About HELP

Helping East Lanka Progress (HELP) was set up as a trust by Dr Vip Thiagarasah in August 2005 to relieve the suffering of victims affected by the devastating tsunami of December 2004 on the East Coast of Sri Lanka. It received charitable status from the Charity Commission on 19 September 2005 (registered charity no 1111363 - further information available at www.charitycommission.gov.uk ).

The origins of HELP!

In the weeks preceding the devastating tsunami of December 2004, Dr Thiagarasah had been touring North and Eastern Sri Lanka on a charitable football tour. A number of the towns and villages he had visited were badly affected by the tsunami and his father lost two cousins in the tragedy. This drove Vip to organise a mission to the East Coast of Sri Lanka in January 2005 with the aim of providing emergency medical aid to those affected. He resigned his post at St Bartholomew's hospital in London and put together a party of 22 medics from London teaching hospitals to travel to the East Coast at their own expense.

The mission was a great success. Based in a hospital in Thirrikuvil, the team provided invaluable assistance and medical equipment to hospital staff who had been completely overwhelmed by the demands of the tsunami.

On his return to the UK, Dr Thiagarasah decided that there was a need to finance longer term projects in the region, specifically focussing on the needs of the children, many of whom had been orphaned or traumatised by the tsunami. He therefore arranged a second visit to the region in July 2005, accompanied by two friends (Alan Ball and Andrew Schneidau) with the aim of identifying viable longer term projects.

Again, this short mission was a great success with a number of extremely worthwhile projects identified (see here). Local banking arrangements were put in place to ensure that funds would be employed only on the projects identified and strong links were forged with a locally based charity (Community Focused Disaster Response - CFDR) to manage the projects.

Helping East Lanka Progress (HELP!) was set up as a trust in August to manage the projects identified. Charitable status for the trust was granted in September 2005.

The Objectives of HELP!

The Objectives of HELP! can be described very simply - to provide assistance to the families, and specifically the children, of East Lanka who have suffered as a result of the tsunami. The principle upon which the charity operates is equally as simple - ALL funds raised by the charity will be spent in East Lanka on projects identified by its trustees. There have not been, and will not be, any administrative fees incurred by the charity- everyone involved with HELP offers their services on a voluntary basis and the banking arrangements have been set up specifically to ensure that all funds transferred to Sri Lanka will go directly to the worthwhile causes identified by the trustees.

If you would like to make a donation to HELP! or would like further information on the operations and aims of the Trust, please do not hesitate to email us.

Current projects

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Current projects

Pre-school in Akkaraipattu

We have, for a number of years, been supporting a small pre-school for children in the village where the Home is situated. Read more »

Educational and Vocational centre in Navkatadu

A local village, Navatkadu, has been recognized by the local authority as impoverished, with families living under the poverty line and children having difficulties without proper access to education. Read more »

Amman Girls' Home

The Amman Girls Home in Akkaraipattu cares for 52 orphaned girls between the ages of 6 and 16. Read more »

Little Flowers School

HELP has funded free after-school classes in Tamil history, English, Science and Social Studies for the children of Thirikuvil, a village on the East Coast which was devastated by the tsunami. Read more »

Achievements to date

HELP has provided a monthly bursary to the Swami Vipulananda Home from 2006 to assist with its ongoing expenses and to employ an after-school IT teacher for the boys. We also provided funding to assist with the setting up of a sustainable farm run by the boys. The Home is now funded by other donors and no longer needs our support.

HELP has been actively providing medical and other equipment to the local hospital in Thirrukovil, which services a large population of Ampara District.
Read more »

Latest news

December 2019

Thanks to generous support from a number of our donors, HELP has been able to provide emergency food parcels to families suffering from severe flooding in local villages around Akkaraipattu.

Again, thanks to generous support from donors, HELP has been able to buy new clothes and equipment for the girls in the Amman Mahaleer Home, arrange for their bedrooms to be repainted and for the Home to acquire a fridge.

August 2019

Thanks to a very generous donation from one of our donors, the Girls' Home was able to complete the build-out of a small shop adjoining the Home, which allows the girls to sell the clothes they make in the vocational centre.

July 2019

Eight girlsjoined the Girls' Home in Akkaraipattu in July, which presented significant financial pressures on the Home. HELP agreed to provide the necessary funding for the girls to ensure that they could be housed safely.

November 2018

HELP funded new equipment and clothes for the girls in the Amman Mahaleer home and provided new school books for the children in the Little Flowers educational facility in Akkaraipattu.

March 2018

The trustees agreed to fund an exciting new project in the village of Navtakadu. It involves the refurbishment of an old military barracks to provide the village with a pre- and post-school educational facility and a vocational centre for women looking to learn sewing and other skills.

February 2018

As in previous years, we were delighted to buy the girls in the Amman Mahaleer Home new clothes an school equipment for the year ahead. we also bougt new bed covers for them.

August 2017

Amy Anfilogoff and friends visited the Home and spent a wonderful day with the young girls.

April 2017

At the request of the Amman Mahaleer Orphanage, we provided funds to buy a new generator for the Home. In February, we provided funds for the girls to buy new clothes and school equipment.

June 2016

Following their visit to Sri Lanka last year to see our projects, two of our keenest supporters, Ros and Malcolm Nattrass, have kindly offered to open up their (stunning) gardens to friends and family to raise money for HELP. We'll post photos after the event and hope the weather is kind on the day...

March 2016

Thanks to the generosity of our donors, we have arranged to fund the bank accounts of 19 of the young girls at the Amman Mahaleer girls home to provide them with a start in life when they leave at the age of 18. The donors have agreed to provide Rps50,000 to each of the girls (c£250) over a period of up to three years. We have informed the Principal of the Home that we are keen to provide similar support to any new girls who join the home.

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