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Poverty Alleviation Projects

March 31, 2011

Dear Friends:

Welcome to your March 2011 report for The $10 Club.

Children in Sri Lanka continue to suffer from a variety of significant daily stressors: family violence and internal strife, ongoing post-tsunami rebuilding, flooding, food insecurity, and the impacts of civil war. According to UNICEF, education in Sri Lanka is compulsory and literacy is high, but “Sri Lanka’s children struggle to learn in overcrowded classrooms and in schools often lacking basic facilities in water and sanitation. They are faced with a severe shortage of qualified teachers. Some 15 per cent of girls and boys in Sri Lanka do not attend school. High absenteeism and a 50 % dropout rate are reported in disadvantaged areas, which include estates, low-income groups, urban slums and remote rural areas. …The lingering impacts of war, displacement and poverty are among the factors leading to low learning achievement in schools. A chronic shortage of competent, trained teachers, inadequate teaching methods and materials and insufficient resources continue to hamper the learning environment.”

Bill Pullen founded a small charity in Sri Lanka 20 years ago to support the efforts of a community of Carmelite Sisters in their work among some of the very poor children for whom they provide care in a slum area of the city.

Among the projects funded are a new 40-bed orphanage currently under construction, which will house 20 Tamil and 20 Sinhalese children who have been orphaned by the 25 year civil war.

They also sponsor the Apostolic Carmel School in Sri Lanka, which is a small girls’ school serving just under 100 students. It came into existence in 1985 as a result of children not being well cared-for at home and lacking sufficient educational opportunities. About half of the girls are housed in modest dormitory facilities – these are students from “untenable” home situations.

The school is built on land belonging to the Archbishop of Colombo and is funded solely through charitable contributions. The students are charged no fees to attend and it is run for underprivileged children regardless of religion or caste. The school maintains a staff of 12 dedicated teachers and support is needed to underwrite the teachers’ salaries.

This month, 260 of us donated $2,600 to the Apostolic Carmel School in Sri Lanka to fund the annual salary of two teachers there. Additional funds are needed to maintain the buildings, provide equipment, and pay water and electricity bills. But for our purposes, ensuring that at least two of the twelve teachers can remain in the classroom for the coming year seemed the most important use of our resources. Thank you.

Saving the world, ten dollars at a time,


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