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Investing in Communities to Conserve Elephants

by Trunks & Leaves Inc.
Investing in Communities to Conserve Elephants
Investing in Communities to Conserve Elephants
Investing in Communities to Conserve Elephants
Investing in Communities to Conserve Elephants
Investing in Communities to Conserve Elephants
Investing in Communities to Conserve Elephants
Investing in Communities to Conserve Elephants
Investing in Communities to Conserve Elephants
Investing in Communities to Conserve Elephants
Investing in Communities to Conserve Elephants

Dear Sponsors,

Today we bring you an update on the preschools that have progressed the furthest on their upgrades, thanks to your support.

We begin with Rainbow Preschool, where teacher Taniya Dilrukshi cares for 10 children. They installed a new sign and purchased a sound system to play music. In celebration of these gifts and the nature around them, the kids put on a little performance dressing up as flowers, bees and butterflies. The total expenditure for creating this joy was just $195.

At Mithuru Preschool, Ms. Chamila Krishanthi is responsible for 20 children. They were thrilled to have new wooden desks and chairs to replace the plastic ones they had been using, new cupboards, a set of swings and a climbing structure for the playground. The total for all of this was $585.


In July, we were also pleased to host Global Giving Fellow Uma Thiagarajan on a site visit. She was able to visit both the national park and participating schools. We are very excited that this now makes us a Site Visit Verified and fully vetted GG partner! Here's what she had to say:

"Trunks and Leaves is an unique organisation working to conserve wildlife and also invest the nearby communities in understanding the need for conservation. The team at T&L is very limited, yet the passion with which they work is very inspiring. Wishing Dr.Shermin and the team good luck in their future projects!"

And there's one more thing - do you or someone you know live in the greater San Diego Area? Then be sure to visit our in-person event: An Evening with Elephants, 5pm on November 2nd at EVE Encinitas (575 S Coast Hwy 101, Encinitas, CA 92024). This 2-hour event will feature:

  • A screening of the 2013 BBC Documentary "Sri Lanka, Elephant Island" featuring Shermin de Silva & Martyn Colbeck.
  • Q&A with T&L Founder Shermin de Silva
  • A kick-off of our end-of-the-year fundraiser for this Global Giving Project, with a silent auction, fine art, a first look at merchandise to support the cause, and other goodies!

You can stay tuned on Facebook or visit our homepage for ticketing and other information!

Please take a look at the attached photos, and share this project with your friends and family. Every little bit helps!

On behalf of myself and my team, thank you and have a wonderful day!

In March-April we surveyed 300 households in villages between two national parks, Udawalawe and Lunugamwehera. The goal of the survey was to document socioeconomic conditions, experiences with elephants, and understand people's attitudes towards elephants as well as their perceptions of risk. These are communities that we intend to work with longer-term, so the surveys are an important means of getting to know them.

We identified 11 pre-schools in this round that we hope to sponsor with your help. The children are all 3-5 years old. As before, we were very impressed at how the teachers strive to foster a bright and creative learning environment using whatever they have on hand!

In May, we returned to each school to assess their specific needs. These include simple low-cost items such as books ($30 for one classroom), to larger investements such as toilets ($1300 for a school).

In the updated project page, you can find a complete list of the schools with photographs and list of needs. It's also included as an attachment. Could you please share our project with others you know who might also like to support these kids and teachers?

Thank you for your support!


This project has two components:

1)    Understanding how elephants and people share space

Using camera traps, we are able to observe how people, elephants and other animals are using landscapes outside protected areas. We have deployed more than 20 cameras over fourteen months so far and are working our way up to 40. The hundreds of photos show that elephants frequently occur on private lands. This includes herds with calves, which are mostly active at night so as to avoid people. On the one hand, this is good news because it shows how adaptable elephants are in being able to continue surviving on land that is heavily used by people. On the other hand this exposes them to lots of risks. We've enlisted the help of the School of Computing from the University of Colombo to help us sort and analyze the photographs.

2)    Supporting communities living with elephants

Six schools were supported in the first round of fundraising (GG project 33222). At the end of the Sri Lankan school year in December 2018 we had a very special visitor who brought a wealth of Montessori training material to donate to each school and conducted a crash course on Positive Discipline with all the teachers. In January, the start of the school year, the materials were distributed to each school. In February we started a fresh survey of new communities and schools to include in the program and expect to complete this assessment by mid-March.

Please see attached document for the full report with photographs.



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Organization Information

Trunks & Leaves Inc.

Location: Newtonville, MA - USA
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @AsianEle
Project Leader:
Shermin de Silva
San Diego, California United States
$679 raised of $10,000 goal
19 donations
$9,321 to go
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