Music Mobile Helps Grassroots
During its 29 years of building peaceful communities through music and creative arts, Music Mobile has collaborated with numerous organizations and individuals to help make the world a safer and more compassionate place to live. One of those groups is the Friends of Sri Lanka Fund, a community effort dedicated to bringing assistance and hope to the people of Sri Lanka.
Now closed after successfully accomplishing its mission, the Friends of Sri Lanka Fund raised a total of $94,430 and completed eight tsunami relief projects that touched the lives of thousands of people of all ages in Sri Lanka. Each of the eight unique projects were made possible through contributions made by donors from all over the United States, mostly from New York’s Capital Region and New England. Twenty percent of the contributions were generated by children and youth from 25 elementary, middle and high schools who initiated campaigns designed to raise money and awareness.
The Fund ultimately purchased and distributed 100 fishing boats, 125 fishing nets, 500 cooking stoves, 4000 undergarments, 250 backpacks filled with school supplies, 29 school band instruments and uniforms, 30 CD and DVD players, and a school playground
The connection of Music Mobile and its founder and executive director, Ruth Pelham, to Sri Lanka began in 2002 when Ruth sang in numerous villages through out Sri Lanka as part of a Children’s Rights Project sponsored by a Sri Lankan peace and development organization. In keeping with the mission of Music Mobile’s international projects, Ruth anticipated returning to Sri Lanka to continue making local and global connections through cultural exchanges among children and adults alike.
In late December, 2004, when Sri Lanka was devastated by the tsunami, Ruth began the Friends of Sri Lanka Fund in order to gather support for a Sri Lankan friend living in the Capital Region who needed to fly to Sri Lanka to be with his family during their time of profound loss. Once in Sri Lanka, he phoned Ruth to tell her that all of the fishing boats in his coastal village had been destroyed, and that he wanted to purchase boats for two fishermen. Together, they decided to raise money to purchase fishing boats to help twenty fishermen, and thus began the second phase of the Friends of Sri Lanka Fund.
To coordinate many of the details and logistics involved in purchasing and distributing items to people in villages, schools and refugee camps, the pair worked in coordination with a Sri Lanka based musical colleague of Ruth’s who had also participated in the 2002 Children’s Rights Project as its musical director. With the assistance of her husband and daughter, the actress-singer traveled through out Sri Lanka to carry out tasks and build relationships that were essential to the Fund’s success.
Traveling with her Sri Lankan friends, Ruth returned to Sri Lanka in April, 2006. The purpose of the trip was to see with their own eyes the results of the projects, meet the people touched by the Fund, and document the efforts that generous and compassionate people put forth to help rebuild the lives of the Sri Lankan people after the tsunami.
The photos in this collection, although only a small part of the hundreds that Ruth filmed, recount the resiliency and hard work of the Sri Lankan people who Ruth met during the April visit. Our hope is that the photos be a reminder of the goodness that can be accomplished when friends and strangers join together in a spirit of community to help bring about healing and restoration in times of profound need.