Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Moved by the tsunami, charity to Sri Lanka continues

After seeing news reports of the devastating tsunami that hit Sri Lanka five years ago, Cavan Sullivan was determined to help in some way. Sullivan made the New Year's resolution to build a house for a family there. Five years later, the house has been built but Sullivan's charity to the people of Sri Lanka has not stopped.

From the Wales Online, writer Cathy Owen tells us more about Sullivan's adventures.

The house, which cost £1,900 to build and furnish, is in a tiny remote village, five kilometres inland on the banks of a river, close to a town called Hikkaduwa in the south west of Sri Lanka. The village was devastated as the killer wave rushed up the river devastating areas in its path. The house is now home to the Lounaris family – Samina, who at the time was aged four, and her grandfather and grandmother.

It was all paid for by Cavan, friends and customers of his double-glazing firm, Welsh Windows. He also provided curtains for the house, a bike for Samina’s grandfather, and set up a fund so Samina can be educated to university age.

“She may not want to go to university, but a least she has the opportunity,” said Cavan, who also pays for the family to buy Samina milk.

“They had very little when the tsunami struck and they lost everything.”

He was going to end it there but during their trip, Cavan visited a school and saw that the majority of children didn’t have any shoes.

That was it, he couldn’t stop with just a house. He had to do more and set about raising money to buy shoes for the children. He contacted some of those friends who helped him raise money and many children received shoes for the first time in their lives.

Much of the initial fundraising was done by Cavan, Debra, their daughter Aimee and her friend Nichola Adams. It snowballed from there and the charity has a board of trustees, including fellow Barry businessman Andy Rogers. Last month, Cavan and Andy travelled to Sri Lanka to see how the charity’s money is making a difference.

They held a Christmas party for 300 of the poorest children and organised a five-a-side football tournament. The trip also included a visit to a school that was built 98 years ago but never had electricity. The HAT Foundation paid £720 to change all that and now the children have fans, lights and sockets.

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