World Action Foundation is a registered charity and non-profit organization whose mission is to improve and educate underprivileged communities worldwide. Their first 2 target countries are Sri Lanka and Canada. Using specialized teams to identify communities and individuals in need in these target countries. Statistics show that the percentage of the rural population in Sri Lanka is about 70% to 80% and the others are considered urban populations. To be very specific the rural population is spread out in 7 provinces excluding the Western and Central Provinces. The rural population consists of people whose income is below the poverty line and a huge concentration is in the upcountry and the Monaragala District. Upcountry people are mostly of Indian Origin in the past and are generally Estate Workers. The category of poor people could be identified as those who are generally living with limited food, temporary houses, less education, and devoid of health facilities including malnutrition.
WHAT ARE THE KEY OBJECTIVES OF WORLD ACTION FOUNDATION?
- Provide emergency food relief for vulnerable children. Vulnerable means the poorest of the poor. Food relief is required to maintain their health standard and increase their level of nutrition.
- Provide education to all such children. Due to poverty, there may be children who cannot attend school and as such, they help such children by providing books, uniforms, and other resources for education. This will drastically reduce the school dropout which is higher in Sri Lanka.
- Provision of a good and sound environment. This is to encourage the students in their studies and build up their health with good food patterns.
- Empowering and improving these groups by guiding them through education and helping these families to improve their income level by providing financial and technical assistance.
Due to the recent economic crisis in Sri Lanka, poor people are put into greater difficulties in the purchase of basic food items & other essentials for their day-to-day requirements. After having studied the deteriorating economic condition of the poor people, the government has made a General Appeal to all the Non-Governmental Organizations out there to come forward and assist the people in distress all over Sri Lanka.
Food, clothing, shelter, health & education are vital for human existence. These facilities are very inadequate for the underprivileged class of people who are considered as those living below the poverty line.
Most of the NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations) that are functioning in Sri Lanka have responded to the distress Call of the Government and they have since come forward to assist this class of people in Sri Lanka. To fall in line with this Call – the WAF has come forward at present to help and assist this class of people in our country. WAF has now decided to help this community and they have prepared an overall plan to do whatever possible to eliminate poverty in our Country. Complete elimination or eradication of poverty is not possible but could reduce the level by gradually getting into small-scale income projects that are affordable to the poor people.
According to the mission, the WORLD ACTION FOUNDATION team is moving-on with two major projects.
- Meals for Minds.
- Home Gardening.
During the current economic crisis, most people are struggling to afford food because of price inflation. Families have reduced food consumption by skipping meals and eating foods that lack proper nutrition. Meals for Minds was created to help alleviate financial circumstances, food shortages, and inflation. This pilot project was launched in 2 different communities and has now been funded to expand to 15 new locations for 1 year.
Our initial focus is on the upcountry estate workers, who are living in absolute poverty, and we have already planned to work with this class of people in some selected areas. With the dedicated assistance of the founder Member Mr. Subash Sundarraj, some minor projects, such as “Meals for Minds”, “A cup of rice” & Porridge Hut were launched with the collaboration of “Nanban Foundation” in June 2022 and these attempts have been very successful in areas where a vulnerable group of people has been living. Later, we expanded that to Ramboda and Palmerston estates distributing meals for thousands of people. These initial attempts were started primarily to tackle the food shortages in these areas and with the help of volunteers and with the contribution of Founder Members these went very successful.
ACTIVITY IN YADDINUWARA VIVEKANANDA TAMIL VIDYALA
During the month of October, our team went to Yaddinuwara Vivekananda Tamil Vidyalaya as a part of the program of a book distribution project. On that day we were able to provide stationery items for the needy children from the primary section from Grade I to Grade 3. Since this project was very successful, WAF intended to expand to other areas on a needs basis. The succession of this project was also published in the newspapers by a reporter, Vathugamam with the photos of the recipients, the Principal of the School & the Director of the Foundation – Mrs. Keerthana Dharshan & others closely involved in the program. The cost of books & Materials for this school is approximately 300 thousand, without the support of our donors, this wouldn’t be possible.
Community Home Gardening Project
It is an important way of providing a continuous supply of fresh vegetables for the family table. Yields from the home garden contribute to the family’s nutrition and may even provide additional income.
Basic concepts of home gardens trace back over a thousand years. The home garden consists of annual, biennial, and perennial crops. Sometimes they may consist of livestock production, Beekeeping, and Biogas production too. Home gardens have plants with different canopy layers and mostly lower layers are daily used. Mixed garden, Compound farm, Household home garden, and Kitchen Garden are some of the derivatives for the home garden.
WHY HOME GARDENING IS IMPORTANT DURING THE ECONOMIC CRISIS PERIOD.
- Gardening of vegetables and other plants used for daily consumption at home allows families to produce their own food organically. This is a huge benefit to those who recognize the benefits of organic food, which is considerably expensive in the grocery market. Home gardening of organic vegetables and fruit, particularly for low-income groups, can be economically beneficial.
- Even if a food shortage does not exist, home gardening can mitigate many problems. Home gardening can help with economic gains, environmental challenges, pollution, and food contamination. Home gardening can also provide greater access to nutritious and healthy food which can lead to a sustainable system.
- They also strongly advise that everyone who has space, even a small one, must start home gardening to help face the challenge of the forthcoming food shortage. Home gardening can easily be done in both rural and urban areas successfully. Small garden plots around the household can persistently provide uncontaminated, healthy food for the family.
- The most obvious financial benefit of home gardening is that it can save money spent on groceries. If the growers are conscious enough and choose wisely, apart from saving money spent at the market, they can earn extra money by selling the excess harvest. For example, if a person grows plantains or coconut trees inside the home garden, he or she can sell them to the market easily as everyone prefers homegrown organic food.
In addition to many economic benefits and advantages, home gardening is recognized as an extremely effective ‘mood booster”. At this stressful time, for those who are engaged in regular employment, being out in the open environment and engaging in gardening can be a valuable stress reliever. Those who are engaged in gardening feel less depressed and have lower anxiety levels after a busy day at work.
After the completion of this project, WAF is doing a campaign to collect funds for home gardening for the estate side. Since the prices of vegetables have gone beyond the reach of these underprivileged communities, this organization is collecting funds for home gardening which can generate a profit and provide food. Initially, this program started with 15 families, and it is being expanded to 25 families. The outcome of this project is that the products are being used not only for their consumption but also by other neighbors. Additional donations obtained would be used to expand this activity in other areas. After successfully maintaining a community garden in some vulnerable communities. It has inspired others who are eager to do the same with the help of continuous funds to expand in their community next.
Meals for Minds:
“Meals for Mind” The existing economic crisis and soaring price hikes have resulted in food insecurity and malnutrition among children in many urban and rural families in Sri Lanka. Due to the prevailing global economic crisis, it was also predicted that lack of consistent access to quality food has badly affected malnutrition. However, it needs a multi-stakeholder approach to resolve through providing emergency food relief to vulnerable families across the island. So, during the economic crisis period, our team #WAF is currently running a mission to provide daily food for Estate side people. This project has been successfully running for almost a year. As a part of this project, we were able to cover 4 estate divisions. RB Estate, Palmerston Division, Mattakale Estate, and CN Division. Over 29,000 people were served by the team now. We are working to cover some more areas on the Estate side as well.
The Founder Mr. Subash’s Vision:
While preserving our past experiences in the Estate Sector and with the support and cooperation of other sponsors and donors, we can create better circumstances and quality of life for every individual. Without his vision, dedication, and hard work this achievement could not have been made possible. He has been awarded Ulaga Thamizh Maamani” in Tamil Nadu as well as for his Award in Sri “Lanka Puthira Thesamamani Thesakeerthi Thesabandu which is considered the 2nd Highest Award in Sri Lanka.
WAF aims at the objective of increasing productivity by adopting income-generating projects, home gardening, and other agricultural purposes of ensuring sustainability and a resilient community. If you join us, we can make every vulnerable community into a thriving community. With your support, we can continue our projects and other new projects to promote education and income generation. Join your hands with #WAF to make their life better!