Changing the world one person at a time

Beach village in Sri Lanka devastated by the Tsunami
Beach village in Sri Lanka devastated by the Tsunami

I want to change the world! I have a vision of a world without extreme poverty; a world where everyone has the same opportunities that I have had. But I realise that I cannot do that on my own, and in any case, as an aim, changing the world is a bit vague. The world consists of people: we can only change the world, one person at a time.

So, this article is about one young lady whose life has been radically changed through a family in England who cared enough to sponsor her through Karuna Action, and a partner organisation in Sri Lanka. Buddika was brought up in a small hut built on the beach in Sri Lanka. Why build a house on the sand? Homes are built on the beach because poor people cannot afford to build anywhere else!

Without help, Buddika’s life would have been very different. With minimal schooling, she would not have been able to get a job and would probably still be living in extreme poverty as her parents did. One poor generation producing another poor generation! Some people criticise child sponsorship: but the Karuna Action scheme concentrates on education. What a difference it has made! Now she has hope and a bright future.

This is her story, it comes from the Karuna Action news blog:

Although we are very proud of all the students who are sponsored through Karuna Action and everything they achieve, I wanted to share Buddika’s story with you as it’s such an inspiring one. Buddika has been sponsored through Karuna Action with Community Concern Society in Dehiwela, Sri Lanka, since she was 12 years old and has worked really hard over the last 7 years to do well at school. Buddika has recently completed her A Levels and has received an A in Business Studies, 2 B’s in Economics and Accounting and a C in English! To come away with four A levels with these grades is a great achievement and the future is looking bright for her indeed. Buddika would like to be a Chartered Accountant and is currently working part time at an accounting firm in Colombo, Sri Lanka’s capital, whilst she sits for the chartered accountants exams.

What is even more amazing is that on Boxing Day in 2004, Buddika and her family lost everything in the tsunami that affected the island. The family lived in a small hut on the beach, the front wall of their home was missing and their personal possessions had been washed away. A field officer from Community Concern Society was made aware of the families situation in 2005 and Buddika was sponsored to go to school. Buddika’s parents explained how they had struggled to survive after the disaster. Her father is a diver collecting ornamental fish, a job made difficult in the aftermath of the tsunami and also due to the war situation that was raging in the north of the island at that time. Unfortunately, this drove Buddika’s father to begin drinking heavily and her mother was left to support the family through sewing bits and pieces for neighbours.

Sandra, our partner at CCS and who has been overseeing Buddika’s progress, is very proud of what Buddika has achieved and knows that this has been done against all odds:

“Though Buddika struggled in those early years, she never gave up. She constantly kept focussed on wanting to complete her studies, knowing it would open up a whole new world to her. The funds made available to her were carefully used by her to keep her in school. She has been determined to learn more English and continues to develop her skills on the computer which is essential to her job. She has a humble personality and is willing to work hard. She began helping her mother in the household by providing groceries and other essentials and this together with her mothers sewing money is the families whole income. Buddika is eternally grateful to her sponsors, who made it all happen.”

Buddika is hoping to go to university in 2014 to gain further qualifications which will allow her to join an accounting firm as a fully qualified chartered accountant. We wish her all the best and will continue to support and encourage her in what she hopes to achieve.

This article came from Karuna News, February 2013. If you subscribe to Karuna News or click “Like” the Karuna Action Facebook page you will know when the next month’s newsletter is ready.

Sponsoring a child for education through Karuna Action costs from £15 a month. A real investment in the life of a real young person. Act today!

Author: George Dowdell

I was the founder of Karuna Action (formerly Kingscare) and was the director for 24 years. I have now handed control over to younger people but continue as an advisor and trustee. My passion is to see extreme poverty eliminated and to see justice for the powerless.

3 thoughts on “Changing the world one person at a time”

  1. I notice you seem to only write about this one organisation, aren’t there others that do good work too? Obviously you have a bias towards them, I just wonder if working with others you might gain a broader perspective and champion other worthy causes. But it is great to read how lives get changed one at a time through this organisation too.


    1. Dear Anonymous

      Thanks for your comments,

      As the founder, the director for for 25 years, and now a trustee of Karuna Action, I must admit to a little bias! But I am aware of and constantly amazed at the quality and quantity of great work done by so many organisations around the world.

      But I write to raise awareness of issues about poverty and often take my example from the work of the charity I know so well. The principal is true for all, that to change the world we must change it for one person at a time.



      1. So are you going to use other examples of good work? It could be construe as naive if one was to only choose the example that needs no research, a bit close too home to be objective about the bottom billion, though I do agree we can only personally do this one person at a time.


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