Rice and education - also during the coronavirus closure
Kosgoda , May 05, 2020
Founded some 15 years ago, the WACKER College in Sri Lanka has become a professional yet warm-hearted facility. Right now, the coronavirus is impacting both the school and the lives of the families in Kosgoda. The school has distributed rice donations to aid the needy.
The number of coronavirus infections is reasonably low in the island country of Sri Lanka, though there have been illnesses and deaths there, too. Principal Monk Sadu has had to temporarily shut down classroom-based teaching due to the COVID-19 pandemic from mid-March until probably mid-May. Study material has since been available online or handed to students in paper form, as many families have no electricity, telephone or computer.
“Many of our students’ parents are day laborers who cannot work due to the current curfews,” reports Elfriede Süß, who manages the WACKER College in Kosgoda as head of the aid organization “Future for Children.” The hotels in Sri Lanka are also closed due to the coronavirus and cannot offer the families any jobs in the present situation. “So, the families have no income and cannot even buy rice,” explains Elfriede Süß. “There are food shortages as no goods can be imported from India at present. Since the coronavirus crisis began, shops and markets in Sri Lanka have been empty. Rice and vegetables, even dry fish, everything is very expensive.”
As immediate aid, Monk Sadu and his school team are helping 74 families and have twice distributed five kilograms of rice each to the school children’s parents. “That is a drop in the bucket,” admits Elfriede Süß. “We aren’t able to hand out any spices, sugar, noodles or washing powder. But with the rice, we were able to alleviate the suffering of those in need at least somewhat.”
Looking back at history:
When was WACKER’s relief fund, or WACKER HILFSFONDS, born? It was launched after a catastrophic tsunami struck Sri Lanka in December 2004, causing widespread devastation. Thousands lost their lives or livelihoods. WACKER promptly donated to aid projects, and founded the WACKER HILFSFONDS.
A nonprofit foundation, the fund has been true to its motto of “Helping people to help themselves” ever since, giving victims of natural disasters the chance of a better life. Aid projects include the Kosgoda school. Opened in 2006, it has offered a curriculum through to high-school level since 2014.
Question for the fund’s board of directors: How has the Relief Fund covered the costs of running an entire school for so many years now? Mirko Kappelhoff explains: “We have only managed to finance educating around 220 pupils at the school in Kosgoda with the help of our cent-donation program. It also supports more than 180 children in the adjacent kindergarten and an orphanage, and students at the vocational training center. Thanks to every colleague who has helped pave the way to a brighter future for these children through education.”
Over 4,800 employees participate in the WACKER Relief Fund cent-donation program. In fact, their support is keeping the entire school in Kosgoda running. With minimal amounts, each employee in Germany can help the fund provide sustainable support in the years ahead. How does it work? Employees agree to have their monthly salaries rounded down to the nearest euro. The difference in cents is then donated to the WACKER Relief Fund.
If you’d like to help, please donate to the following WACKER Relief Fund account with Bayerische Landesbank München:
IBAN DE59 7005 0000 0003 3333 33
Please state your name and address on the payment transfer form (in Germany, your WACKER ID number is enough). The relief fund issues donation receipts to employees residing in Germany, as the donations are tax-deductible there. Grateful for every donation, these receipts are sent out in the first quarter of a year.