THE CHRISTMAS GIFT PROJECT
What is the Sri Lankan Orphanages Christmas Gift Project?
The Sri Lanka Orphanages Project is about sending Christmas gifts to children in Christian, Buddhist, Hindu and Muslim orphanages in the north, south, east and west of Sri Lanka irrespective of race or religion.
The focus of the gift project has been to share the joy of Christmas with children who have little or nothing, and to make a difference in their lives by making them feel special with an individually packed and named gift at Christmas. For many children, this is the only gift they receive each year.
How did the Christmas Gift Project begin?
It all began in December 1994. One woman, as a gesture of thanksgiving for the miracle of having children after it was deemed medically impossible for 7 years gathered a small group of friends to send 20 gifts to one orphange in Sri Lanka.
How has the Project grown?
What began as a one off action gathered momentum through the enthusiasm of that intial group and continued to grow year after year, becoming loosely known as The Sri Lankan Orphanages Christmas Gift Project. In December 2004, on the eve of the tsunami, the ABC did a segment featuring the Christmas Gift Project on the 7.30 Report.Over the years, thanks to the commitment and support of many more individuals, school retailers, wholesalers, churches, clubs and community groups, the numbers of children impacted by this project increased exponentially from 20 gifts in 1994 to over 3500 in more than 50 orphanages in 2013. Over the years, the network of donors has grown exponentially with the number of children receiving gifts.
Who is involved?
The increase in the number of gifts sent has been facilitated by a number of dedicated individuals, community groups, including:
Schools, both public and private
Many hundreds of individual volunteers who come together to pack and wrap the gifts each October.
How does it happen?
The National YMCA of Sri Lanka collects and sends us lists with the names, genders and ages of the children in over 50 orphanages across Sri Lanka. Some of the smaller orphanages are allocated to individuals or groups, who, using their various networks, co-ordinate the gifts for those homes. The remaining orphages are looked after at the famous "Packing Day", which takes place in October each year at the Carlingford High School Hall.
What does a gift consist of?
Each gift consists of:
A set of new summer clothing, including underwear
Age appropriate toy/s
Stationery and exercise books
Toiletries and towels
Hair ornaments for girls or caps for boys and other appropriate miscellaneous gifts
Sports equipment and craft supplies for the home
How are the gifts sourced?
All contents of gifts are new and are either donated by individuals or retailers or purchased in bulk at wholesale prices with donated funds.
Our dedicated sewers are also at work throughout the year making thousands of dresses, skirts, toiletry bags, dolls, pillow slips and other such items.
How are the gifts sent to Sri Lanka?
The gifts are shipped to Sri Lanka. The cost of shipping is underwritten by Christian City Church Carlingford (CCC).
How are the gifts delivered to the orphanages in Sri Lanka?
Child Action Lanka clears the shipment of gifts and distributes the gifts to the various orphanages through YMCA branches around the country.
CCC provides administrative and accounting support and provides acknowledgements for all donations received.
Each orphanage provides written acknowledgement of the gifts and sends back photographs of the distribution.
Many volunteer Sri Lankan/Australians holidaying in Sri Lanka also visit the orphanages, participate in the gift distribution and bring back firsthand information on the impact of the gifts on the children.