The Atlantic Ocean, the Sahara Desert and Mt. Everest combined could not keep Mikesha Withanachchi from helping her fellow girls in Sri Lanka.
Withanachchi, a seventh-grade student in Sacred Heart school, Bayside, asked her principal, Dennis Farrell, to send a letter to the school community with a request. She wanted to ask for assistance in collecting clothes, books and other items.
Her letter was included in the school’s weekly newsletter and help came pouring in. Cartons of donations began to arrive. Her family collected the items and shipped them to an orphanage in Sri Lanka that is in great need of assistance in providing the basic necessities to the girls in its care.
The letter stated:
“Dear Sacred Heart School families,
“I am writing to you to help me with a project in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka is a little island in Asia that has beautiful beaches, a tropical climate and a rich culture. But there are many who are in need, especially an orphanage called Gangodawilla Girls’ Home.
“In the town of Gangodawilla in Sri Lanka, there is an orphanage that houses 96 girls from the age of three years to 18 years. Some girls have no homes and families and others have families that are so poor that they cannot afford to keep them. The orphanage was founded 50 years ago and has expanded. It is funded by a very small grant from the government so most funds come from charity. The girls are clothed, educated, and trained in a vocation before joining the real world.
“This organization is asking for very simple items. But I can’t do this on my own so I contacted Mr. Farrell to help me. He graciously gave me permission to ask you for your support in making this happen … The items that you donate will help these less fortunate children get a better quality of life that they need so desperately. I can’t even begin to tell you what a great assistance you’ll be to them!”