In February of this year Matthew visited “Suhada”, Extra Cover’s idyllic property in the interior, which was playing host to twenty young men and women with special needs from “ECSAT”, a vocational training centre in Galle. This was the first time that many of the urban dwellers had seen pepper growing in the wild, and they were thrilled to be able to pick and “shuck” the pepper, before laying it out to dry in the sun.
They then saw how our male Suhada-based students were learning how to use coconut shells to make table ornaments, something they want to emulate back at their centre. The day finished with a lunch of string hoppers and ice-cream, before what can only be described as a “coconut disco” in which students danced, balancing a coconut shell on various parts of their bodies – a far cry from La Havana in Chichester.
Feedback from the Galle students was hugely enthusiastic – they loved the coconuts, they loved the pepper, and they made a whole bunch of new friends along the way. This certainly won’t be the last time Extra Cover reaches out to similar charities in the region, sharing resources and ideas to help the most marginalised in the country takes centre stage.