Congregations combine to combat poverty in Sri Lanka

Poverty is a serious issue, but it doesn’t mean you can’t have fun raising money to tackle it. Members from a range of Uniting Church WA congregations have recently shared in some delicious Sri Lankan curries and danced to Bollywood music as part of a combined effort to raise much needed funds for five preschools in Sri Lanka.

Susy Thomas, one of the event organisers, was particularly glad to see people enjoy themselves.

“It’s very rewarding to see so many people help out to make the event a success – and to see people dancing!” she said.

The first event was a ‘Bollywood’ themed dinner held at Mt Pleasant Uniting Church in May, organised with significant support from South Perth Uniting Church. People came from across the city to sample some curry, learn about the preschool program, and even dance to Bollywood music.

More recently, Uniting Church in the City hosted its annual Sri Lankan Curry Lunch in July to raise further funds for the preschools project.

Uniting Church in the City Minister, Rev Hannes Halgryn, was pleased to be involved.

“It’s the least we can do really. Just a small effort and a relatively small financial donation can stretch such a long way in our partner church communities,” he said.

Such fundraising efforts are vital in covering the preschool program costs incurred by our partner church, the Methodist Church in Sri Lanka. The Methodist Church has established these interfaith preschools in the North and East of Sri Lanka as a way to ensure children from remote and impoverished areas are not left behind in their education. Each child also receives a nutritional meal every day to ensure their healthy developmental growth.

A small delegation from the Uniting Church WA are planning to visit the preschools later this year to learn first-hand the progress the preschools are making. They will be available to speak to interested groups and congregations on their return.

The UnitingWorld WA Commission, however, still has a way to go to reach its target contribution for the 2018 preschools program. The Commission is therefore asking for congregations and  individuals to consider contributing to the program with regular donations.

To ensure that one child receives a nutritional meal every school day for a year costs $90. To make sure a preschool teacher receives a fair annual wage is $1 300.

Donations can be made to the Uniting Church in Australia, BSB: 036-001, account: 92-1834, reference: Sri Lanka Preschools.

Geoff Bice

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