During 2018, Extra Cover crossed the £1,000,000 threshold in donations, and this milestone has prompted us to remind all our wonderful benefactors what we’re up to on the teardrop island in the Indian Ocean. Our primary focus remains food, water and education.
At the moment there are 29 active “Extra Cover Schools” and every school day, 1196 children receive a desperately needed free meal. While every month 69 children enjoy a protein-rich and tasty chicken meal and a further 127 children go home with a dry ration pack – a bag full of milk powder, pulses, food supplements, soap … and that all important chocolate biscuit.
We continue to ensure that the children at our schools have a proper supply of clean water and hygienic toilet facilities.
As well as providing schools with furniture, stationery, uniforms, yearly-gifts, education trips, and sample exam papers, we have also built classroom extensions, overhauled schools from grubby dirt-floor shacks to modern, brightly-lit places of learning and planted fields of cinnamon, the profits from the sale of which go straight back into the schools.
Our work with children and young adults with special needs continues apace. We have created three Special Educational Needs classrooms from scratch and support a fourth, plus have two thriving Vocational Training Centres for young adults with special needs. All the students need transport and Extra Cover has a small fleet of tuk tuk’s, generously sponsored by local businesses, making sure children make it to school every day. It cannot be emphasised strongly enough how those using these centres would otherwise, in nearly every case, be left at home, some even locked up to prevent them from wandering off.
Much of our energy this year has been spent on the development of “Suhada” (Sinhalese for “good-heartedness” or “friendship”). Extra Cover now owns a house, some out-buildings and more than an acre of land, a few kilometres from the town of Mapalagama, in the centre of the Galle Educational District.
Newton Perera and his wife have moved into the property, from where he coordinates the Extra Cover Foundation, the Sri Lankan NGO offshoot of Extra Cover UK. The location of Suhada enables Newton quick and easy access to the majority of our schools. We have developed the outbuildings into a Vocational Training Centre for students with special needs who are learning all about the newly planted tea saplings, cinnamon, pepper and vegetables.
Suhada now also acts as a volunteer centre, with two well equipped bedrooms, a perfect place to experience the real Sri Lanka and either just visit or get more involved with the charity.
From ensuring that Lakhindu and Bilhan receive life-saving medicine, to providing Lakshman and Udelangani with new prosthetic equipment, from building new houses and installing new toilets to supporting budding scholars with transport costs and stationery, we pride ourselves on our particular individual works of charity.
And that’s why Matthew, Jill and Robert travel out to Sri Lanka so often – and will continue to do so, even after the worrying events of Easter Sunday. For us, it’s personal – literally. We know the names of those who receive your donations and we are able to prioritise where your money goes, with minimum-possible overheads and maximum efficiency – and love.
To achieve all of the above, fundraising is at the forefront of our minds. 2018 proved to be another year where we found so many people to be so amazingly generous. Our annual golf day as ever raised a huge amount and we had our first Pier to Pier walk, from Bognor to Brighton, a “mere” 27 miles, where all 46 mad fools collected over £12,000 between them! Brighton College and Hansfords Menswear have raised money in all manner of ways and various Rotary Clubs, businesses and individuals just keep giving, it’s just fantastic.
To all our supporters, a massive thank you!
All the best
Matthew, Jill and Robert.
If you would like to donate please go to https://www.extracover.org.uk/donate/ to find out how.