As a Star Action supporter you are welcome to join us in Sri Lanka to see for yourself the extraordinary difference that simple, practical help can make to the lives of those we support.

Here two patrons record their experiences of seeing their good will in ‘Star’ action!


By Robert Boylan
Upon arriving at Bandanaraike Airport, Colombo from Mediterranean, Europe, I quickly realised I was not dressed appropriately for the somewhat humid climate.  I was greeted by Stuart, the Finance man for Star Action.  It felt good to be back in SL (this being my 4th visit – my third with SA) and I quickly re-adjusted to the chaos that fills the arrivals area.

Once we hit the road the unique Sri Lankan driving style kicks in.  With a coded series of honks on the horn cars overtake lorries and tuk-tuks and there is utter respect and understanding for all road users.  I have never seen an accident on any of my visits. With Buddha statues/ shrines, Hindu and Tamil temples, Churches and mosques everywhere there is certainly a feeling of being ‘’looked after’’ during the drive from a to b. Even when you are in the ‘’wrong’’ lane facing a large lorry you just know you are going to be safe as a driver allows you to pull in (something of a rarity in the UK!).

This trip had extra-special significance for, as well as travelling around with Jenny, Stuart and Liz – we were going to be celebrating a year of ‘’significant’’ birthdays.  Stuart’s 70th during our stay and a week later my 50th as well as Jogy (Shan’s Dad) passing the 70 mark earlier in the year and Liz (another SA donor) who reaches 70 later this year.

I arrived at Golden Sunset (in Negombo, West of the island) to be greeted by Liz, Shan (who manages the business there and is SA chauffeur and Sinhalese translator) and Jenny.

After some breakfast we chatted about the upcoming visit to some of the projects that SA sponsors.  Later that day we all visited the Little Temple to meditate and then view one of the many glorious sunsets that blessed our trip.

When we set out to visit the projects in the tsunami-hit eastern part of the Island it was evident that the roads had been improved since my last visit about 2 ½ years ago.

We met with Lal who I first met on my last visit.  He proudly showed me his chicks and his papaya, aubergine and chilli crops the planting of which had been made possible with SA donations . Lal is a very determined and motivated contact and as a village leader he aims to empower those in his community so that they can become business-people and generate a decent income for themselves to live on.  He is also adamant that children in his village are educated to become a stronger generation than his own.  Having survived the tsunami and also saved many lives by encouraging people to ‘’run for it’’ he appreciates greatly the opportunity that Star Action has given him and his community.  A new lease of life…

We visited a Hindu primary school where we were greeted by children who presented us with garlands.  I was humbled and a little embarrassed to be greeted in a way fit for official dignitaries.  A donation from SA supporters allowed the electricity to be connected from the outside boundary so that they could have light to read by and use their computer.  The headmaster was very appreciative and we were touched by the applause from the young pupils.

We then went to a long open building in Mankerny where the two teachers, Kowsika and Sneeha, educate 55 young pupils.   There we were presented with more garlands. SA donors contribute towards their salary and another SA supporter paid for them to have a bike each so that they could travel easily.

We visited a very poor fishing village, located in the West of the island, where SA supporters have paid for private toilets to be built for a number of the homes.  This simple act gives families better health and dignity.  Previously people were using the beach.

Our next stop was to a lady called Pawalam whose only words in English are ‘’Good Morning.’’  She repeats this over and over.  In an effort to say ‘’thank you’’ we got ‘’Good morning.’’ When we were leaving we were bid farewell with enthusiastic handshakes and ‘’Good morning, good morning, good morning.’’  It brought a smile to our faces.  A generous SA donor paid to have a small two-room house built for this lady as her original home was washed away in the tsunami.  Her husband also died in the catastrophe. Another donor bought her a table, chairs and some mats so that she and her children could sleep comfortably.

Another lady, Sudharsini, told us that she had been selling all the clothes that she had made using a sewing machine that had been donated by SA.

Stuart provided a woman called Selvarani with a water pum.  The Pump is to supply her vegetable farm away from the well and to grow the food for her 6 dependents. Additionally, Samanthi, a new Mother, and her 6 day-old baby had to use a neighbour’s lavatory and didn’t even have a water supply of her own.  SA is rectifying that immediately.

The most unusual request of the visit was from a woman, called Santini, whose husband had ‘’gone walkabouts’’ leaving her to rear their two young children and she wondered if SA could buy her a….cow!  She would then breed calves and they in turn would go into the community. She also said she could sell the milk to the dairy to feed herself and her two children.  She was very articulate as we sat and listened (via Lal who translated from her Tamil into Sinhalese and then Shan translating into English!) to her explaining the process of how to go about this business starting with artificial insemination!

So, as you can see the visits are productive and change lives. All the money donated goes directly to those who are in great need.  Potential recipients are always considered.  Sometimes there is an urgency about the request and Stuart and Jenny make on-the-spot decisions about what to give there and then so that projects can swing into action immediately.

As supporters of SA we pay for our flights, our accommodation, meals and car hire/petrol from our own pockets so that money donated is not wasted on administration.  There is a lot to be said for supporting a small charity.  There is complete transparency that you don’t always get with larger charities.

So, to close I would like to say if you are already donating to a charity that gives overseas aid and support, when you come to renew your donation please consider switching to SA.  You can donate to a general fund where your money will be used for projects in Sri Lanka, India and Africa.  Or you can ask for a list of specific projects and request that your donation be spent on one that you resonate with.

And, if you haven’t started charitable giving, even a small donation to SA which you won’t notice every month will have a dramatic positive impact on the lives of others.

PS.  The birthday party was fun and the food delicious…



By Liz Vicary

In Star Action country once again—it was a privilege to be able to accompany Jenny and Stuart on visits to projects and to meet once again the wonderfully resilient and enterprising people that Star Action supports.

What fun to go to the bicycle shop in Valechennai and buy bikes for the two lovely young teachers, Sneeha and Kowsika, and to see their happy faces; to see basic furniture loaded into a tuk-tuk for Pawalam; and to visit my toilet family. However, it is always a little saddening to listen to the various ‘wish lists’ of so many poor people, always asking for things we take for granted, and wishing for a magic wand.  But a little goes a long way in Sri Lanka and the recipients of our gifts are so smilingly grateful.

My visit was enhanced by the wonderful comfort and hospitality received at the ‘Golden Sunset’ Guest House, run with kindness and efficiency by Shan and his family. Nothing was too much trouble and the food produced by chef Noel was endlessly delicious.  I recommend it most warmly.






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