Adopt a Town

how we helped save a town after a tsunami


With the help of our charity partner Rose Charities Canada, CSLI has adopted a township called Kalmunai on the neglected east coast of Sri Lanka. This is  the centre of many of our projects.

From the first few days after the 2004 tsunami, CSLI has supported projects here from emergency relief, medical support, counselling, education programs (including pre-school to university scholarships), skills training and micro-credit that continue on today. It is a fascinating community of almost 100,000 people where Singalese (mostly Buddhist), Tamil (Hindu of Indian descent), Moors (the only Muslim majority municipality in the country) and Burghers (Christians of European descent) people live together in relative harmony. CSLI is an active member of the Rose Charities Sri Lanka project that fundraises and coordinates projects with Kalmunai’s operations.

Six years after the tsunami, two years after civil war, and the recent 2011 floods many families still live in poverty and in temporary shelter. Education is the key to breaking the poverty cycle and we focus most on women & children’s projects. CSLI and Rose Charities operate without any political and religious affiliation.

Why Kalmunai?

Of the many places affected by the tsunami, this town had many connections with Vancouver:  Rose Charities with their desire to contribute a valuable team of experienced doctors & nurse volunteers from Vancouver Children’s Hospital, including Dr Mike Seear, Staff Physician (author of International Health*), Yoga Yogendran, a Kalmunai-born Canadian and an active member in the local Sri Lankan community, a committed local media in Global TV. And then there was Anthony Richard who story is below.

Of all the countries affected, CSLI identified Sri Lanka as a place where we could make a real difference: it is a British Commonwealth country that has similar laws as Canada and despite poverty levels in parts of the country, English is an established language. Knowing this, it would make communication easier & results more effective. The east coast was severely affected and was receiving little attention. When we heard Anthony’s story we knew we had to be involved: Kalmunai was isolated (bad roads, flooding and no airport). After all we had to start somewhere….

Anthony’s Story

Antony Richards

Anthony Richard is a Canadian Sri Lankan who was living in Surrey, BC. Originally from Kalmunai, he had lost over 30 members from his family in the tsunami.

Antony returned to a home town that was completely devastated.

Through the attention received in local media, a small Vancouver support team (including a medical team from Rose Charities, Global TV and Lawrence Keenan from CSLI) traveled with Anthony back to Sri Lanka days after to reunite with the remainder of his relatives. While his immediate family lives in near Vancouver, Anthony has continued his commitment to helping his hometown by heading up ongoing Rose Charity projects in Kalmunai, leading a local community committee that now manages micro-credit, professional training, social programs and schooling that supports thousands of families.

Six years on, the project continues with the support of other funders such as CIDA (Canadian International Development Agency) and the Optimus Foundation in Switzerland as well as many community supporters from Vancouver and Canada including . All our Sri Lankan projects are a success as a result of having Anthony Richard and his Kalmunai team working so well in gaining the trust and respect in their community. Anthony has sacrificed much for the opportunity he is giving to his hometown people, including being away from his own family in Canada for 10-11 months of the year, working 12 hour days.


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