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Phase 36: April to June 2008

Maha Gedra – approximately translated means: the ancestral home where the heart of the family beats. There are two reasons why starting in April the children’s village in Koslanda will use this name. First, many native people associate ‘orphanage’ with a dirty, miserable place. For our kids it is a disadvantage to say they came from a children’s village. Secondly, this place develops more and more to the center for all the many projects from Little Smile.
For more than a year we renovated and newly built. On April 3rd it is finally complete: Sahana Nivasa, Comfort House, in the center of Galle, is officially opened. In addition to a kindergarten and a pre-school, girls who have completed their school are given a chance to live in security as well as further their studies or even attend the university.
That which is built to last takes time! After almost three years of construction, the School and Educational Center in the children’s village nears completion. On April 5 a celebration was held. This unusual building unifies traditional and modern elements, meant to recognize it as a “Temple of Wisdom” as well as a educational center.
One day after the school is opened, the first communal prayer was held in the Chapel of Mary. The ashes of Maria Kreitmeir also have their final resting place here in this chapel. With the opening of the school, a longed for wish of the mother of Little Smile’s founder, Michael Kreitmeir, is fulfilled.
A week filled to the brim with unforgettable experiences! 6 women and 4 men of the philanthropic association, “From us – for children,” from the Bavarian town of Dietfurt did not just come to represent their honorable German donators and supporters during the numerous openings at the beginning of April. They also were able to visit a Mother – Child House in Little Smile’s project in Buttala which is made possible by the help of their organization.
The film director from Colombo actually only wanted to visit his German colleague, Michael Kreitmeit. But what he saw and heard there inspired in him a history about a place that seemed not of this world. A few days later, the director returned to Little Smile with film crew of forty with actors to create a tele-drama about this special place that is unlike any other.
Shripani had to go through a lot in her still young life. This 12 year old can only very slowly free her spirit from fear and mistrust. In order to show this child that she is very special to us, that she is a part of Little Smile, on April 13 at 6:58 PM, she lit the first fire in the kitchen from Little Smile. And with that began the new year 2552.
For hundreds of years this cave temple below the children’s village was buried beneath the earth. Through tiring work this over 1000 year old Buddhist meditation temple was unearthed. On the first full moon in April, after a prayer lasting many hours, this temple was again reopened.
A great team: Anton and our big boys. From the left starting with Anton: Kasun, Vibagaran, Jararathne, Jagath and Damith. We can trust these five who have been here since the villages founding in 1999.
Also these Buddhist monks ask for our help. The roofs of their dwellings have partly caved in due to the heavy tropical rains. Precious cultural artifacts are threatened to be ruined.