Matara Girls Home Update – August 2018

New Day has been extremely active at the Matara Girls Home during 2018.  Our focus has been on completing a significant upgrade the home’s infrastructure, notably fully renovating the ceiling, roof, and walls in the back of the home.  This will include a complete update of the kitchen, dining area and other facilities.  This work was desperately needed after years of non-investment, bad leakage from the roof which had created  an unsafe living environment.   The girls have had to endure challenging living conditions whilst the work has been completed, but the results have been fantastic and well worth the many months of construction.  The final investment for a new roof over the home is underway and construction to on this final piece of work expected to start in the next month.  In addition to the construction projects, New Day continues to fully support the education program and operating costs of the Home.

We are delighted with the results and the impact New Day is having.  A large contribution from Paul Jurie of Hong Kong has allowed us to largely finance the roof project.  Paul was recently in Matara and texted :

“Congratulations.  You, Liza and the New Day contributors have made an amazing difference to the orphanage and girls.  The girls are so excited with the extension. It’s looking really great. Many thanks, Paul.”

Below are photos of the improvements:


New Day Visit to Matara Girls Home, Sri Lanka – November, 2017

In 2015, New Day held a charity walk across Lantau to raise funding for the Matara Girl’s Home in Sri Lanka.  The event was a tremendous success, raising north of US$80,000.  One of the key reasons we selected the Matara Girl’s Home for the event was a recognition during one of our site visits that the Home was in desperate need of capital investment, revealed by the extensive water damage visible on the walls in the back part of the home.  This would be costly, but it was a necessary investment.  We resolved to replace the roof and make the home safer and ensure the long term viability of the home. 

During 2017 New Day has been working closely with the Matara staff on the planning and implementation of the works program.   For the past many months, work has been underway at the home to replace the roof and undertake material improvements to the kitchen, dining, nursing and laundry facilities.  The work did reveal extensive decay in the roof, ceiling and support structures to the point of representing a safety hazard to the girls living there. 

This October, Chris visited the home to see view the extensive work being undertaken.  It was a terrific visit.  The Girl’s Home is being transformed and radically improved.  We have had to deal with a number of obstacles and ensure our funding is stretched a long way to get the work completed.  Between the operational costs, funding of the after school education and the capital improvements, New Day will have provided funding of approximately US$50,000 in 2017.  We have also been using the funding from the hike to pay for the operational costs of the home in 2017 and will be doing so again in 2018.  Without the Lantau fund raising event, the capital works program would not have been possible.  Without New Day, the work being done at Matara would never have happened.

 What New Day has achieved in Matara in terms of providing operational, educational and now capital support is an incredible gift to the girls that live there.  The staff and volunteers that run the Girl’s Home are thankful to New Day to the point of tears.  New Day Members should feel proud of our achievements with this Project, which we will continue to support in 2018.



New Day funds major construction at Matara Girls Home in Sri Lanka – March 2017

After standing for 80 years in the wet and humid climate of Matara in southern Sri Lanka, the Matara Home was in need of major renovation work – replacing large parts of the roof and undertaking painting and repair work throughout the downstairs areas.  New Day was delighted to be able to reach into the kitty of funds collected for this purpose during the 2015 New Day Lantau Challenge and be able to fund these works with a US$35,000 grant.

After months of careful planning and consulting with a number of architects and contractors as well as numerous planning calls with Chris at New Day, work finally began at the beginning of March.  Despite the disruption, the girls and staff are excited about these much needed renovation works and very grateful for the support New Day has provided.

Here are some photos of the construction along with mural paintings the girls have completed in their spare time while they are not allowed to be indoors due to the construction work.  We are all excited to see the finished product in the next few months!

New Day makes annual grant to Matara Girls’ Home – November 2016

In November New Day made our annual grant to Matara Girls Home.  The grant of US$39,000 includes funds to cover their entire annual operating costs (salaries of matrons, accountant and counsellor, food, clothing, utilities, etc) plus the extra-curricular education program for the girls – sewing, music, art, dance and academic tutorial lessons.  An amount of US$10,000 is earmarked for renovation work needed at the home, mainly the refurbishment of the kitchen and dining areas with purchase of new appliances, cabinets and lights as well as the painting of the interior of the Home.

Highlights to note:

  • There are currently 27 girls at the Home
  • New Day has requested that there be a push to improve the academic support for the older girls taking O levels and they are receiving supplemental tutoring
  • One girls who passed her A levels is currently studying nursing.  She has chosen to remain at the Home while she studies and receives a stipend from New Day to act as additional caretaker for the younger girls.

We are sharing the thank you note from Matara for all New Day members and also some photos of the artwork and embroidery produced as a result of the extra lessons:



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Artwork produced by the girls and recently sold at the Home.  All proceeds are deposited into each girls' savings book.

Artwork and embroidery produced by the girls and recently sold at the Home. All proceeds are deposited into each girls’ savings book.


New Day Visit to Matara Girl’s Home – July 2016

Visit to Matara Girls Home – Louise Sullivan

We were so excited to visit the girls in Matara in July. My dream was to be able to combine a wonderful family holiday with being able to make a difference in some way and be a part of our New Day initiatives. My son (9) decided to raise money and buy the girls some stationary. He sold cakes and toys in our building to raise money and went shopping to select everything he wanted to give the girls. My daughter (6) was more cautious about visiting the Home.

We were welcomed like VIPs by the girls, the home staff and the girl’s teachers. We got to meet the wonderful community of people who support the girls on a day-to-day basis. The girls presented their beautiful art work along one part of the hall. We were treated to an hour of singing, dancing, and music performed by the girls. They were very nervous, but did a beautiful job. The girl who did the announcements in English, introducing each act was particularly nervous. Mily told us that, that day was her first day replacing the oldest girl who usually does this job. The older girl who is 17 will soon be leaving the home, and so her jobs are being handed down to the next in line.20160803-ip6p-matara-girls-home-visit-010

There are a few girls who will be shortly leaving the home now that they are approaching 18. One girl has recently left to live with her mother and sister in a small room while she completes her nursing qualification. The home will continue to support her tuition and basics until they ensure she is self-sufficient. The girl leaving is sad to leave what has become her family home, but is set up to succeed and comes back to visit the girls regularly. Earlier in the year another girl was successfully married to a boy from a nearby orphanage who happens to have a small inheritance so that they can start their life together. In each case we could see that while in the home, each girl is prepared in the best way possible to be able to create a sustainable healthy life after she leaves the home.

20160803-nikon-matara-girls-home-performance-007Mily and staff do their best to create a secure stable home. Each year the home has a turn over of girls staying. Over the past year the home has lost and received up to 8 new girls. In fact while we were there, a new girl had been dropped off by the police in the middle of the night the previous night. Mily explained that while the community often contributes various in-kind support and is very generous in what they provide the home, prior to New Day’s support income was inconsistent and she could not afford to pay for good staff. Since the New Day contribution, one of the many things they have been able to do is afford to pay the wonderful women and men who look after the girls and offer a stable, loving and secure environment. Since the New Day funding they have had the same 2 matrons with the girls.


We were treated to afternoon tea prepared by the girls themselves and shown around the home. They have beautiful new cupboards courtesy of New Day, and a comfortable room to sleep with a bed each, their mosquito net and their teddy bear. Mily showed us the repair work that has already taken place around the home using New Day funding. The home is in need of painting and some further repair. We also saw a small playground being constructed in the back yard.As a special treat, the next day New Day sponsored a day out for the girls. We went to a museum celebrating the life of a famous Sri Lankan author Martin Wickramasinghe. Most of the girls have studied his work but never visited the museum. Afterwards we enjoyed lunch together at a simple restaurant where the girls could run around in the playground. It was also wonderful seeing my son and daughter playing together with the girls as their shyness from the day before decreased. The park and restaurant was located across the road from the Sri Lankan Airforce base, so one of the highlights was that the girls got to board an airplane for the first time in their lives! It was a wonderful day out for us, and a special memorable one for the girls.

We were humbled by our visit and are very grateful to be a part of New Day and the Matara initiative. It could be easy to get overwhelmed by the enormous need in Sir Lanka or globally for that matter. There are so many communities in need. Yet what I most appreciate about New Day is the specificity and quality in which the projects are chosen and undertaken. The clear result of our funding going to ensuring that at any given time, 20 something girls are being effectively prepared to lead productive healthy lives.20160804-ip6p-outing-with-the-matara-girls-011





2015 New Day Grant to Matara Girls’ Home

New Day has funded a grant of US$28,100 for the period June 2015 to June 2016.  The grant will be disbursed in two bi-annual installments and spent according to ongoing consultation and agreements between the Matara committee and New Day.  The funds will primarily be used for tutoring and extra vocational classes and to cover the salaries of all staff at the home (matrons, admin officer, accountant, counselor and tutors).  Remaining grant money will cover operational expenses including building maintenance.

New Day is delighted to support Matara once again.


New Day Visit to Matara Girls’ Home – April 2015

Matara Girls, April 2015.

In April three New Day families visited the Matara Home on two separate occasions, introducing their children to the girls, meeting staff and teachers and joining in the celebrations as the Home marks its’ 80th year.  We were treated to a concert by the girls and attended an art exhibition that they held to auction off their beautiful paintings and handiwork.

Matara Buddhist Girls’ Home is located an hour south of Galle in Sri Lanka.  It is an orphanage caring for girls who are referred to by local social services.  Run on a a small budget and dependent on in-kind donations of food and goods from the community, the Home has limited access to outside funding.  Since June 2014 New Day has been providing anchor funding to pay staff salaries, provide after school activities and tutoring to the girls and take care of repairs and running costs as needed.  To get a feel for the project and the experience of visiting please enjoy the below site visit reports from New Day members Stephanie Early and Maxine Gross. you can also view a slide show here:  My Movie – Small

Dancing with the girls after their concert.

Dancing with the girls after their concert.

Paul and I and our 3 children were lucky enough to have the opportunity to visit Matara Home for Girls with Chris and Liza Green and their 3 children in April this year. From the moment we arrived we were greeted very warmly by the matrons and other staff and with big beautiful smiles from the 26 girls who live at the home.  There was lots of giggling and hiding behind one another as the girls showed us around their home, all of them feeling a little shy but at the same time extremely keen to interact with their visitors.  We spent some time playing some games to try and “break the ice” however most of the girls were distracted by their upcoming show that they were performing for us that afternoon.  There was much activity in the home finalizing costumes, warming up instruments and practicing dance moves.  We were ushered into the hall and joined by the girls’ teachers and other important members of the Matara home community.  It was lovely to speak with the teachers who are funded by New Day to provide the girls with extra curricular educational activities such as Dance, Science, English and Computers.  The teachers were all very positive about the girls progress, commitment and enjoyment of these classes.  It became apparent to me very quickly however that these extra curricular classes offered so much more than enjoyment and something to do after school.  These classes are vital for these girls to learn as much as they can and develop essential skills to better prepare them to navigate the world outside of Matara home when they turn 18.  In the absence of a dowry these girls have limited opportunities to find a husband and have a family which is the traditional role of most  Sri Lankan women.  New Day funding these classes helps the girls to further their education and hopefully give them other options as they prepare for adulthood without a husband or family to support them.  
Stephanie and Paul Early and Liza and Chris Green with Matara staff.

Stephanie and Paul Early and Liza and Chris Green with Matara staff.

For the next hour and half of our visit we enjoyed an amazing performance that included all the girls from 6 years old to nearly 18.  They danced, sang, played musical instruments, wore intricate colorful costumes, presented short spoken English pieces about who they were and even treated us to some comic songs and skits.  We applauded, were impressed, laughed, clapped and were submersed in the world of the girls from Matara.  My greatest pleasure was seeing all the girls involved, excited and extremely happy in who they were and what they were doing throughout the show.  “We have been practising and rehearsing this show for 1 year” one of the girls told me.  I was blown away and the significance of what we had just watched increased ten fold.  The shy little girls with the big smiles that we met 2 hours ago had disappeared by the time the show was finished.  We now saw 26 energized and animated girls who wanted to play games and dance and sing and laugh with our children…….this day was extremely important to the girls at the Matara home.  As we left the home that evening I hoped that every one of those girls went to bed that night thinking happy thoughts about their day and feeling as proud of themselves as we, their community and teachers were.

Stephanie Early

Dancing together and attending the girls art exhibition in Matara town.

Attending the girls art exhibition in Matara town.

Isabella and Ava Gross enjoying the afternoon with the girls in front of the main entrance to the Home.

Enjoying the afternoon with the girls in front of the main entrance to the Home.

It was a wonderful experience visiting the Matara girls home for myself, Isabella and Ava. It was beneficial to see one of the projects we contribute towards, to meet the people, and chat about their needs. Milly talked to me about how they are trying to improve their garden / outdoor space at the moment and hopefully build a bit of a playground for the girls. It was especially wonderful for my girls to see first hand those that are less fortunate than them and how they can bring them much happiness just by spending some time with them and introducing them to some activities they may not have played or done before. We all had a lot of fun with water pistols to cool off and relax in each others company and then with simple games such as skipping ropes, jacks, throwing balls, marbles and hop scotch! The Matara girls also introduced us to some of their dances and music. We also bought some of the girls paintings, which was a great way that each of the girls in the home could start to earn and save some of their own money,  as the money from any of their own works sold at an exhibition goes into their own accounts. We will definitely stay in touch with them and look forward to hearing about ways we can help in the future.

Maxine Gross

New Day is delighted to be supporting this project and will be making a second grant in June .  However there is so much more we can do – the Home is in need of repairs, new furniture, work in the outdoor yard and much more.  They also appreciate any input and ideas on how they can provide brighter futures for the girls once they leave the Home and look for a job or begin further education. We invite members to come forward if want to get more involved with his project. New Day would like to arrange a working visit to the Home in early 2016 to undertake some painting and renovations and spend time with the girls.  Please contact us if you are interested in joining.

New Day funds Matara Buddhist Girls Home – Sri Lanka



New Day is pleased to be renewing our partnership with the Matara Buddhist Girls’ Home. Established in 1963, the Home aims to provide a safe, comfortable and nurturing environment for girls from the district of Matara, Sri Lanka.  It is a small charity run by the local community with no website or significant access to external donors.  Matara was introduced to New Day by friends from the Hong Kong professional community. The Matara residents are guided to develop self-confidence and resilience, and where possible, employable skills to allow them to be independent and lead fulfilling lives, once they leave. The Home caters for 30-40 girls and currently has 29 residents between the ages of 5 and 18 years old.  The Home is open to girls from all religious backgrounds and also provides shelter for girls who are victims of domestic situations, and undergoing court cases. They are temporarily housed in the orphanage so that they have a secure and safe home until the court reaches a final decision.

The children attend a local neighborhood school and are expected to leave once they reach the age of 18. Three matrons and a committee run the Home. The Home not only provides shelter, food, clothing and loving care to the children but would also like to provide vocational skills and extra educational support to the children to allow them to easily secure jobs once they have to leave the Home.

New Day has approved a grant of US$20,000 for the period June 2014 to June 2015.  The grant will be disbursed in two bi-annual installments and spent according to ongoing consultation and agreements between the Matara committee and New Day.  The funds will primarily be used for tutoring and extra vocational classes, the salaries of all staff at the home (matrons, admin officer and tutors) as well as a newly appointed counselor and accountant.  remaining grant money will cover operational expenses including building maintenance.

New Day is delighted to support Matara once again.  We look forward to visiting the home and encourage our members to plan a visit with their families and learn more about additional ways they can help.

Please see below for details of the funding request from the Matara committee:

Tutoring and extra classes: In order to improve the girls’ wellbeing and future employment prospects, the committee would like to train the girls in English language skills, computing, cookery, sewing and embroidery. Painting, music and drama classes help to lift the spirits of the children. Generous donors provided these extra classes but these donations have now dried up. Currently there is a teacher who provides all the children extra coaching for schoolwork. The committee would like to request for funding to engage a dedicated teacher for the children who will be sitting for their O’Level examinations this year and another teacher for the rest of the children.

Counseling: As many of the children come from extremely disturbed backgrounds we need to provide timely and ongoing counseling support to help them overcome significant trauma that they have experienced, so that they can develop hope and a positive attitude to their future. Currently, the staff provide whatever support they can while managing their day to day duties, but they do not have the time or training to give one-on-one counseling support to the girls who need this.

Accountant: To ensure that our accounting and governance practices are in good order, we would like to have a staff position responsible for this function. Currently we are relying on Committee members who are busy with their own personal responsibilities and therefore can only devote time to this function when their busy schedules allow. A designated position will help with the drafting of the budget and estimating the financial needs of the Home, the timely recording of all expenditure and receipts and will support the financial management of the orphanage.

Matara Girls’ Orphanage – Fully Funded!

Jonathan with Mily and other committee members

In September 2009 New Day member Jonathan Back visited the Girl’s Home in Matara where he met the girls along with Mrs Mily Kulatileke and the other members of the orphanage committee.  He was very pleased with the management  and development of the home and has established a good connection with Mrs Kulatileke for future communication.  Jonathan reported that the most pressing need at Matara was for funding for O level tutoring and extra classes for the girls to attend once they return to the home after school.   These classes include English, computer skills, dancing and music.  Jonathan gave the following summary of his visit:
‘I visited the Matara Girls Home together with two colleagues from another Sri Lankan children’s charity (Schools Relief Initiative) in October last year. We met with Mily and several other Board members as well as the on-site care givers. The immediate impression was of the dedication of Mily and the other Board members as well as their deep commitment to do the best they can for the girls in their charge. We were shown all the facilities at the Home. The recreation room and classrooms are large and suitable. Equally the dormitories are also spacious although obviously all the girls sleep together grouped by ages. However the dining facility was very small and dingy which is why the most immediate capital project is a new dining facility which is under construction now. Mily also showed us a relatively new building that was built after the tsunami. This has a relatively large auditorium which is not much used although the upper floor has one of the dormitories which is truly useful. Mily noted that sometimes donors are too keen only to fund visible building projects whereas what they really need for the most part is funding for their operational expenses. This is not just food and utilities but the extra teachers for music etc. We were also treated to two music and dance displays by the girls which were very well done and showed the commitment from both girls and staff to ensuring that culture is a key part of their experience at the Home.’
New Day is happy to help in strengthening the education and future possibilities of the girls at Matara and to provide them with activities that will bring  joy and interest into their daily lives.
On the 6th of January 2010 New Day gave a grant of USD5,000 to Matara.  We look forward to visiting them again this year and hearing about their progress!

The girls at Matara

Matara Girls Orphanage – Matara, Sri Lanka










Have a look at the members’ presentation on the Orphanage here: Matara presentation Oct 09

Project : Matara Girls Orphanage

Location : Galle, Sri Lanka

Project Leader : Liza Green


Funding status : Approved, pending final documentation


Corporate Funding Partner : None

Foundation Partner : None.  This project was sourced from a New Day member.

In Sri Lanka today institutional care is the fate of many children who have been abandoned by their parents. A UNICEF report says in most cases it is a family member who leaves the child at an orphanage or government agency. Sometimes this is the result of the breakdown of the family unit by such things as parental loss, separation or parental conflict. Poverty is also a root cause with the family feeling they cannot afford to adequately provide for the child, according to the UN agency.

The Matara Buddhist Girls Home located in the district of Matara, Sri Lanka is an orphanage for girls founded in 1961.  The orphanage is privately run and is not funded by the government.  The orphanage originally had the capacity to house 30 girls.  After an extension was built in 2008 the capacity increased to 50 girls but could comfortably take in 45 girls only.  The orphanage currently has 39 girls.  They will be welcoming a few more girls very shortly. The girls are between the ages of 5 and 18.  At the age of 18 the girls are expected to leave the home. Three matrons and a committee run the home.

The home not only provides shelter, food, clothing and loving care to the children but would also like to provide vocational skills and extra education to the children.  The children attend a local neighbourhood school.  The overall objective is to facilitate the children’s overall mental and physical development and offer new opportunities and hope to these children.

Funding requirements

Dining room extension

As the orphanage is now taking in more children there is now a need to extend the dining room.  Currently the girls are having their meals in three shifts.  With an extension in the dining room the girls could have their meals together.  This will also be convenient for the matrons.  The dining room could also be used for after school classes for the children.  Currently the committee is asking an architect to provide a proposal for the extension.

 Extra classes

 In order to improve the girls well being and future employment prospects, the committee would like to train the girls in computing, cookery, painting, sewing and embroidery, music and drama classes.  These extra classes were provided before out of the generous donations but these donations have now dried up.  Currently there is a teacher who provides all the children extra coaching for school work but the committee would like to engage a dedicated teacher for the children who will be sitting for their O’Level examinations this year.

 Education 1 Year             3 Years

O’ Level tutor □ $600

Computer Classes □ $150 □    $450

Painting Classes □ $200 □    $600

Cooking Classes □ $200 □    $600

Sewing & Embroidery Classes □ $200 □    $600

Music Classes □ $200 □    $600

Drama Workshop/Therapy* □ $? □    $?

 GRAND TOTAL □ $1350                         □      $4050

 * This workshop has been therapuetic for tsunami affected children

New Day has approved a grant of HKD39,000 for the Matara Orphanage in 2009.  Consultations will now take place between Liza and the orphanage to determine how best to prioritise the spending of the grant.  A final budget and breakdown of the grant, along with the rationale for each cost will be presented to the members and posted on the site before any money is disbursed.