Travel Reports



One of the three students graduating in June was Riyas.  He was 19 years old and lost his parents and his sister in the tsunami, as well as most of his relatives.


He found shelter in the house of a school friend whose parents showed their gratitude for survival by giving Riyaz a new home.  They would not be able to give him an education as it will be hard enough on them to support their own son.

All Roy was able to do for the boy was to get him death certificates for his parents and his sister which entitled him to 45,000 Rupees compensation from the government.  (15,000 rupees for each of his Mother, Father and sister who were lost to the tsunami)

This is also a very sad thing.  Most people who lost their family and relatives also lost all their belongings and their certificates.  They have never seen the bodies of their loved ones and had to prove to the authorities their loss. 

Riyas caught our attention and we asked for a second visit – without a teacher present.  His English was quite good and Nishan, Roy`s brother in law, helped out if we did not understood something.  The longer we talked the more we had this feeling, that it might be possible to support him after his graduation … somehow!

He was planning to become an accountant before the tsunami and would have very good career opportunities.  Sadly again, the education should take place preferably at a private institution instead of a government university.  An education like that is way out of his reach after the loss of his parents.

The costs might add up to 250 swiss francs per month as he would have to leave Hambantota and would need money for room and board costs as well.

Having three children studying at the university ourselves, we were well aware that this was a lot of money.  We also knew that a lot of students in our country did not have the best of perspectives.  And too, that many people already give support to others abroad and at home.

But then again, if we could find enough “mothers and fathers” for Riyas, it would only take a small amount from each to give him a future.  It would be only one, but it would at least be one………  We opened a bank account in his name and were determined to give our best and also hoped for support from others.

We decided to keep in personal contact with him, visit him regularly and to follow his career.  We also will forward any information to his “new” mothers and fathers that would choose to support him.

Once again, Roy was tasked to provide us with regular updates, with payments to be made directly to the school for a quarter of a year at a time, conditional to Riyas continuing with good performance with his studies.  To cover the cost of living, we opened a personal account for him and set him on a very tight budget.


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