Goals of the project

The Goal of their project is to: 1. provide school materials, 2. give prizes to the best students in each class and university scholarships to bright students, 3. help destitute girls, 4. give lectures on science and health, 5. promote sustainable development for women in tea plantations.

1. School materials


In March 2009 the Oak Foundation provided a CHF 17,000- grant to the school for the purchase of laboratory, IT, library, music, auditorium and classroom equipment. These have been a huge help to the school. But the IT department is still lacking computers; an additional 5 laptops are needed.

2. Prizes and Scholarships


The students are very motivated, curious and eager to advance their education. However, they do not have the means to attain higher education. Many of the girls are extremely bright but they are too poor to pay for university education.

Our overall objective is to help these girls attain their education goals in the following ways:

Prize giving


To motivate girls to obtain better grades we have funded prizes for the best students in each class. This has usually amounted to a cash prize of about CHF 20- for each girl and a few books and a medal. This event has been very successful and motivating for the girls, teachers and parents.

Scholarships


The goal is to provide university scholarships to bright students. Each scholarship would cover the full cost of tuition, textbooks, food and lodging.

The ability to attend university and achieve a higher education is beyond the reach of most students in southern Sri Lanka, even if they graduate from high school. Some girls attempt to enter university by using family savings or borrowing from relatives. Many of these students do not have enough money for food and housing and they eventually are forced to leave as the expenses become too great.

This project would be an annual initiative designed to recognize the enterprising spirit of girls ages 15 to 18. The applicants must be seeking an undergraduate degree from an accredited four-year university program. Scholarship awards will be based primarily on financial need and previous achievements for girls who earned their high school diploma.

The annual competition would honor girls who have excellent academic records, leadership experience on and off campus. A group of students will be chosen from the applicant pool and scholarships will be awarded based on the strength of each candidate's academic background and demonstrated leadership. The scholarships would be renewable for up to four years.

In order to receive these scholarships, a student must submit an application, and pass an interview conducted by Ann and Gabor Kato. The students will be chosen based on their desire to gain a higher education and help their community, their past academic performance, current financial need and English speaking ability.

Tuition, lodging and food for one year of university costs approximately CHF 3,000-. (Annual family income is in the range of CHF 500-).

Sponsor a student for one year of university: CHF 3,000-
Sponsor a student for 4 years: CHF 12,000-.

3. Sponsorship of two girls for higher education


During the past two years (2013-2015), our objective has been to sponsor two girls from the Sri Sumangala Girls' College (Mathisha Sanathani and Vidushi Chandraprabha) to attend university. Mathisha is studying Business Management at SLIIT (Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology). She will take her BBA degree (Bachelor of Business Administration) in 2017.

Vidushi is studying Electrical Engineering at the ICBT campus (International College of Business and Technology) offering an HND (Higher National Diploma). She will take her B.Eng (honors) degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering in 2016.

In 2014, Proctor & Gamble donated 2,500- CHF for one year of University fees.

4. Lectures


The students at the Sri Sumangala Girls' College do not have access to western level of education. We are hoping to set an example by giving lectures on modern science, health and general knowledge. During he last 2 years we have given a series of lectures in Weligama, Colombo and Jaffna. In each of these cities a one-day introductory program in Basic Neuroscience was given to raise the awareness of the brain and its potential applications in health and disease.

5. Sustainable Development for Women in Tea Plantations


Many of the girls that we have sponsored have now graduated from University. We have now focused on projects that support the empowerment of women by enabling them to gain independence, improve their livelihood and promote the position of women in Sri Lanka. One new project concerns the sustainable development of women working in tea plantations. Our goal is to improve their living conditions, health and the education of their children. Most women in the hill country of Sri Lanka work as tea pluckers. They are extremely poor and earn $5 per day. They are malnourished, in ill health and are often abused. Our goal is to train these women to produce alternate products such as coffee, lavender, vegetables, fruits and herbs, grown under organic conditions, to replace tea and sell them to local markets in Sri Lanka and throughout the world.

Our partner Lawrence Goldberg has 30 years organic farming experience and has created Sunrise Farms that is an organic demonstration farm situated in the center of Nuwara Eliya town. This area of Sri Lanka is known for its heavy agrichemical use (https://sunrisefarms.goodmarket.global). He is also the founder and director of Hansa Ceylon Coffee (pvt) Ltd, a speciality company selling coffee in Sri Lanka (http://srilankacoffee.com).

Our second partner, Steve Francone, has management and marketing experience in promoting organic products in Sri Lanka as well as experience in sustainable agriculture. He is a co-founder and Director of Good Market (www.goodmarket.lk; www.goodmarket.global), a social enterprise based in Sri Lanka and the USA.

Our team will provide organic agricultural know-how, management, accounting, marketing and selling skills to make this project a success.

Vidushi, Gabor, Mathisha and Ann (Nuwara Eliya, January 2015)

Students learning to use a computer


School entrance with assistant, principal and Ann

A typical classroom