Asha Trust (Sri Lanka)

Asha Trust's primary goal is to empower local people to build ladders out of poverty. We aim to do this by Participation/ Listening... we will listen to those we assist, recognizing that they have the right to create their own ladders out of poverty. We recognise that our role is not to 'help people' rather to help people to help themselves. We will ensure that there are many ways for people's voices to be heard, and we will work hard to seek out the voices of those who are on the margins. Accountable... we will be accountable to trustees and appropriate regulatory bodies, funders, and those we seek to serve. Transparency...we will be open and honest at all times. We will share the key...

Asha Trust (Sri Lanka)
141 Capel Road
London, London E7 0JT
United Kingdom
+442085539175
http://www.ashatrust.co.uk

Board of Directors

Stephen Carrick-Davies, Therese Radhika Bynon, Stephen A Bynon, Glenda Abbott, Gary Ewer

Project Leaders

Shyla Bynon

Mission

Asha Trust's primary goal is to empower local people to build ladders out of poverty. We aim to do this by Participation/ Listening... we will listen to those we assist, recognizing that they have the right to create their own ladders out of poverty. We recognise that our role is not to 'help people' rather to help people to help themselves. We will ensure that there are many ways for people's voices to be heard, and we will work hard to seek out the voices of those who are on the margins. Accountable... we will be accountable to trustees and appropriate regulatory bodies, funders, and those we seek to serve. Transparency...we will be open and honest at all times. We will share the key principles of our work with beneficiaries as well as funders and regulatory bodies Learning... we will seek to be a learning organisation. We will demonstrate this by encouraging staff to be well trained and to keep learning. We will regularly reflect on the progress of our work and learn lessons from what has taken place. We will instill a 'no blame' culture, believing that people are doing the best they can with the resources they have. Instead of blaming we will seek to learn lessons from 'mistakes and problems'. Partnership... we will work hard at creating altentic partnerships with local organisations. WE will work with others with similar aims, recognizing that we are ''better together'', bringing mutual benefit to all partners Empower..we will seek to empower local people and staff though training and capacity building, making sure that they are equipped to play a full role in shaping the work and fulfil their role to the best of their ability. We will seek to share power to the lowest possible level , enabling staff and local people to make their own decisions, within the boundaries of each project. Respect...we will work with all communities. we have the highest expectations that all staff, trustees or volunteers will give respect to all people regardless of ethnicity, religion, disability, or any other reason. We will also seek to instil this within the communities where we work. Peace & reconciliation... within the context of Sri Lanka we recognise the great need for peace to be built and for reconciliation. Although we may not work within the conflict areas we are aware that the whole country has been affected by war, and many hold war like attitudes towards other Sri Lankans. Asha Trust will seek to build peace amongst everyone we come into contact with, starting with ourselves, the staff and trustees. We will actively support partners working within the north and east of the country with moral and practical support where we are able.

Programs

Asha Trust works in communities where the housing and other facilities are poor. Many of the families arrived in this challenging area as a result of displacement during the long-running war. Finding work is a daily struggle and many people earn less than 1 a day. These communities face multiple challenges, made more difficult by the fact that many of the men in the Atthidiya area are drug users or in prison. Our community workers support them to develop solutions, restoring hope and building ladders out of poverty. We support a Day Care Centre which provides a pre school nursery which is a lifeline to many families as it allows the mothers to go out to work. We have also provided seed money for a small business enterprise run by local women who prepare and package spices. As well as generating an income, this project has given these women many new skills. We also support a Young Mothers Project in Athidiya, serving the teenage mothers. The project provides nutritional supplements for both mother and baby and runs sessions on weaning, child development and health information. The Young Mothers Project also provides a peer support group for these young women, creating a strong circle of support which the workers hope will continue for years to come. The workers are highly conscious that without support, there is every chance that both these young women and their babies will face grinding poverty and increasing health and social difficulties. As well as providing information, practicial support and a strong network, the workers also help the young women to develop employment skills and opportunties for income generation, through sewing groups, craft activities and packaging spices to help them become economically independent. In Sri Lanka children often attend after school booster classes in order to pass exams. The children in Athidiya cannot afford to access these classes so many fail their exams. Asha Trust supports an After School Tuition programme that promotes equality of opportunity among a group of highly disadvantaged young people. The after school clubs are run daily and not not only improve the children's chances of doing well at school but also provides them a safe place to go, and enables them to build relationships with trusted, consistent adults to guide and support them. The After School programme also enables their parents to go out to work. Asha Trust also support the local school that many of the children from Athidiya attend. In Sri Lanka education is free but this school, serving a poor community, is markedly under resourced. We have provided pupils access to drinking water, because the Head Teacher when asked said lack of drinking water was a pressing problem. We have refurbished the toilets and provided computers and computer training for staff. Teachers told us that children come to school hungry, and some children would sometimes faint during lessons. Asha Trust now provides a daily Breakfast Club for the entire primary phase. We also learned that pupils often miss school because they dont have shoes, and we have not set up a "shoe fund". Recognising that good attendance is key to effective learning, we support an attendance rewards scheme, which has encouraged improved attendance, which in turn is contributing to raising standards. The Trust also run elders projects in several communities, supporting frail and isolated elders with a befriending service. Elders are visited regularly by a local community worker, and provided them with essential food items and ensure that they have access to healthcare. Most importantly, these regular visits provide these isolated people crucial friendship and support. In all these projects, Asha Trust works through highly skilled, committed community workers who receive no other support. They serve a community where resources are scarce and the infrastructure poor. They work to help local people to develop their own solutions. We also support RCCI, a special needs school which offers specialist education for children with speech and language difficulties and are working with this school to establish a special needs project for the families in Athidiya, where there is a disproportionate number of children with disabilities. The special needs project, offering play sessions and a toy library, is led by teachers at RCCI and provides the only structured activity available to these children.

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