Ladies and Gentlemen all over the world,
This letter may have reached to you via a good friend of mine, through the Sputnik website or social media. Since you may not know me yet, please allow me to introduce myself to you and explain the objective behind writing to you now.
I am Eshantha Ariyadasa, the founder and chairman of the Sputnik Girls’ Children’s Home, where 20 orphaned, previously “abandoned and destitute” young girls are looked after and raised in a loving, healthy and safe environment.
Shortly after becoming a father of two girls myself, I suddenly became the father to 20 more “daughters” in 2007 when I established Sputnik Girls’ Home for the care of 20 young girls, who had been labelled as orphaned, abandoned and destitute. In 2012, I was honoured to be awarded the ‘Endeavour’ scholarship by the Australian government to follow a doctoral (PhD) degree. I carried out my PhD research into the life chances of nearly 20,000 young children who have been institutionalized in over 400 children’s homes in Sri Lanka.
During the 4 year research period (2012-2016), I presented a chapter of my thesis at a conference which took place in Berlin, Germany. Out of 67 PhD undergraduates, my address was awarded the Margret Mead Memorial Award for the most outstanding presentation. Since then, I have been putting my research and findings into practice in order to improve the way children are cared for in Children’s Homes in Sri Lanka.
For over 13 years we have been running our Sputnik Girls’ Home spending around 400,000.00 Rupees per month to meet our essential expenses such as the salaries for our 10 staff, maintenance costs, including electricity and gas, as well as the paramount expenditure on food, good health care and the education of the children.
Sadly, owing to the Covid-19 pandemic, our income from student enrollments at our Sputnik Japanese Campus, which is the main funder of the Girls’ Home, has dropped considerably. Hence, we find ourselves running the Girls’ Home on a greatly reduced income and now feel we must reach out to well-wishers all over the world for support. So, we decided to launch our ‘365’ Appeal, a search for 365 supporters to sponsor the children’s meals on just one day a year.
Providing our girls with the nutritious meals they need, costs LKR 10,000 – 15,000 every day, (approximately BP 50 / EURO 60 / USD 70 / AUD 80 / JPY 10,000). If you could pledge just one day per year to sponsor the Girls’ Home’s meals for that single day, it would help to free up our stretched resources to cover the other essential needs of running the Girls’ Home: the education, good health care and protection of our girls, as well as paying our dedicated staff’s salaries.
You can reserve one of the available dates using the link, sputnik.lk/365 and become the sponsor of all the meals on that particular day, just once every year. Your chosen day may be to mark a memorable date in your life or to celebrate your or a close relative’s birthday. We will be delighted and honoured to provide all that day’s meals in your name on your chosen day, every year. All the girls and staff will know that you are that day’s sponsor and we will send you photographs taken on your special day, as well as messages from the children and staff.
My goal was to start a socially deserving welfare project, using a portion of the income derived from the Sputnik Japanese Campus which I had founded in 2001. You might be wondering, then, why we decided to open a girls’ home. Here’s how it happened…
While searching for the most deserving project, I was informed by the Commissioner of Probation and Child Care services of the need for a girls’ children’s home for North Western province. I did not think twice. With the generous support of 43 of my Japanese friends, led by Ms. Junko Akisawa, first I was able to purchase 3.5 acres of land. Then, in order to raise the money necessary to build the Girls’ Home, we published and sold a children’s story book, named “Puluwan” (meaning “Can”, as in “can do”).
From the money raised by the book sales, we were able to inaugurate the Sputnik Girls’ Home on 16th November 2007, which was then officially registered and approved by the Department of Probation and Child Care Services (NWP/PCC/37).
Sputnik Girls’ Home has provided care and protection for 73 young girls since 2007, thanks to the income from the Sputnik Japanese Campus, foreign and local well-wishers, and the legal/administrative support backed by the government.
Over the past 13 years, Sputnik Girls’ Home has made some remarkable achievements. Here are just a few:
- Within less than 3 years of its establishment, Sputnik Girls’ Home was awarded the ‘Best Children’s Home’ accolade out of 37 homes in the North Western Province.
- In 2010, Sputnik Girls’ Home was declared an ‘A-grade Model Children’s Home’ by the Department of Probation and Child Care Services.
- One of our girls, Sachini, became one of only 8 students in the whole of Sri Lanka to win the ASIA KAKEHASHI scholarship to study in Japan for a period of one year. The scholarship was generously granted by the Japanese government.
- Many of our girls have won achievements over the years in both arts and sports competitions at divisional, district and national levels. However, we are equally proud of all our girls, whether they win medals or not.
- To improve the vocational skills of our children, we have started a special onsite training centre where we colour fabric using only natural pigments derived from herbs.
- In order to safeguard the future of our “daughters”, we have opened bank accounts for each one of them. Along with the support of kindhearted sponsors, we have been depositing 500.00 Rupees into each account every month.
OUR '365' APPEAL
If you are able to join our ‘365’ Appeal by sponsoring the Sputnik Girls’ Home meals on just one day a year, your support would make an invaluable contribution towards providing the nutrition and loving, professional care we offer our 20 resident girls, for many years to come.
To learn more about Sputnik Girls’ Home and the ‘365’ Appeal, please visit our website, www.sputnik.lk.
I also warmly invite you all to visit us in person here in Sri Lanka to witness the wellbeing of the children who are growing up under the care, protection and guidance of our dedicated staff, as well as the generous support from our friends all over the world.
We hope you can join us.
Dr. Eshantha Ariyadasa
Founder / Chairman
Sputnik Girls’ Children’s Home
Kanumale, Uhumeeya, Kurunegala, Sri Lanka.