It was whilst surfing one afternoon in December where I caught a wave and thought “yeah I can surf woooo” that I happened to meet a fellow surfer and English man, Darren. He would be my introduction to Eagle House charity in Hikkaduwa. Do something you love and follow your passion and good things will hopefully come? Well I certainly felt this way with my introduction to volunteering with the charity.
Eagle House was set up by a lady with a very strong spirit, Eddi Piper who came to Sri Lanka post tsunami to raise money for those affected. She has worked tirelessly to raise not only funds to help people in the community but also to raise their self esteem. Four years later she has built up a community of children who adore attending the English, Art, Music and Dance classes to name but a few of the extra curricular activities.
She has encouraged independence and financial income for women by setting up a women’s cooperative called Hikka Homecraft who make hand made gifts such as soft elephants, purses and embroidered notebooks to sell in local shops in Hikkaduwa. I attended some of the sewing classes and was always impressed to see so many creative women making beautiful products.
I had the pleasure alongside Darren to assist with art classes and play basketball with the children. The kids enthusiasm for everything was infectious and the girls certainly weren’t shy with the ball when it came to tackles and passes. Some of my best moments in Sri Lanka were with these kids, getting a smile or a shout of ‘Alex’ when they passed me the ball meant a lot to me.
In my time at Eagle House we were gearing up for the anniversary day on the 9th of February, this years theme was monsters so we used every prop available to create weird and wonderful creatures to hang around the house.
The anniversary day kicked off with the band marching along the street then the traditional opening ceremony. Hundreds of children and their families had flocked to Eagle House eager to take part in the fun and games. I helped the kids to draw on paper plates and saw some fantastic imaginative minds running free. The house was buzzing with atmosphere and excitement and was great fun to be within. The kids were able to show off all their hard work from the English, Music, Dance and Art classes for their families and friends, no doubt there were a lot of proud people in the audience that day.
The women who help Eddi to run Eagle House are incredible. Mangalika is the straight talking independent lady who knows everything there is to know about the charity and has a penchant for ice cream. Kali is a soft soul who’s easy style and kind heart you can’t ignore. Saying goodbye to all the women and kids was hard because actually I didn’t want to stop the volunteering and hanging out together.
On my last day in Hikkaduwa Karly and I were walking together and chatting. Karly has it tough, there is no getting around that. I want to tell you her story because I want you and I to help her.
Karly used to live in Lebanon where she met a man who became her husband and they had a daughter, Themi. During her infancy there was war in Lebanon and when Themi was 8 months old she was severely affected by the bombings and started having epileptic fits her brain was affected and from that age she has needed constant care. Karly’s husband left her and fled the country and has never seen them since or provided her with any financial support. Both of Karly’s parents have passed away so there is no one to help her look after her daughter. Themi is now 24 years old and bed ridden. The majority of Karly’s income goes on medical costs for Themi to try and improve her condition. Karly gets an income of 1000 rupee per week (£5) from Eddi for her work with the art classes but this will end in April when Eddi returns to England and Mangalika who won’t be able to pay salaries will take over running Eagle House from her own home. I was told this story in the space of five minutes and couldn’t believe how awful it was and straight away I knew I needed to help Karly.
Karly wants to build a bathroom so she can bathe her daughter in privacy but this will cost £400. I am hoping together we can pull together and raise enough to enable her to do this. Otherwise Karly has very little hope of getting the finances herself. It would be brilliant if we could club together to help Karly and ease her worries even if its a tiny amount. If you can spare some pounds, Euros, dollars whatever currency you may have I will be collecting it to send out to her and would thank you very much in advance.
Please email me at email@example.com for more information on how you can donate.
If you’d like to know more about Eagle House and how you can help to support the project to keep it ongoing check out Eddi’s website at:
And if you are in Sri Lanka then be sure to look out for Hikka Home craft products when you visit Hikkaduwa!
Thank you for reading and thank you to Eddi and all at Eagle House I truly had a blast with you, you touched my heart and I won’t forget you.