Meeting the kind people of Neluwa in Sri Lanka, the Land of Lions

World Vision child sponsor Reshme recently travelled to Sri Lanka and was able to include a visit to her sponsored child Ravindu. As you also sponsor a Sri Lankan child, we thought you might like to hear from Reshme about her experience.

As a little girl, I used to wonder how other kids were doing across the world. I knew there were some who were hungry, as my parents would always say to us, “Finish your food! There are so many kids out there who don’t have food!” I remember thinking, how on earth could I help them by finishing my food or just by being grateful?

When I moved to Australia, I was given that chance – I could help those in need through World Vision Child Sponsorship. I randomly selected a little boy called Ravindu from Sri Lanka. Well, not completely randomly – he is a Capricorn and so am I!

Recently I had the opportunity to meet Ravindu. I was going to Sri Lanka for a personal trip and I thought why not pay him a visit? I packed my bags with lollies, stationery, books, stickers and lots of chocolates!

When I arrived at the Neluwa project, the World Vision staff took me around to show me all the community projects. We started off at the local school and then the pre-school where kids between the ages of three and four performed a little song for me. They were absolutely adorable.

It was really nice to see that World Vision provides literacy classes for the locals who cannot afford to go to school. They learn basic skills that will help them to read signs and fill out forms. What made me really sad, and also grateful for what I had in my life, was when I saw a 10-year-old girl carrying her 2-year-old sister in class. There was no one to look after the little one at home with both parents working at the tea plantation. Imagine bringing your baby sister to school?! Studying was not her only responsibility at such a young age.

I also visited the local milking house where I was shown new instruments that had been provided to milkmen. These instruments meant they could milk their cows more than twice a day, providing them with more milk to sell or use. I was truly amazed by this idea!

Finally, I was taken to Ravindu’s house where the entire neighbourhood was waiting for me! They welcomed me into their little home where I distributed my gifts. The looks that Ravindu, his siblings and his friends gave me were worth so much more than anything in this world. I felt so blessed. Coming from a developed country, I have only heard people say with words that they were thankful. But with these kids, I saw it in their eyes and their adorable smiles.

Ravindu’s mum and aunties cooked up an amazing lunch for me. Each house had brought a vegetable that they grew in their yard to contribute. Ravindu’s mum and aunties cooked an absolutely amazing authentic Sri Lankan lunch for me!

I had some time to speak to Ravindu, of course with the World Vision staff translating. Our conversation went like this:

Me: What do you want to be when you grow up?
Ravindu: I want to work on a ship!

Me: Wow! That’s good! Do you want to be an engineer?
Ravindu: *puzzled look*

I learnt that Ravindu’s older brothers work in Colombo where they are labourers on ships. And that’s what these little kids want to do too!

Ravindu’s parents, brothers and relatives have instilled good values in him. He is very hardworking in school and active in sports. He is also polite, and according to his mum, he is a very good boy at home.

My trip taught me so many things. It was truly a blessing to see an entire community so happy, with so little. I think their selflessness is their greatest asset.