The picture on the front of the Christmas card is a typically bright product of a young children's imagination. However, the reassuring normality of the image coloured by Jesudasan Christina is a tribute to the success of housing and education programmes in Sri Lanka supported by the Lotus Children's Foundation.
The charity, launched by Daya Thayan, CEO of Kingsley Healthcare, his wife Sumi and Kingsley colleagues after the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami, initially supported youngsters orphaned and disadvantaged by the natural disaster but has gone on to raise the living standards of other children affected by civil war and social deprivation.
All proceeds from the cards, on sale for 25p each at the Lowestoft Journal and EDP office, in High Street, Lowestoft, as well as Kingsley's care homes across the country, will support the charity's work. Mr Thayan, who has grown his business in 18 years from one care home in Oulton Broad to a national group employing 1,600 people, said: The smiles on the faces of the children on the back of the card, including Jesudasan, who all live at the Haldanduwana home supported by our foundation, speak for themselves. My wife Sumi and I visit our former homeland of Sri Lanka every February and love to spend time with the children; it is an opportunity for us to reconnect with the people we are supporting. While we are there, we work hard for the charity and ensure every penny goes to the good causes we are supporting and not administration and other expenses. “It is humbling to see the selfless commitment of our charity workers and uplifting to see the positive effect on the children.
Mr Thayan, who grew up in the north of Sri Lanka, recalled how he and Sumi - who is operations director at Kingsley - were staying at a hotel at Bentota, on the south coast of the island, when the tsunami struck. He said: We heard a very strange noise coming from the sea and noticed the water draw back from the shore. What followed 30 minutes later were massive waves and we were luckily on the third or fourth floor.
A lot of the villages surrounding the hotel, and we saw it first hand, were wiped away. He said their first thought was how to support those children orphaned and left homeless by the tsunami. The foundation we set up, supported by Sumi and I personally as well as by Kingsley, provided financial assistance to the charities that were working on the ground, such as the Ladani Institute, he said. The foundation has since become involved in a variety of projects across the island, to provide housing, education, vocational training and small loans to allow families to set up businesses and stand on their own feet.
Through 17 years, the charity had gone on to support thousands of children and to give them a future of hope. To find the full list of addresses of our care homes where cards can be purchased, visit our website kingsleyhealthcare.co.uk. The cards can also be bought from Kingsley's head office in Clapham Road South, Lowestoft, by first ringing Stephen Pullinger on 01502-502709.
Visit our website: http://www.lotus-foundation.org