Visitors since January 2005: 955278

Phase 56: July to September 2013

Especially in the villages of the tea pickers there is great poverty and violence. The main reason for that lies in the low education level of the Indian Tamils there. Therefore, Michael Kreitmeir engages particularly strong in this area. Currently, Little Smile supports numerous schools and pre-schools and also assists in the construction of Hindu temples and programs in the adult education.
A last picture and then Dilshan (on the right) has to say good bye and take the first step into an independent life. Now it remains to be seen whether we were able to prepare the young man for life outside Little Smile in all these years.
The founder and director of the children’s aid organization, Michael Kreitmeir, meets the Sri Lankan president Mahinde Rajapakse at a ceremony in Monaragala. By now, also the powerful in Colombo have realized how much Little Smile is doing – particularly in the UVA province – for the country.
Earlier than usual the pepper harvest in and around the children’s village starts this year. One reason for that is the fact, that people come and steel the spices from the plantations. Another reason is that there are fewer and fewer workers who are willing to do this quite difficult job and therefore, it will surely take more than 4 weeks before the pepper is picked, dried and cleaned.
Shortly before the third anniversary of his arrest, Michael Kreitmeir visits the prison in the province capital Badulla where his former confident and farm manager, Shiran Silva, was imprisoned. And Michael Kreitmeir does not come with empty hands. Thanks to the donation of six computers from Little Smile, especially the young prisoners get the chance to learn something while being arrested.
Many kilometers the 12-year old girls have carried the quite heavy palms they got at school. At the beginning of August, the driest and hottest time of the year, they would not survive for long. So they are brought to the greenhouse of the children’s village where we will look after them till the raining season starts at the end of October.
After three years of absence Manuel Kreitmeir visits Little Smile again. Shiran Silva shows the sun of his boss the spices and explains how they are planted, harvested and processed. Manuel Kreimeir is very impressed by the vanilla pods from the children’s village.
For many children our trip to Arungambay at the east coast at the end of August is their first time at the sea, but their initial fear of the mighty sea is quickly overcome. Enthusiastically the little ones plunge into the water, always under the watchful eyes of the child-minders.
First the 4-year old Rogi cried full of fear when he saw the huge waves. But then, by the hand of his two big Little Smile sisters Milani and Niroshani he slowly moves forward to this mighty wet something.
The bishop from Badulla has almost become a regular guest at the children’s village. Especially the boy’s home on Hill Top impresses him. The breathtaking view into the vastness, the passing elephants and the familiar atmosphere there let him forget his many sorrows for a moment.
A family is only complete with at least three generations. Therefore, it is no wonder that we have an “Aschie” (grandmother) and a “Sia” (grandfather) in the Little Smile family. And when it’s the birthday of our Little Smile grandma, not only – but very particularly – her biological daughter congratulates her. The young child-minder Maha Luxmi, is thankful that she found a place for her helpless mother at the boy’s home on Hill Top.
Vichej desperately wants to learn how to ride a bike. And since one learns best by doing, he secretly borrowed Mikel’s bike. Of course, less secrecy would have been better and given him the opportunity to ask how braking works. But because he forgot this important question, his first driving lesson ended painfully after only a short moment.
In September fate attacked twice. First – totally unexpected – the head monk of the temple, where Little Smile offers training in handicrafts, died. According to the tradition the funeral ceremonies lasted almost a week before the monk’s corpse could be ritually burnt.
Only a few days after the death of the monk, Father Bosco, the founder of the neighboring „Bishop Leo Children Homes“, died. Already in 1998 Michael Kreitmeir had built the first two houses for children there and in the many following years since then the German and the Tamil priest never lost sight of each other. And so Michael Kreitmeir, together with all his Christian employees and children, paid his last respects to the deceased in the cathedral of Badulla.
For almost a year now Anita has been attending a very good high school in Kalmunai to do her A-levels there. After 11 years in Little Smile it was very hard for her to say good-bye and still there are tears – first due to joy of reunion and then to pain of parting – when her Lokuthatha comes for a visit.
For many children, especially those of the upper class and those in the big Sri Lankan cities, the computer and the internet are also part of their lives. This, however, does not apply for the countryside. But of course, the kids in Little Smile do get the chance to step into a new and broader world with computer and internet.
Ischani made it! She had sewn her first dress, all by herself. Like many other girls she has undergone the training in our sewing school and has learned everything there to be able to make a living from her work after leaving the children’s village.
On September 18th three boys can celebrate their birthday together, 2x Mikel and 1x Robin. At the little party Michael Kreitmeir realizes how much his two boys have grown since he took them into his arms 11 years ago at their first joint birthday party.
The surprise came off perfectly! 6 years Saradha spent in Little Smile as a child, 3 years lasted her training and after that she worked as a child-minder and is now working in our office. Michael Kreitmeir surprises the young woman on his own birthday with a present – a photo-book containing many moments of their joint life with Little Smile.
After their „Big Girl Party“, Sashikala and Pushpa have dressed up beautifully. No matter what life has prepared for the young Singalese and Tamil woman, today on their special day, there is no brooding, only happiness and laughter.
Since most workers in our farm are Tamils, there is a big Pusha celebration in Dikkapitia at the end of September to ask the Hindu gods for a successful harvest and good prices for the spices.
How do you feel? The children from Little Smile were asked to answer this question with a picture. Pavitra expressed two feelings in her paintings. On the first picture are two birds in free flight confronted with animals locked in a cage. On the second she shows the different feelings of 15-year old girl – sometimes like a bird in a cage and sometimes like a fish in water.