestrians. I was given pre-operative treatment at the Polonaruwa General Hospital for four days, thereafter transferred to the Peradeniya General Hospital. The doctors at the Peradeniya Hospital informed me that my left leg from below the knee had to be amputated as it was severely damaged.
I was feeling sad and frustrated after the amputation of my leg and at this point was when I met Mr. Collin and Mrs. Rosemarie Bray from Once in a Lifetime who said that I could obtain an artificial leg from the Centre for Handicapped in Kundasale and that they would sponsor the artificial limb.
I visited the Centre for Handicapped, as advised by Once in a Lifetime, the staff at the Centre welcomed me warmly and took the required measurements of the leg and gave me a date to come back. When I visited the Centre on the particular day, the officials fitted the artificial leg which was made for me and trained me to walk. I felt very happy when I walked with the help of the artificial leg.
I take this opportunity to thank the generous donor for giving me another chance to walk and also the staff at the Centre for Handicapped for their enormous support.
It is time again for the annual Limb Foundation Sports Day.
The old couple in the paddy field sponsored by OIAL. This is one of the completed toilet projects
There have been some delays due to security checks in getting materials on sign, but things are again moving. 17 Men are digging currenly at 17 different sites.
The first of the toilets have been completed, twelve others are currently under construction. Thanks to ICE who have sponsored these toilets for a whole village.
Around the Pearl is a 1400K Bike ride around the coast of Sri Lanka commencing on the 10th April 2019 for 12 Days to raise funds for Wheelchairs for children with Cerebral Palsy. It costs Rs15,000 for each wheelchair (Approx £65 each).
OIAL is sponsoring Asha Devos for 4 wheelchiars and a further 2Wheelchairs from the Trustees.
You can read all about this from the website aroundthepearl.lk and also follow Asha on her instragram ashadevos.
New Limb Fitted
Our Sponsored Lady in Kotmale, sadly passed away, Dissa our local driver was able to attend the funeral. Although it was only one month that we were able to help out, we are sure it made a lot of difference to the family.
We were exhausted on our arrival in Colombo after waiting 6 hours for the
connecting flight from Dubai. After one days rest we purchased exercise and
drawing books, pencils and coloured crayons for distribution to children and
We went to see an old lady aged 95 living in a tiny house in Kotugada which is
quite close to the main Airport. She was being looked after by her
granddaughter on a full time basis The old lady is bedridden and in a very
poor state of health. The family are struggling as the granddaughter cannot go
to work. ONCE IN A LIFETIME are now sponsoring her for the lifetime of the
On the next day we drove for five hours to Kotmale which is located in the centre
of Sri Lanka in the mountains about 6,000 ft. above sea level. We inspected
three completed projects and donated clothing and food packs. We also
inspected several potential projects for consideration. We visited our
Montessori School in Pussellawa and one of our sponsored children. We then
went on to our main base in Central Northern Sri Lanka at Habarana. We
visited our further five Montessori Schools and other projects commenced after
our visit in May 2018. These were all satisfactorily completed. We started a
further 14 housing projects and an addition 19 toilets for individual houses.
Two ladies were sent to the Centre for the Handicapped in Kandy for limb
replacements. We also visited our sponsored children who all continue to
receive a monthly contribution. 70 Food Packs were distributed together with
the contents of our 3 shipped tea chests of toys, clothing and books.
We had wall-to-wall sunshine for the duration of our stay. It was a bit
exhausting working in the midday sun! We covered over 1,800 kilometres
without a mishap except 2 punctures.
A very rewarding and successful visit.
This is the Builders Merchants where most of our materieals are purchased.
Completed House provided by OIAL
OIAL are currently working on providing each family their own toilet.
All the toys that are donated to OIAL are shipped out and are then distributed between schools, sponsored children and other families.
Being waved off after a visit to one of the Sponsored children.
Making a visit Feb 2019.
One of the villagers making a connection to the water supply given by OIAL.
Happy to have received OIAL food packs.
Arriving back to school - 5th Montessori School built by OIAL
We always go back to the schools with have built, or even extented with some treats for the children and also to see that all is well.
This young boy is sponsored by OIAL and is living with his Grandfather who is also not well himself.
Another day another village - These ladies have all received a food parcel.
This Lady lost her leg below the knee in an accident about 12 months ago. The wound has healed and she would be a good candiate to have an artifical limb fitted. She currently uses crutches to get about, but is unable to use public transport.
As she does not live near to where a new limb can be fitted and also unable to use public transport there is a cost to her for 3 return Taxis to Hingurakgoda,food and lodging and a helper in addition to a new limb. These amount to Rs 66,000 - Say £275.
There is an initial measuring and then fitting of the limb which involves returnig after 10 days to collect.
Checking in on an Elderly lady sponsored by OIAL, she is happy to receive her Food Pack
This Montessori School needs a new Extension
This is typical of inside a village Mud house.
These 2 men are delighted with thier new jackets.
Each visit involves checking on old projects to ensure that all is well and also and also on looking for new projects.
Of course there are times where work is in progress and is always good to lend a hand.
Helping in the jungle areas you do come accross Wild Elephants. Looks like this one is waiting for the bus.
This young boy is happy knowing that he will have a new home. The only real asset the family have is a cricket bat.
As you know we carry dried food in the vehicle to hand out where needed.
Its always nice to see the chidren who are sponsored and see how they have grown. The triplets were only babies when OIAL first met them.
There are so many possible projects to help with one of which is to help those in need of a new home. Please see gallery
This lady is 95 years of age, very frail and bedridden. She is blind and unable to speak her grand-daughter is currently looking after her full time and is therefore unable to go to work. In order to help her and try and make her life a little more comfortable OIAL is going to sponsor this lady.
Believe it or not this site might be suitable for a young lady and her son to build a small one room house. This might be possible if a couple of the small trees are removed.
OIAL are currently in Kotmale area, visiting completed projects and looking for new projects to take on.
It is not always possible for the vehicle to get to some of the areas visited and is therefore necessary to hire tuc tucs to take us up and down the narrow lanes.
We are also handing out to those families in need food packs which consist of dried food, reice and lentils.
The English classes continue on a weekly basis. Obviously sometimes it can be trying.
New year new phase. Shipment has already arrived ready for distribution. We shall be posting updates of the happenings along the way.
Many Thanks to all those who supported me on my climb to raise funds for OIAL. Check out the Photo Gallery to see some shots along the way.
The Next shipment will arrive in early February 2019, ready for distribution.
The Christmas Card competition is held in Schools in Sri Lanka and the 2 winners are aged 14 & 15
This roof is also now complete
Completed Roof in Kotmale
Receiving Sheets to replace leaking roof.
This year the Aidex Sports meet was held in August, rather than October due to the weather in the past couple of years.
OIAL once again gave their full support even though they were unable to attend this years sports meet and were pleased to donate two bicycles along with the annual cup.
I WANT TO SUPPORT JANICE & MAKE A DONATON
10 YEARS AFTER WALKING THE MILFORD TRACK IN NEW ZEALAND JANICE ANTHONISZ IS CLIMBING ADAMS PEAK IN SRI LANKA TO RAISE FUNDS FOR OIAL ON FRIDAY 28TH DECEMBER 2018
Adams peak (Sri Pada which means “Holy Footprint”) it is a conical mountain in Sabaragamuwa which is in central highland Sri Lanka.
It is 2243m (7,359feet) high.
There are 5,500 Steps. The climb is at night in order to be at the summit for sun rise.
100% of all donations goes to our causes. No Donation is too small.
Once in A Lifetime Ltd (OIAL Charity) – Registered Charity 1112679
15 Thornton Place, London, W1H 1FL. Website: oialcharity.org Email: email@example.com
I WANT TO SUPPORT JANICE AND MAKE A DONATION
Please make cheques payable to: Once in A Lifetime Limited or Donate online va Website
GIFT AID: I am a taxpayer & wish this donation to qualify as GIFT AID YES/NO
Since installing the Water Tank in Henya, some of the local houses have been able to run water from the Tank to their own homes. Obviously the houses close to the tank are getting plenty of water, but the houses of some distance and only getting a trickle. OIAL raised the Tank onto a tower in order that these houses will then be able to get a good flow of water to their homes.
This year the CFIN Sports Day is to be held in August, unfortunately none of the team will be able to attend this year. However we are giving our full support and have provided one of the Cups.
SYNOPSIS OF MAY 2018 TRIP
Along the way OIAL met the village volley ball team and donated the cost of a new ball. They were overjoyed and shot off to purchase the New Ball.
All the vilagers to thank OIAL for the New Well.
A happy smiling family waiting for OIAL gifts.
Two familes without homes have been placed on some land, OIAL helped out with a small donation and Food Pack to one of the families. This couple have 2 children sadly on child physicall and mentally impaired.
A new dress.
A new roof project.
OIAL Handing out Food parcels.
Typical interior of small house in a village
Food parcel delivery to a Mud Hut.
Inside of a Mud Hut.
A greatful Villager.
A tiny house occupied by a lovely elderly lady - OIAL delivery of a food pack and also replacing her leaking roof.
Another Toy Delivery.
Very poor gentleman receiving food pack.
Below you can see the house falling down - site for replacement by OIAL in front.
OIAL helper delivering food pack to a lady.
Food packs delivered with a new project behind.
A very happy little girl with her new bag.
Four young children at the water tap.
Possible extension for a Montessori School
As always a visit to the Sponsored childen. These are the twins.
Another OIAL delivery from the van.
The three boys are certainly getting big.
The father of the sponsored triplets, requires a new Lower Limb for his left leg.
Food Pack delivery to Elders sponsored by OIAL
OIAL delivering food packs for villagers
A little girl very happy with her delivery.
Toys, clothes and food deilvery in one of the villages.
A new exercise book.
Sometimes it is necesssary to get to places on a bike!
One of the Sponsored Boys collecting a soft toy and a new pencil and exercise book.
A new dress for one of the Sponsored Girls.
Potential Project for a New House.
A young girl happy to receive some toys and a new dress.
Two children very excited wtih their gifts.
The latest well is in use.
OMG - Well - COLIN has done it again! Last time he booked us into a house high up in the mountains and it took yonks to get there and the drive was hairy but nothing compared to this experience today. No wonder we now are on the local Vodka/Tonics bought locally as this is a beautiful private house but more about that in a minute. Firstly, we couldn’t find the house and we waited in our van until the Manager of the house turned up to guide us - (the owner lives in Singapore) - we followed him for a while and turned off into a single track narrow lane - all was fine for about 1 mile but after that the road climbed steeply and suddenly it was full of rocks and no way could our van go any further - immediately left was a deep gorge with a big River in full flood after the torrential rains. The van skidded - COLIN shouted and I said the Rosary & we immediately decided to reverse back down the hill - all this took about half an hour and we ended up parking by somebody’s house! We then clamboured into the Managers 4xwheel drive & all hell broke loose as the local leeches attacked us all - wished I had a camera - we didn’t know those little mites can zoom up your leg so speedily and my lovely boy had one clinging to one of his very important bits - he stripped off his clothes - pulled a few off and honestly had difficulty stemming the blood flow! What a fiasco - our lovely driver was holding on to his private parts and I just could not stop laughing! I only had 2 clinging to me - they obviously don’t like fair skin thank God! All joking aside it wasn’t very funny but we now can relax and laugh. Although it was a nightmare this house is one gorgeous contemporary dwelling with a fantastic view - house has a Manager / a cook and the owners Mother hiding somewhere - haven’t met her yet - the view up and down the River is stunning. Here for 3 nights and each day we will have to get a Tuk-tuk down to our parked van to enable us to carry on with our work - the rains are a real pain and sadly for a further 3 days we will have to endure getting drenched!!! After that we are in the dry area.
OIAL would like to thank the family of the late Mrs Peggy Eileen Phelps who donated all her book collection for the Library.
The photograph is her Great, Great, Great Nephew Harry who was helping sort and load the books ready for shipment to Sri Lanka.
April Shipment of Clothing arrived and has been distributed from the community centre in the village
Getting ready for the next Trip.
The third well has now been completed and has fresh running water for the village.
Some of the Villagers who will benefit from the well. The other well is due to be completed in a couple of days.
Our last shipment of clothing arrived and was distributed amoungst the Villagers.
The New site drilling has been completed and they have struck water. The Tank and Motor will be fixed in the next week.
This is the site for the New Well
After a young child ran out from school and was hit by a car we have placed fencing around theis school to prevent this from happening again.
Fresh Drinking Water, can now be drawn.
Drilling for Fresh Water
The Drill was on sight today and has struck good clean drinking water.
Grace raised £50.00 for OIAL with her friends.
This is the winner of the Xmas Card Competion 2017.
Once again we held our Xmas Card Painting competition. It was very difficult this year to choose but we have given 2nd Prize for this one.
One of OIAL Donors wanted to make a donation towards this ladies cataract operation.
After 2 days rest we made our way inland up to Chilaw which is on the West Coast of Sri Lanka above Colombo.
We saw 3 projects and met our Sri Lankan helper who is co-ordinating the Christmas Card Competition with several schools. One project was a middle aged single lady who requires a leg brace to enable her to walk.
We then had a long drive up into the mountains where we stayed in a converted Tea Plantation House. We saw our 4th Montessori School and one of our sponsored children together with attending a small ceremony for the completion of a small house for a very poor family. Sadly, the wife is sick and it was extremely sad to see her having a seizure at the ceremony. It transpired that she had run out of medicine and could not afford any more. We drove to Gampala – the nearest large town some 30 miles distant and managed to buy a supply of medication for her. She and her husband with five children lived in a tumbled down mud house and survived on an income from four cows. We visited four other projects in the area.
We then drove up in the Knuckle Range and again stayed in a Tea Plantation House
– hairpin bend after hairpin bend! Unfortunately, we had to push the van on two occasions and got covered in mud in the process!
We then visited Kandy and the Centre for the Handicapped where we have previously sent several people for artificial limbs.
Next, we drove on to our base for 8 days in Habarana in Eastern/Cenbtral Sri Lanka. This area is very rural and ‘jungly’ with a large National Park close by. It is well known for elephant safaris and we normally see many wild elephants on our travels. We spent those 8 days looking at 26 last phase completed projects and next phase of 28 selected out of about 50.
We saw all of our 6 sponsored families – 1 set of triplets, 1 twins, 2 children and one elderly couple and another elderly lady.
We also inspected a potential project located near Colombo.
In all we travelled over 1,500 miles with Dissa our driver mostly on tracks.
We distributed two tea chests and one large case load of clothing, toys, books, school books and one sewing machine and donated numerous food packs.
We also visited 5 Montessori’s which were constructed or extended by us and donated drawing books and toys.
We returned to Colombo and home having had another very successful visit to Sri Lanka.
A normal sight to see when driving in the villages.
Rosemarie and Dissa waiting for the next challange
Drawing books for Montessori School
A stop along the way and a chance to hand out clothing.
2 of the Triplets with grandmonther
Checking up on last phase that work is in progress and in good order
Some very excited children to get a toy delivery
A simple stall is all that is needed to help give a family a living
This village has requested a well.
The whole village turns out when the vehicle arrives with food packs and items of clothing
Time for a game of Croquet.
Some visits need to be on foot
This sewing machine was donated to OIAL and has found a new home and will help to make a living for this lady.
Oial repaid this house after a fire
Food packs were delivered to this elderly man
A new school is needed for these children
Food Pack delivered to our favorite lady
A visit to the Community Centre compled by OIAL
Just a climpse of of some of what has been happening.
Each category of the games has its own award ceremony.
Youngest contents being carried by her Mother as the ground is now very wet.
After a wet start there was a small dry spell which allowed the games to go on. However once the rain began events had to wait for the rain to ease up.
Action Shot Long Jump
It was nice to meet of the the children who we help with her education grant and her mother. At Sports day. Her mother is also a limb user, after a recent motor accident.
All Caps and T Shirts worn by the particpants and helpers are donated by Dilmah Tea. Once again a good event. The weather played its part, but did not deter from the event going on. OIAL donated 2 of the bikes which is a prize for wining the cylcle event. We also donated a cup for the best allrounder in the childrens category.
Today is the annual Sports meeting for Limb users from around the country. Over the past 10 days there has been heavy rain daily in Colombo, where the event is taking place.
Today is no exception, the rain is pouring already all we can hope for is a break in the weather.
As always a visit to one of the six schools we built. There is always some time for entertainment!
OIAL handing out food packs and clothing donated from UK.
OIAL regularly hand out dried food packs to families along the way and to those who are visited in need of help. The packs are carried on the vehicle so are readily available.
TG reeiving clothing and food for his family
TG family outside thier New House constructed by OIAL. They also recived a food pack and clothing donated to OIAL from the UK.
Once again OIAL have purchased dried food and packed ready for distribution.
Family currently living in Tin Scack
Just a view to show you at the end of the day, evening view accross the mountains.
We are hoping to be able to supply a new Leg Brace for this Lady. The current Brace has been used for the past 20 years.
This young man needs an electric Chair/Scooter, instead of the hand operated tricycle he currently has to use. He is a Carpenter by trade.
We are looking into the possibilites of how we might be able to help,
Visit to Kotmale house under construction by OIAL
Once Again we shall all be out in Sri Lanka together.
Checking on old projects and starting new projects.
Aidex Sports Day is also in October. OIAL will be presenting its annual cup.
In June we attended on the English Classes. There were 30 Children. It was nice to see them progressing. Some sang a song in English, others talked about themselves and their family.
New extension to the school and painting is complete. Time for a School photo for the opening.
A tree fell onto the roof causing it to collapse. OIAL was able to repair the damage that was caused.
Area where well and water pumb supplied is very rural as you can see. This serves around 50 local villagers.
OIAL have made a donation to Wildlife & Nature Protection Society.
They are working in the affected areas with 5 Schools who have been badly hit. More than 800 children have lost all their books and clothing except what they had on at the time of the diaster.
Fundraise for OIAL when you shop online. Simply go to the above website and register. OIAL will receive donations from your online shopping.
Deepana is one of the children OIAL is helping with an education grant. His leg was amputed due to knee cancer. He attends the cancer hospital each month for a check up. He is currently being fitted for a replacement limb.
OIAL are about to commence work in Barnagala - Nr Kotmale for a family currently living in a mud house.
Open up Gallery to see some pictures taken during the classes in February and March.
During our last visit in May 2016 we experienced appalling weather on the Western side and glorious sunshine in the Central/North Eastern area. This time it was the opposite. As soon as we arrived in Habarana the heavens opened and it rained solidly for 8 days. This brought great relief to the people especially the farmers who had experienced a drought for over four months. It made our work a little difficult but we managed to see 95% of the projects.
We saw well over 100 projects scattered over a large area including the mountainous region round Pussellawa. This included 5 of our 6 Montessori Schools, all the sponsored children, past and future projects. All the past projects were completed and we selected 24 new ones. We distributed clothing, books, pens, crayons and pencils and many food packs. We attended an opening ceremony at a Montessori where we had doubled the size of the building. The number of children attending has increased from 15 to 45.
We visited the Lawrence Hyde Boys Home in Kandy where we have been involved in major improvements and brought cakes and food for the boys.
An example of our work :
An old couple lived in a mud hut that had partially collapsed in the rain. We constructed a new house, provided a bed (they slept on the floor), gave them a food pack and added them to our list of sponsorships. They will be visited on every occasion by us.
We sincerely thank everybody for their support.
This old lady receives our regular support
Donating books / pencils and crayons
Colin being inundated with Flowers at School Extension Opening Ceremony
School Extension almost completed
The 3 Teachers at New School with some of the 48 children
The Welcoming Group at School Extension Ceremony
Help with Toilet Facilites are also required.
This is a typical kitchen in village house.
Not having a bathroom means you need to improvise.
Next Phase Project: New roof required
New Shoes for one of the Sponsored Children
Checking in on Class at 5th School
The Parrot being introduced by Colin to some school children
Rosemarie in a tuc-tuc with our sponsored child and her brother and sister
Another OIAL Sponsored child with Food Pack and Clothes
One Project In the next phase - improvements to this House
Another poor family receiving Food Packs and Clothing
One of OIAL's sponsored children - Piomi - looking very happy! Her family house has been completed by OIAL. Her Father was killed several years ago after falling from a tree.
Visiting school in Pusselawa, some of the children with two of the teachers.
Distributing Books and Clothes
A food pack being given to our sponsored elderly lady - we are looking at installing a toilet for her and buying her a bed - she only has 3 plastic chairs.
Today in Ilukwewa area 13 Children attended the English Class, with the help of a Pre School Teacher.
Today another English Class was held for children Grade 1 and 2.
Today was the first day for a Pre School Class in Thrisinhagama, seven children attended.
Commencing 15th January Inspections will be carried out on all projects which have been completed since last phase and New Projects will be considered.
There is also a new Mascot to visit the Montessori School Children. It is a large squawking parrot hand puppet, he will be replacing the Monkey who's battery has gone flat!
We have already visited Habarana area to distribute items of clothing and other household linen to families who would be pleased to have them and use them.
Look out for further updates and pictures as we go along.!!
The new well has been completed and a small opening ceremony was held by some of the villagers who will be using this Fresh Water Well.
Location is 4km from any fresh drinking water (near the main Habarana Road)
Nearest town is Habarana which is 5km away and the location is very rural approached by rough tracks.
Over 50 Families in the village will benefit from Fresh Drinking Water.
OIAL also help with an Education Grant for two Children. They are both Limb Users. We are hoping to help with some other children.
Sunday 9th October 2016 Sports Festival for Jaipur Limb Users at Prison Grounds, Leslie Ranagala Mawatha organised by Colombo Friend In Need Sociey.
Another successful sports meeting. A day full of events, Cydling, Running, Archery, Long Jump, Shot Put and of course the Wheelchair Race.
OIAL once again gave a cup for the best all rounder, under 15, together with two bycicles which are also given as a prize.
Friday was spent packing bags for each of the competitors. The bags and all the contents are donated. Each bag contained milk, soap, chocolate, toothbrush, tea and some cereal along with T Shirts and Cap Donated by Dilmah Tea.
Today we attended one of our Engish Classes given in Thirisinhagama. We left Colombo 5am and arrived at 9.30am for 10am class.
It was nice to be early and see the Children arrive on International Childrens Day. Over 60 Children attended of vatious ages, eager for their class. The Teacher works with them in groups and sets them each a different task, according to their ability. We handed out writing books & pencils, before the class and after the lesson some of the Children sang a song to us. Before leaving some sweets and baloons were given to them.
Apart from Flight Delays, an aborted landing in a storm and Stomach Bug the trip was a success.
The Heavy rains stayed with us for 5 days. We Managed to visit our 4th School in the mountains near Pusselawa and one of our sponsored children living nearby on a Tea Estate.
We looked at 3 possible projects, one near Kotmale Lake in the Mountans and the others in Wahacotte which is about 20 Miles from Dambulla.
We then travelled to Habanara which is more to the East of Central Sri Lanka. The weather was a complete change with wall to wall sunshire for 8 days. The temperature at midday was approaching 100 degrees and it was difficult work!
We were able to travel each day down rough tracks. We inspected the last phase of projects and all were completed. We saw Many other projects and selected 15 (1 Community Centre & 14 Houses).
We sent a youngish man who had his leg amputated to the Kandy Centre for the fitting of an artifficial limb. We saw our schools and each had up to 40 Children. We attended one of our English Classes and over 50 Children were present.
We saw our sponsored children and took on two more. We distributed a large amount of shipped clothing, books and toys together with many food packs.
We then drove across the island to the West Coast to near Chilaw and inspeted a possible projet. We distributed clothing to flood victims.
We returned to the UK after 17 days.
Today is the day Welivita Team are packed with 250 Home Kits and ready for distribution.
All the children were on Welivita Team official list and they decided to provide one school bag per family in order to reach out to 100 different families.
As they approached some of these areas, they could see piles of school books, soaked by the flood waters, laid out to dry, they distributed a total of 70 (out of the 100) packs.
Also visible of the devastation are photo's that have been retrieved and left to dry along with all clothing.
Thanks Jan and Once In a Lifetime for your generous contribution to our Home kits for the Welivita flood victims. We are still raising funds for 200 Home kits, each going at Rs. 5,000 but our School kits (100 nos.) are completely sold out!
Checking in to see completed house. Also managed to hand our clothes and food packs.
WV is a group of people personally committed to helping and rehabilitating the lives of 150+ families who have been affected by the Sri Lankan flood.
Work is being carried out in stages -
Stage 1 (food and clothing distribution) to Stage 2 (clean up) right through to Stage 3 (rehab).
A lot of catching up, revisting old sites, delivering Mango Plants, Food Packs, Clothing and attending one of our weekly english classes.
The new well is officially open and water can be obtained from the tap.
We Visited an elderly couple today whose house has been damaged by the recent rains. We were able to give a Food Pack and have agreed to rebuild the house as the kitchen was demolished and the house is about to collapse. They have no dependents and a neighbour has agreed for them to stay temporarily.
Today was off to a slow start as an elephant decided to contol traffic.
Once on our way we managed to hand out 10 food packs and have more on order for tomorrow. We visited our 5th Scool, which has 36 Children in attendance, all the children were given drawing books and an ABC Poster for the classroom.
We have managed some inspections on last phase and as you can see in photo gallery the new house currently being built behind the old one.
We also have a new boy for sponsorship he is with his Grandfather and family, the husband has left home.
DONATIONS CAN BE MADE VIA OUR WEBSITE FOR FLOOD RELIEF. THIS CAN BE DONE VIA PAYPAL OR CHEQUES TO ONCE IN A LIFETIME LIMITED, VIA REGISTERED OFFICE.
IN ALL CASES STATE FLOOD RELIEF SO ALL YOUR DONATION GOES TO THIS CAUSE.
Rain has stopped for the moment on first part of journey. Stopping in Pusselawa to see Rohina and her daughter who is one of the sponsored children. We delivered food Packs and some Clothing.
We were also able to call into the School we built in Pusselawa and were happy to find all is fine there. We left some Drawing Books, Crayons and an English Alphabet Poster.
After drilling down over 100ft the well is now complete with Pump and Tank.
Work in progress on new Door and Window on the home of the Sponsored twins. Their Sponser after visiting them at home offered to provide Door and Window for the family.
Just an update that our latest shipment is well on its way and ETA into Sril Lanka is 2nd May.
19th & 20th March 2016 102 Students attended two classes held in Sooriyayama and Thibirigaswewa. This weekend after our recent visit to Sri Lanka the Children were able to use the Books and Flash Cards provided by OIAL. Looks like all enjoyed the new lessons.
The classes seem to be a great success witth high attendance. This weekend there has been an attendance of 65 one of the classes had no tables and chairs and the children had to sit on mats to do their work.
Moragaswewa had their first class for English this weekend and 50 students attended.
There was a great turn out for the first English Lessons in two of the five villages.
Sooriyagama had 75 turn up to learn and Thibirigaswewa had 45.
More photos in the Gallery.
Our motto has always been:-
Helping others to help themselves.
A Future - Not just a Handout.
We have shipped various items over the years.
Drums, Bikes, Wheelchairs, Zimmer Frames, Fishing Rods, Hot Plates, Camera, Suits, Books, Toys and Clothing amoung other items
All of which have found good homes.
The Drumset went to a small village Band who do weddings and gigs for various occassions.
The Bike was used by a young man who goes into the jungle to collect honey.
The Suit & Camera are now used for hire for weddings.
Revisiting School can be fun! Colin doing a drawing for the children.
Bike provided by Sponsor to one of the children. Rosemarie risked walking along the road, with brother of girl to collect new Bike.
We once again return to the Lady who sells on the side of the Road.
These labourers have been unable to work because of the heavy rains so their families do not have any money for food. We were passing with our food packs just at the right time.
As from February 2016 OIAL have engaged Yasitha Sumali who lives in Habrana and will be teaching english in 5 of the local villages.
Thrisinhagama, Moragaswewa, Sooriyagama and Ilukwewa
She will be giving lessons in each village twice a month for 1 1/2 hours per class. This will enable children, parents and those who wish to learn the opportunity to learn English.
Colin drawing with the Children. This was our previous school opened.
It is great to see the progress and visit teachers and children.
Work commenced on new school in June 2015. A Foundation Stone was layed by a family chosen which is an honour. The Stone contains Food Water and some special herbs these are all for good luck with the building.
On Boxing Day 2004 the Tsunami hit the East and South Coast of Sri Lanka causing massive devastation and the loss of many lives. Ian and Janice Anthonisz were there at the time. On their return they met up with Colin and Rosemarie Bray. Ian and Janice recounted their experiences of seeing so many people who had suffered.
At that Meeting the four of them decided to start a Charity to help the people who had been so devastated by the Tsunami and ONCE IN A LIFETIME was born. Within 3 months of setting it up they had toured the coastline and witnessed the devastation first hand. We stayed one night in a hotel in Arugumbay which originally offered 40 fine rooms but as a result of the waves was diminished to a couple of sparsely furnished rooms amongst the wreckage. There was the rubble from ruined buildings everywhere. The waves had travelled many miles inland causing great loss of life and untold damage to property and homes. Although the Charity was in its infancy we were able to donate food to the disaster camps, boats to fishermen, agricultural equipment and children’s books for a school. The Charity was up and running!
Colin Bray one of the trustees Recalls his story……..
Since that time, ten years ago, we have progressed a long way. Our main support is still in Sri Lanka and we have moved on from the Tsunami victims to helping the very poor and needy in the rural areas, which are generally forgotten about. In these areas most the families live in very basic huts, sometimes made of mud and roofs made from woven coconut leaves, with the bearest of facilities. Many only have seasonal jobs mainly working in the paddy fields.
We also saw the effect of the War and made several trips to Trincomalee in the East and saw many convoys of armoured cars and buses on their way to the Front. Sometimes, soldiers lined the road. We heard the sound of rocket launchers firing missiles overhead to the Front five miles in the distance. On many occasions we were subjected to interrogation, searches and vehicle checks. Leaving the roads was dangerous on occasions as there were land mines. However we were more frightened of the erratic bus drivers chasing each other for fares. Thankfully the War is now over but the bus drivers are still there and their driving has not improved!
In ten years we have visited and supported many Orphanages, Children’s Homes and Elders Homes. We have built 5 Nursery Schools and helped many others with, for example, new roofs, building materials and poultry stock. Almost 1,000 families have been helped to improve their lives with building materials and new homes, a better income, cataract operations, clinics, limb replacements and water wells. We have sponsored children – the list of completed projects is extensive.
All our work is very hands on – we have lost count of the number of times we have travelled to Sri Lanka – all at our own expense so that all charitable funds can be used on our causes only. We know the country well and the number of miles covered must be approaching 30,000 with our trusted driver Dissa and his van. He is now an expert off-road driver! On a number of occasions we have had to push the van out of a mud bath and paddle through floods. The rains can be horrendous during the monsoon season and on several occasions the roads were more like waterways.
Driving around is slow with the maximum travel that we can achieve in one day is about 80 miles. The tuk-tuk’s, old Lorries, hand carts, tractors and buses all cause congestion and in the countryside we are frequently slowed up by pot holes and on unmade tracks.
In addition to the satisfaction of helping others we have seen many wild elephants, monitors, snakes and wonderful bird life – fish eagles, different types of storks, kingfishers and wild peacocks!
It is also true that we have shed many tears from the sheer emotion of what we have seen and done, especially the delight of the children who may have been given something very simple like a toy. But we have also had many laughs. We are proud of the fact that we have achieved and seen so much and have grown to love Sri Lanka and its people who manage a smile through all adversity.
Our pockets are lighter but we are richer from our experiences.
The Tsunami hit many places but affected my family in Sri Lanka, as we were there at the time. We had returned for Christmas, as Ian had not spent Christmas since leaving Ceylon as it then was in the 60's and Marie and I were looking forward to our first Christmas there. Although we had visited at various time of the near, never before at Christmas.
We were so moved by the subsequent events and scenes that Ian decided in January that he wanted to set up a Charity to help the people directly, it was over Coffee back in London when we met Rosemarie and Colin and were discussing our experiences that Colin in that moment decided he was getting involved and was ready to book tickets and would be with us in March – Colin is now a trustee of “Once in a Lifetime” and Rosemarie is a committee member.
Especially during the raining season it is great to be able to pass out dried food parcels. We go to the Wholesalers and buy a sack of rice and pulses. These are then packed into smaller parcels ready for distribution as needed.
We normally travel in the van, but there are times that we need to go by tuk tuk to get to some of the more difficult sites. Some places it is get out and walk, this may be along a busy road for one reason or another becuase the van cannot park where we might need it, or a simple case of no vehicle will go where we need to go.
The monsoon rains hits us with a vengeance with torrential rains every day but luckily mainly in the afternoon. Apart from one day we were able to navigate the tracks and the roads were dry the following morning.
We travelled over 1,500 km’s from up near Chilaw, North of Colombo and across to Kandy and the Habarana/Pollonaruwa area and up to Pusselawa in the mountains.
We have two new possible projects in near areas near Chilaw and Wahakotte which is located between Kurunegala and Dambulla in the central region.
25 projects were satisfactorily completed. They comprise roof works to two medical centres, a swing for a Montessori School and the other 22 projects were improvements or replacements to mainly mud hut homes.
We approved the next phase of 31 projects. They comprise works/improvements to 29 houses and two small shops.
We saw all the sponsored children and are reporting to the various sponsors. They are all well.
We saw two of our Montessori Schools and opened our 6th little School which was completed at below the budgeted cost and was finished in four months. We hope to organise a limb replacement for a middle aged lady.
We decided to increase the donation of food packs as the heavy rains were preventing labourers from working in the fields. If they do not work there is no way for them to receive any income. Many families were suffering and the food packs we provide give them three/four weeks food supplies.
We shipped three tea chests of clothes, books and toys and these together with the contents of two further cases taken on the aircraft. These were all distributed to needy families. We would like to sincerely thank everybody who donated these items.