SRI was founded after the Tsunami of December 2004 and is registered as a Non Governmental Organization (NGO) in Sri Lanka, a Charitable Trust in Hong Kong and a Charity in the UK.
Our initial mission was to dispense aid to Tsunami-affected areas, but over time this has evolved into the provision of long-term educational resources and opportunities for disadvantaged children.
We have five Directors, two of whom are based in London and three in Hong Kong. None of us receives a salary and we all cover our own travel and administrative expenses.
One of SRI’s main aims is to make sure that every dollar raised is spent in Sri Lanka on Sri Lankans.
Our office is situated in Tissamaharama (about 20 minutes inland from the South Eastern seaport of Hambantota) and we have consciously remained in this one area because we believe we can only respond to the community’s needs if we are truly a part of it.
We have nine members of staff and three are based in the office – a Project Manager, Project Officer and Finance Manager/Computer Teacher.
The other six all work at a regional community computer centre we built and run in nearby Mahasenpura School. Here there is a Manager/Computer Teacher, three Computer Teachers and two security guards. All are from the local area and the two security guards are both parents at the school.
Over the past five years, we have completed projects in almost 50 schools in the Hambantota region, working alongside the Department of Education to identify those in need of help.
Nearly all these schools are very poorly provisioned. Classrooms do not have windows or doors and equipment normally consists of just the desks and chairs, with few books and teaching aids.
This area of Sri Lanka has historically received little NGO funding and we have received a very warm welcome – not because our cash is viewed as a handout, but as a much-appreciated opportunity that enables children to make the most of their potential.