Happy New Year
Our dear Supporters of Star Action,
As we begin this New Year season we are writing to thank you for all your wonderful support of Star Action throughout 2011. We are really delighted at the progress which has been made in the completion of our building for the Vocational Training Centre in Asiakwa, Ghana, the subject of our appeal to you at the beginning of the year.
Our Star Action representatives for our work in West Africa, Hamida and Fred Bote-Kwame write:
‘We are delighted to announce that the building work is now completed, the plumbing work, septic tank and toilet facilities have been put in place. Just the painting and some minor finishing touches are outstanding.
We have come a long way since the beginning of this project and we thank all our sponsors for making this possible, and especially our major donors for the funds for the final work on the electrical wiring and for the provision of water.
We send you season’s greetings and good wishes for a blessed 2012. Your gift of joy to Asiakwa village will bring joyous blessings to you in return. We’re all one human family.’
Hamida and Frederick have just returned to Ghana to continue the next phase of this exciting project of vocational training provision for young people in Asiakwa. While there, they will be have discussions with relevant departments of the government, about provision of learning equipment and for support about the provision of the right teachers/trainers for the Centre.
Our STB (Save the Babies) Family
Here is an extract from Katie Neil’s report about ‘her family’ after her visit with them in May:
‘There is never enough time for a visit like, this to my ‘other’ family and we packed as much in as we could during the 10 days in May. It was my first chance to see the new house that we began to rent over a year ago, which is the best we have had to date and one which makes Richard and Sasees’ job a little easier. The three older boys, Samuraj, Raja and Kumar, having finished their initial catering training in Rajastan, were working in hotels in Tirunelveli to increase their experience. This includes serving at weddings. Soon they will all embark on their careers in Chennai, Tamil Nadu’s large capital. They will come home for holidays and still fancy the idea of starting their own restaurant nearby in the future. These are the first of our family to leave home for work, and it hardly seems possible that three of them are already grown-up and responsible. Following hard on their heels is Devi. Devis is older and has stayed at school to do her ‘A’ levels (Plus 2 in Tamil Nadu). She has done very well and gained enough marks to qualify for a Nursing Degree, and we are delighted that kind sponsors have come forward to pay for this. The younger children are all doing well—happy and secure in Richard and Sasees’ wonderful care.’
Since Kate’s visit in May, there have been further developments because sadly the owner of the rented property where our family is currently housed,wants to take it over himself, and so we are in the process of purchasing a small piece of land to build our very own STB House. The cost of this land is being generously met by some major donors, to whom we are most grateful. We will be giving you more detailed information about the progress of the new building as soon as we can, but meanwhile our little family will be housed in other rented accommodation in the best way we are able. Because of these developments, we have not yet been able to move further ahead with the Old People’s project, or our hoped for scheme for providing one hot meal a day to the needy in Sri Vaigunbam is also temporarily ‘on hold’.
EDUCATION SPONSORSHIP – INDIA & SRI LANKA
We are very happy to report that thanks to dedicated sponsorship from some Star Action supporters, we have now been able to continue our Higher Education sponsorship for particularly gifted children.
In India our lovely Devi, who was one of our first STB children, coming into our care when she was only 6 years of age, has done so well with her school education that she has been able to go forward for her nursing training, as described in Kate’s report.
In Sri Lanka we are now sponsoring two gifted pupils who have graduated from the little school in Kayankerny (where we are giving further support, see later). These two are studying now in the town of Valachennai and we are hoping they will be able to go on to University. There are other children in Sri Lanka awaiting further sponsorship now and if you are interested in helping a specific child in this way, please let us know. To give an example of the sums involved, the two children from Kayankerny are costing Star Action £30 a month for their sponsorship.
NEWS OF OUR OTHER PROJECTS IN SRI LANKA
Papaya Growing – Excellent ‘Cash Crop’
During our visit last February we encouraged Lal (now our East Coast Star Action agent) to go ahead with his ‘Papaya Growing project’. With Star Action money he is clearing and fencing a large area in his village for this excellent Community project. He is buying the specially propagated, hardy and fast yield papaya plants, and offering other families in the village the opportunity to have their own piece of land to care for. We are working on the irrigation aspect of this, which we hope to link with the water project—see following.
Kayankerni Water Project
Linked to the Papaya project is this new school water project. Having successfully completed the project at Kalpitya (on the North-West coast, we are now glad to be able to go ahead with this one, again to help a school have a fresh water supply.
Although Rohan (our Star Action agent for a number of years now) has had to move back to Columbo, (following his marriage in March, his bride is not happy living in their rather remote and desolate area!), we are continuing to monitor our projects here, and will report back after our February visit.
New Projects in Sri Lanka
Although we will continue to offer to support the individual families that we have now in our care—and we still feel this is an important part of our work—we are changing our policy with regard to small business loans. We will no longer be making Star Action loans to one individual, but concentrating our resources on community based projects such as the ones Lal is engaged in now. We feel this is the best use of donated funds at the present time, now the first aftermath of the tsunami suffering, which deeply affected so many individual families, has passed.
Obviously fund raising continues to be an important aspect of our work and we have various special Fund Raising endeavours in the planning stage. What we are really trying to do is to reach out to a wider contact base, so that we are not asking the same people to keep giving all the time! Please do let us know if you have any Fund Raising ideas that could appeal to a different circle of friends, and please give us email addresses of your friends we can add to our ‘circulation list’. Thank you.
Click on Donate to go to our DONATIONS page explaining the various ways you can help Star Action and if you wish to donate, just click on the VIRGIN MONEY GIVING icon and follow the simple steps.
A friend of one of our key Star Action supporters is a website designer who is kindly volunteering her services free to Star Action to redesign our current website. An important aspect of this new site will be the ability to manage it ourselves on a day-to-day basis and, therefore, allow us to upload news and information as and when it happens. We hope our new ‘bright and shiny’ website will be up and running in the New Year, and together with our Facebook, Twitter and YouTube links we are very excited about achieving better and stronger communication with our friends and supporters.’
Do let us know if there is any specific area of our work in which you have particular interest and would like to know more.
With much appreciation of all your support and good wishes for the Christmas and New Year season ahead.
on behalf of Star Action Trustees