15 years after the desastrous tsunami

December, 26th 2019

15 years after the catastrophe: Exactly on December 26, 2004, on 2nd Christmas Day, the disastrous tsunami broke out, flooded large parts of Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka, even parts of the African east coast and claimed a total of approximately 230,000 lives. That was the trigger for our project work at schools in Sri Lanka, initiated by the late Lord Mayor of Neuwied, Nikolaus Roth and our former manager, Mr. Sagara Abegunewardene, who died on last New Year’s Day 2019, and whom we think of with gratitude today. Neuwied-Matara Friendship Association has always been active since that time and clearly shows that early help was not a flash in the pan, but that all of us in this community are still burning and interested in continuing the projects that have already helped many people, families, children, schools, … to tackle their lives and shape their future.
On the fourth Sunday in Advent, I reported on our projects and sponsorship work in the parish church of St. Georg in Urmitz-Rhein (my home village). Instead of a sermon, visitors heard how it all started and how many projects have already been implemented. A small flyer provided the most important information and contact details. The collection will be made available to our Association for its further work in Matara-Sri Lanka. Fortunately, some individual donations have already been received. Thank you very much for that.
Our goddaughter Ridmi, who has been living with us for 18 months and is following her dual studies, lost her father in the course of this disaster 15 years ago and had become an orphan on that very day. So, her first visit today, was to the Buddhist Center in Wassenach, where she could pray and commemorate according to the Buddhist rite.
In her host family, of course, German Christmas is really celebrated with a Christmas tree, family meals and gifts. But some Buddhists in Sri Lanka also like our customs that accompany the Christmas season. Of course, it will be difficult in Sri Lanka to find a real Christmas tree, which can only be represented by a small plastic tree due to the lack of conifers.
For scholarship student Nethra, who, two days ago, received the long-awaited desk, chair and shelf from her German godfather Andreas, it must have been like surprising Christmas presents for us. And that all this was exactly matching  on Christmas Eve, was also a wonderful present for the godfather – as he said – … “because the joy we give is returning to our hearts!”

Good development for three helpful projects

December, 10th 2019

Construction work of the three projects continues. It is nice and satisfying to see that the local coordinators in Matara are pushing ahead constructions works with the necessary measures without us having to be always present as Neuwied-Matara-Friendship Association. Mr. Ajith with his family of five is in the new house now, and it looks – in a customary manner – quite colourful. But it means their “own four walls” that makes parents, children and German sponsors happy.

In Achini’s case there will be some delay, because her mother literally needs to keep her feet still because of her broken leg, and her father, well, you do not know exactly what’s going on. Building materials are already there at place, and now works should continue. The roof is still missing and the completion of several interior and exterior items, too, before Achini can use her own little empire, which the German godfather wants to make possible by his generous donation. Maybe it just takes a little longer. We will look after it!

And with Chamidi’s small washroom, progress is clearly visible. Where there was a rough-and-ready ladder last week, there are now solid concrete steps, and the walls clearly show what it’s all about: a small, fine room with a toilet, sink and shower. Chamidi’s father is a good craftsman and reliable compatriot. We are convinced that the donation of the German godparents is used here very meaningfully and responsibly.

Many thanks and appreciation for the regular support of all godparents, especially for school items, is expressed in the letters that arrived today in a collection of letters sent by teacher Mrs. Isha to Neuwied. The older students can use their English skills well, the younger write in Sinhalese. (My godchild Ridmi, who has been living with me for some time now and successfully does her dual studies in Koblenz, can translate these letters meanwhile into good German.)

We all in our Friendship Association truly hope that our meaningful work for forty of the neediest children at Anura College can continue by means of support granted by individual sponsors. Of course, we are still looking for generous helpers and new sponsors, because the waiting list in Matara is long. Who wants to help, can easily do that with a donation to IBAN: DE 58574501200030041800, keyword “godparenthood”. Donation receipt will be given, of course.


Big God – Parents – meeting in Neuwied

November, 25th 2019

(Please, see pictures in German version.) On Sunday, November 24, Neuwied-Matara friendship Association in Neuwied invited godparents to the annual godparents’ meeting, which was attended by numerous sponsors who wanted to hear about their 40 or so protégés at Anura College in Matara, Sri Lanka.
In a big photo show, all the godparents could see how “their children”, have been promoted for several years, have developed, in outward appearance – but also in their educational career, and what special features are important to report about the respective families. There were reports about difficult living conditions in words and pictures, but also on positive occurrences, caused by the continuous support, which was and will be provided by the German godparents.
Several new sponsorships that could be started during the last six months were presented to the audience, and many poignant stories were told that led to accepting children into this sponsorship program. (The waiting list is still long!)
The second chairwoman, Edeltrud Pinger, who visited Anura College, his students, parents and teachers for the 18th time in June 2019, made clear in her moderation how useful these sponsorships are for the economically weakest and how much joy and energy can be set free when being offered better future prospects by means of this program.
This necessary work is supported by many: Even the first Chairman Bernd Mertgen, who visited the island more than thirty times, was back in February 2019 in Matara and visited Anura College. So you could see him in the photo presentation, as he gave the big new game device, a climbing tower with ladder, tunnel and slide to the children of the pre-school class,  a gift from the patroness of the Friendship Association, Honorable Princess Sophie Charlotte of Neuwied.
In addition, some German sponsors visited their godchildren in Matara when travelling to the Indian Ocean. They were able to see by themselves of how structured, meaningful and helpful the support of the children is carried out. Coordinators at school are an important link and are in constant contact with the second chairperson. What’s app and emails have tremendously shortened the way and can quickly make necessary decisions.
At the end of this meeting, big, sincere thanks went out to all godparents, who not only make a donation once, but accompany the children through their schooldays for years, financially, but also through letters and small gifts, thereby providing greater more security and greater opportunities in future.

Lots of thanks – Bohome istuti!


God parents’ Meeting – next Sunday

November, 19th 2019

Hopefully, all of our godparents who support scholarship students at Anura College in Matara, Sri Lanka, will remember “our godparents’ meeting”, Sunday, November 24th at 4:30 pm in Neuwied. The invitations have been sent for so long – so here’s a little reminder. There will be a big photo-show and lots of information about each child and the ongoing projects. We are all looking forward to your coming and joining us. And if you still have some time (and – may be – you are hungry), you are welcome to stay in the restaurant for dinner. There are certainly interesting topics to talk about. Ayubowan!

In silent and grateful memory

October, 25th 2019

Neuwied-Matara Friendship Association commemorates with appreciation and gratitude its 1st President from 2005 – 2010,  Mr. Hans Dieter Deckert, retired District Administrator,

who died on 17 October 2019 in Mainz.

Hans Dieter Deckert was involved in our activities from the first moment in 2005, took over the chairmanship and used his life experience, his knowledge and his contacts to initiate and continuously accompany the work in the projects in schools in Matara, Sri Lanka ,
Even after giving up the presidency in 2010, he remained loyal to our association as a member and subsequently supported a godchild at Anura College. (The picture shows him on the very left, together with the first board of Neuwied-Matara-Friendship-Association of 2005)

We will keep Mr. Deckert, his commitment as 1st Chairman during the first five years of our association’s existence and his loyalty and membership until his last hour in appreciative memory.