Today we visited the building where an amazing new Ocean Stars project called Hope House is underway. This is in collaboration with a TV documentary whereby the town of Ampulantharai is supported by a successful female business woman from London, to set up a new skills training centre for women in the village. Ocean Stars sought out the location, helped to set up the project and now manage the ongoing success of Hope House. This was an enormous priviledge to see, as this is a scheme which supports single mothers in the community, giving them hope by teaching them sewing and computer skills in order that they may find work to support their families and lift them from poverty. Students pay the equivalent of 7p for a two hour session, 3 times a week. This money then goes back into Hope House.
We were told the story of the many challenges faced along the way to setting up this wonderful project, including the transportation of the storage container (now acting as the computer training room) all the way from Colombo to Ampalanthurai. Problems encountered included broken down lorries, running out of fuel, JCBs stuck in the mud and the most awkward location to place the container…..on the roof of the current building!! This mammoth effort was well worth it (in my eyes, one of the most important projects Ocean Stars could offer to the farming village in which Hope House is situated). We were also lucky enough to buy some of the women’s sewing items and to see the grand opening of a water well which is very necessary to ensure any water supply.
The women and their children were so grateful for our visit, and this was without doubt one of the highlights of my trip this year! How often do you see computer lessons happening in the middle of nowhere, on a roof in an old storage container!!