It was the vision of Celine Samarasinhe a District Nursing Sister of Barnet Health Care NHS Trust in London, to go back to Sri Lanka and contribute towards improving the quality of life of the elderly, the infirm and to support care of the terminally ill in their own homes. Celine believes that doing so makes a substantial contribution towards peace and harmony among residents whilst improving the quality of life of the under privileged.
Our pioneer project which introduced, for the first time, a Community Nursing Service in Sri Lanka. The project was launched on 15 November 1999, to coincide with the 'Year of the Elderly and also the new Millennium.
Aim – a response to community health needs, illness prevention and health care promotion.
Locality – slum areas of Kotahena, Colombo 13.
Model – the National Health service of the United Kingdom’s District Nursing Service.
Beneficiaries – patients in the lowest income, multi ethnic and religious groups and residents of Kotahena.
Team – a dedicated team of seven multi-disciplinary staff in addition to a Board of Management consisting of seven volunteers, including a Chairman, a Secretary and a Treasurer. Also there is the additional support of two medical practitioners and many volunteers from the local community who support the Health Centre.
Funding – the World Health Organisation provided the start-up costs and funding for the first year. The Archbishop of Colombo, Nicholas Marcus Fernando provided funding for the second year and the Rotary Club of Colombo East funded part of the third year. A partnership programme with the Colombo Municipality was planned and funded by the Mayor of Colombo with the Chief Medical Officer Dr.Pradeep Kariawasam for the fourth year.
From 2003 until 2010, SHARE Foundation (U.K.) and friends and family raised the funds to maintain this project which celebrated 15 years of service in November 2014. In addition, local donors mainly from members of the Management Board and their friends have raised funds since August 2007 to provide part of the meals-on- wheels service and dry rations.
From April 2010 to April 2012 the Rangoonwala Foundation funded the Kotahena Project in full and since October 2012 it has continued its support by way of part funding for which we are very grateful and thank them for their valuable contribution and commitment.
The project was initially set up to manage and care for the sick and injured following the South East Asian Tsunami n 2004 from temporary camps and tents. The project then developed as had been originally planned to provide a Community Nursing Service to the area.
Aim – Management and care of the sick and injured in the temporary camps following the South East Asian Tsunami in 2004 and the provision of a Community Nursing Service to many surrounding villages in the area.
Locality – Payagala, Kalutara: a fishing village south of Colombo and one of the worst affected areas by the tsunami. The service extends to the poor and sick in Kalamulla and the surrounding villages.
Model – The National Health Service of the United Kingdom’s District Nursing Service.
Beneficiaries – Poor families, predominantly fishermen, in the Payagala village and environs which was devastated by the Tsunami.
Team – Same as for the Kotahena project above.
Our contribution towards the rehabilitation of the community in Kalutara after the tsunami was initially twenty boats and a number of nets and other fishing equipment in order to provide a source of income for the families. At three different stages we assessed the needs of the people most desperately affected and assisted 245 families to help them return to work. Our commitment in rehabilitating these families has continued since 2005.
Public Health Teaching Sessions are conducted fortnightly for the local community of each project. The majority who attend the educational programmes are women. These projects give women a say in the community and through education they have been made aware that they too can change the lives of people, which in turn his has given them dignity, confidence and hope.
The funds that were collected by the SHARE Foundation for the tsunami victims were also used for the Kalutara Project in helping people return to work. Special thanks to the Village of Wisborough Green (United Kingdom) and a few very generous friends who contributed to the building of the project’s own health centre, which was officially opened on 18 January 2008.
Kalutara Day Project
As part of the Kalutara Project, SHARE operates a day centre at the health centre in Kalutara for clients with special needs. The day centre was inaugurated on 13 December 2010, initially with five clients and now there are eleven. Every Thursday, the clients are collected from their homes by our nursing team and spend the day at the health centre. The day starts with prayers and physical exercises and then they are given writing, singing/ dancing and handicraft lessons and also food. SHARE also organises special events such as Christmas and birthday parties. Their visits on Thursdays give the nursing team the opportunity to check their health, look after their needs and brighten their day. It is also an opportunity for their parents and carers to take a break from their demanding roles.
As for the other projects, SHARE offers free nursing care, support and financial assistance to the poor and the sick in these isolated villages.
Aim – To provide home based nursing care free of charge (as for all other SHARE projects) including support for the terminally ill with palliative care.
Locality – Alagollewa and eight local villages in the Anuradhapura District.
Model – The National Health Service of the United Kingdom’s District Nursing Service.
Beneficiaries – The extremely poor and sick people in these isolated and neglected villages.
Team – Same as for the Kotahena and Kalutara projects above.
The Community Health Service was inaugurated by Bishop Norbert Andradi, the Bishop of Anuradhapura on 31 January 2008. The nearest medical facilities are located 11 kilometres away. The patients do not visit the clinics as they do not have sufficient funds for transport and so our team provides a very necessary service.
It is very heartening to note that an increased awareness of the work that the SHARE Foundation undertakes in Sri Lanka has meant that an increasing number of people are willing to provide financial assistance which means the ability to treat more patients. A regular 300-315 patients are visited each by the nursing staff of the Alagollewa project.
Renal Dialysis Programme (Anuradapura)
SHARE provides financial help to support treatment, saving the lives of the most vulnerable and terminally ill who are suffering with chronic kidney disease.
On 2 February 2010, the SHARE Foundation officially launched the Renal Dialysis Programme in the North Central Province of Sri Lanka to help the most vulnerable and terminally ill who are suffering with chronic kidney disease. One out of ten people of the total population of 1.4 million in this province is affected with the disease, which often leads to renal failure and death. The majority of patients are young farmers who are the earners in the families. Consequently, their livelihoods are threatened and the family unit is further impoverished as some cannot as much as afford the bus fare to travel to the hospital for treatment.
The SHARE Foundation has been very fortunate to receive substantial financial help from the Philip King Charitable Trust in the United Kingdom which assists SHARE in saving the lives of patients at the Renal Dialysis Unit, Anuradhapura General Hospital. Together, we provide those who are most in need of assistance with financial support to assist transport, medication and dialysis or renal transplant surgery. We have provided 5 patients with surgery and had a success rate of 4 out of 5, with the successful patients resuming household activities. Each transplant surgery costs approximately LKR 400,000 (GBP 2000).
SHARE has also taken a step towards prevention and minimisation of the incidence of kidney disease in the area. The high content of heavy metals such as aluminium in the water in these areas and the contamination of the water supply with artificial fertilizers used for paddy cultivation have been identified as major contributory factors. SHARE has built ten “Sky Tanks”, which are water tanks which collect rain water and then decontaminate it by way of an inbuilt filtration system, for those who have been identified as most in need. Each tank costs LKR 70,000 (or GBP 350).
After the catastrophic events across Asia in December 2004, people donated over £22,000 to S-H-A-R-E and we helped 245 families to get back on their feet and regain their livelihoods in the Payagala District.
After the catastrophic events that descended across South East Asia on 26th December 2004, our nursing team in Payagala quickly became involved in helping the victims. The disaster was overwhelming and we became actively engaged in the relief programme by providing nursing care for the injured and sick.
Six months on and the people continued to live in temporary shelters, which are predominantly tents.
Once the first stage of providing emergency relief was attended to, it was important to address the problem of assisting the victims to return to work. We focussed on the area of our second project, which was previously planned and was set up in a poor fishing village thirty miles south of the capital Colombo.
We helped 245 families by giving them fishing boats and nets. Some of the boats were motorised and others were catamarans.
Through our Rehabilitation project, we supplied equipment and necessary stocks to assist the victims to regain their livelihoods. We continued our rehabilitation programme for 3 years.
Share livelihood Project in the East.
Our Foundation had been commissioned by a British Family Trust that wished to finance a livelihoods Project in Thirukkovil a Tsunami affected town in the east coast of Sri Lanka. One of our Trustees, Mohan Samarasinhe, was engaged in this project and visited the area for an assessment and initiated a micro-financing programme to help people return to work. Following on from this, Mohan is concentrating on a vocational training project for younger women on sewing, weaving and other skills. This programme has proved to be extremely effective and the participants have been producing high quality merchandise for sale.
The participants are so grateful for the help provided by the project. They are proud in their satisfaction of knowing that their lives are being transformed and that they are now taking stock of their lives again and regaining their livelihoods.
On behalf of the beneficiaries of all these projects, the trustees of the S-H-A-R-E Foundation wish to thank all those who have helped financially or otherwise. The Board of Management and the staff of Payagala will monitor those who received assistance and will continue to help them when necessary.