Below is the personal view of Dr Kevin Dillow, our former British Director of Studies, regarding Pahamune House:

On 26 th December 2004 I found myself at my brother's house in Britain and was awoken to hear that a tsunami wave had hit Sri Lanka. My initial concerns were for the staff and students of the school in Colombo of which I was Principal. After a hectic exchange of e-mails and phone calls, I was able to ascertain that all of those for whom I had responsibility were safe.

Like many others at the time I found myself transfixed by the images on the television of the death and devastation caused by this natural catastrophe. However I also faced the journey back to Sri Lanka four days after the tsunami and felt some trepidation about what I would find.

My return home to Sri Lanka brought me far closer to the disaster that had befallen the country but I was immediately also struck by the individual acts of charity by the least advantaged people who risked everything to save others or to help feed those in need. Also apparent were stories of others who had used the disaster for their own ends and it was clear that protecting the affected children was a pressing and immediate need.

It was at this time that a friend introduced me to developments at Pahamune House and he gave regular reports on the sheer good work being done to transform the lives of those housed there. His reports of the conditions and aims were so glowing that within part of me the idea of leaving headmastership was born and the desire to make a difference at Pahamune grew.

My busy life did not allow me to visit Pahamune but I accepted the opportunity to come here and help. This was not without some fear or concern as it was a major risk for me. My arrival here, however, convinced me that I had made the right decision and found the place that both I and the children could call home.

Quickly I realised this was a truly special place and a few examples might help you to understand why.

  • To me Pahamune is the place where children who have nothing hold out their tiny clenched fists to give you one of the few sweets that they have. If you refuse they insist until you as they would say take and eat.
  • It is the place where Muslim children help Hindus to decorate their temple and stand in silent reverence as the children chant their special songs.
  • It is the place where at 6 o'clock at night a hundred little voices are heard praising their own God and thanking him for their good fortune.
  • It is the place where a crying child immediately finds four friends and two teachers to comfort him or her.
  • It is the place where a six year old boy, who was in trauma two years before, will fall asleep with his head on your shoulder and awake with an enormous smile of joy.
  • It is a place where the most common thing is a smile and the most common noise is laughter but where tears are noisily shed when a child or teacher departs.
  • It is a place where trust is built upon the knowledge that help will be long-term and where friendships are for life.
  • It is a place which over a hundred children and thirty staff call their home.

However I also know that Pahamune House has a deep mission to help as many children as it can afford and manage.

In the minds of our children the tsunami is a fading but hugely bitter memory. For others outside of Sri Lanka, however, it is a more distant memory and features as just one of the many disasters to have hit the world in recent years.

It is right that the world's attention has moved on to the latest or biggest crisis but Pahamune House still knows that there is more work to do. We will only succeed if our children gain the consistent support they need not just to solve the immediate crises that they have faced but to build better and more secure lives.

At Pahamune House we know that a lot of love and a small amount of money can help a small child to go a very long way. I hope that you can support us or that you can find in your life somewhere as special as Pahamune House to call your home.



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