It’s been a big year for us. In January, we raised $17,000 in individual donations to start a model organic farm and farmer training center to combat unsafe chemical-intensive agriculture, one of the root causes of kidney disease in Sri Lanka. The project is progressing quickly- check out this video to see for yourself!
In May, we mobilized fast to support immediate and long-term community-led relief efforts from the severe floods and landslides in Sri Lanka. The floods and landslides were the country’s worst natural disaster since the tsunami, taking many lives and lives of hundreds of thousands of people, and Sarvodaya mobilized quickly on the ground to evacuate people from flooded areas and provide immediate relief to families who lost their homes and belongings in the floods with food, clothing and shelter.
In October, we hosted a Mandala event in Madison, Wisconsin, bringing together members from the community in a peaceful ritual.
We brought on three new, young board members to our organization and are renewing our continued partnerships with Sarvodaya Sri Lanka and Teach for Nepal to strengthen the vision for our futures together.
Our annual appeal this year will support two projects in Sri Lanka: the Sri Tissapura Organic Farm and Farmer Training Center and the Sarvodaya Institute of Higher Learning.
The Sri Tissapura Organic Farm is close to being a self-sustaining project, with the first season of cultivation starting to bear crops that are being sold at markets locally and in Colombo. We are lucky to have a committed, talented team working on the ground to support the farm, composed of an external resource person, a farm manager, and farm assistants. Our fundraising campaign this year aims to support the community engagement goal of the farm, offering workshops and training programs to local farmers to learn chemical-free farming methods and develop their understanding of the broader global perspective on the benefits of ecological farming, both for human health and for the environment. Our campaign will also support the physical center itself, which was heavily damaged during the Civil War and has not been fully repaired since. Having one of the larger buildings repaired will allow the center to host longer trainings where farmers can come from different regions and stay for several days to learn novel ecological farming techniques. Eventually, we would like to establish a certificate program for rural youth to learn organic farming as well. Rebuilding this center is the foundation of being able to offer more in-depth trainings to truly transform Sri Lankan agriculture.
Earlier this month a training program was hosted at the farm, where 32 officers attached to the local government, police force, army officers, ministry of health officials, and school teachers learned about the Sarvodaya approach to chemical free farming and chronic kidney disease of unknown origin. Our skilled and talented resource persons from MONLAR, our partner organization, hosted the training event.
The farm recently had a visitor from Malaysia, ecological farming expert Mr. Ivan Ho. He shared strategies of non-violent farming where all living beings- plants, animals, and humans, can coexist in harmony. Mr. Ivan shared a few earth friendly farming methodologies, including the clay pot water conservation system. His visit encouraged the local farmers to transform their farming practices and ignited a deep love and sense of gratitude towards mother earth.
The Sri Tissapura center is part of the larger network and platform of the Sarvodaya Institute of Higher Learning (SIHL), Sarvodaya's new development education initiative which offers innovative, modern and forward thinking perspectives on holistic education to support a democratic and healthy country. Our annual appeal this year will also support education programs community leadership, conflict resolution and community nutrition through the SIHL. The SIHL aims to address emerging cultural and social issues through training new leaders to be able to address the challenges of solving problems in today's quickly changing world. We at Sarvodaya USA are happy and proud to support these community education programs.
Please consider including Sarvodaya USA as part of your end of year giving to support the great work that's being done on the ground to advance the health and well being of the most disadvantaged members of Sri Lankan society. We are honored to share their great work with all of you and grateful for the support of our generous donors!