A Heartfelt Journey: Volunteering with the Rosie May Foundation in Sri Lanka

A Heartfelt Journey: Volunteering with the Rosie May Foundation in Sri Lanka

Travelling to Sri Lanka with my family last year was an experience that touched the depths of our hearts. We have been volunteers at the Rosie May Foundation for many years, and have heard of all of the amazing work that Mary and her team have put into Project Hope, so finally seeing it in person felt like a dream realised. Our arrival, marked by a ride in one of the iconic pink tuk-tuks, was a touching moment as we were greeted by the tireless Ramani, whose unwavering dedication to the children’s welfare left us in awe.

She toured us around Project Hope until the school kids bounded in, full of energy. They were so cute as they all waved at us in greeting. We hosted an English lesson and read them letters that the children at a school in Bournemouth had written to them. It was so heart-warming to watch.

Later that day, my mum was asked to give the keys to a newly trained tuk-tuk driver in a change-over ceremony. The fleet of pink tuk-tuks at the Rosie May Foundation are so important for the community, as they provide women with safe work while taking the children to school and back. It was a small but wholesome celebration, praising the effort of this single mother as she prepared to begin her new job as a tuk-tuk driver.

We were picked up in a pink tuk-tuk again the following morning to go to the Rosie May preschool. I had no idea what to expect but the reception that we were met with exceeded every one of my expectations. As we arrived through the front gate to the school, we saw all of the young children waiting outside for us, each holding bunches of flowers. As they saw us, they all cheered and stretched their flowers towards us so that we may receive their thoughtful gifts, their smiles long as the horizon. This moment is one that I will always treasure; I could barely hold on to all the flowers, little red petals spilling out of my arms. I felt like the luckiest woman on the planet to be graced by this scene of affection.

After collecting all of our flowers, the children grabbed our hands and hurried us to see the inside of their school. They showed us their drawings with proud grins stamped onto their little faces, and pointed to their class photo incorporated withing the mosaic of crafts and achievements on the walls of the classroom.

Although the children couldn’t speak much English, it didn’t seem to matter as they eagerly showed us all of the tricks that they could do, communicating in the universal language of joy. Whether it was sliding backwards down their slide or swinging on a hanging rope, we ‘oohed’ and ‘aahed’ in verbal affirmation of their undeniable talent.

The children were just so lovely! They all wore pink shirts as a part of their uniform. The girls’ hair were styled with loving care by their mothers as they flaunted pretty bows and plaits. Their infectious childish innocence melted each of our hearts and so it was very difficult to say goodbye to our new friends when the school day ended.

My experience at the Rosie May Foundation was nothing short of life changing. Witnessing firsthand the unwavering dedication and love poured into every aspect of the children’s lives reaffirmed my belief in the power of compassion and community. I carry the memories of our time at the Rosie May Foundation as a beacon of hope, inspiring me to continue making a difference wherever I go.