In Southern Sri Lanka, fishing is the livelihood of local villagers. But in the December 26, 2004 Tsunami, triggered by a 9.0 magnitude earthquake beneath the water of the Indian Ocean, many of the already very poor families in this geographic area suffered major emotional and material losses.
Many people died, and survivors lost their means of income. Wives lost their husbands, families lost their homes, children were orphaned. A year later, conditions are still terrible. Children are living in tents and rebuilding is slow.
The Dalbey Education Institute wanted to do something to make a real and immediate difference. We wanted to find a way to get involved in rebuilding the area. As a company, our goal is to help people live better lives. Was there a way we could reach out and help people as far away as Sri Lanka as well?
We began to research various relief organizations, searching for one that had personal contact with families and groups in Sri Lanka. "We wanted to make sure our money would go directly to those in need," Russ Dalbey explained. When The Dalbey Education Institute found Dr. Martina Fuchs, a pediatrician from Los Angeles, we knew we’d found the right organization.
Dr. Fuchs had been working at Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles when the tsunami hit Southeast Asia. After seeing the faces of the affected children on television news, she knew she had to do something to help. Then she got a call from a colleague in Sri Lanka. "The people here are desperate," he told her. "No relief organizations have shown up. Wounds are getting infected. Children are dying. Families are panicking. Can you come?"
Without a moment’s hesitation, Martina quit her job, set up The Real Medicine Foundation, and flew to Sri Lanka by herself, where she built a small children’s clinic in just one short week. As word of her efforts spread, more and more individuals offered their skills, resources, and financial support. The work of Real Medicine was noticed by GTZ, a non-profit organization with funding to construct homes, schools, and other buildings in Sri Lanka. GTZ came to Real Medicine with an offer to build a children’s school and center, if Real Medicine could raise the money to purchase the land.
We were thrilled to have this opportunity to make such an important and lasting difference for the children. The Dalbey Education Institute donated money to pay for the land, and Real Medicine and GTZ have begun the rebuilding project. In addition to creating a day care center and Montessori School, this exciting project will also provide jobs for the families of the children who will be attending the school.
Thank you to every single one of our employees. By being here and doing your share to make our company so successful, you enable us to have the resources to make a difference!
A personal note to The Dalbey Education Institute, from Martina Fuchs, M.D.
"Thank you to Russ Dalbey and everyone at The Dalbey Education Institute for your amazing, generous contribution. Your donation is buying land for a new school and children's center in Pallemalala, a small village in the Hambantota district in Southern Sri Lanka, providing education for the local children as well as income for the families who will work on the project. Your Corporate Sponsorship is making a huge difference for hundreds of children and families who lost everything in the tsunami. You are deeply appreciated and you should feel proud of your company."
We want to keep you updated on the Children’s School in Pallamalala, Sri Lanka, an exciting service project our company sponsored to help those affected by the tsunami in Southeast Asia.
As we mentioned in a previous newsletter, the Pallamalala region of Sri Lanka plays a vital, commercial role for the small communities in the area, with central public markets on Sundays and "Poya-Days." Tragically, the tsunami hit during a busy market day, when one or both parents of most families were out shopping. Many families lost mothers and/or fathers, and countless children have been in temporary and crowded quarters ever since, cared for by humanitarian organizations.
One of these organizations is The Real Medicine Foundation, a non-profit group that provides medical and psychological relief to people and communities affected by disaster, poverty, or war.
Earlier this year, The Dalbey Education Institute donated money to enable Real Medicine to facilitate the building of a new Children’s Center in Pallamalala, Sri Lanka. The center will provide a permanent Day Care Center and Montessori School for the children of this and neighboring communities. Anuruddha Perera, the executive director of Real Medicine, Asia, reports that negotiations are being completed on the land purchase, and the GTZ organization has prepared and presented plans for the school construction.
We receive regular updates from Dr. Martina Fuchs, the founder of Real Medicine, who is in regular contact with the Real Medicine Foundation team in Asia. "The children and their caregivers are so excited and hopeful," she says. Unlike Americans, the people of third world countries don’t expect things to happen overnight. Progress happens at a much slower pace. But knowing that a better future is around the corner is making their present circumstances so much easier for them. You have done so much to bring hope and reassurance."
Dr. Fuchs personally requested that we include a very warm thank you to all the employees of The Dalbey Education Institute for being part of such an important cause. "Please wish everyone at the Dalbey Education Institute a very special holiday season from The Real Medicine Foundation – and especially from the children in Pallamala."