Old Railroad Maradana, Colombo 10 , Sri Lanka

Co -Founders :  Kirby de Lanerolle & Fiona de Lanerolle

Manager :  Mel Wijegooneratne

 

Maradana located in the centre of Colombo (the capital of Sri Lanka) is home to more than 800 slums which house more than 100,000 people. These are some of the most poorest people in Sri Lanka who have less than $1 per day to live on.

The Warehouse project is an inspirational idea brought to life by two very hard working people by the names of Kirby and Fiona de Lanerolle. Their vision is to bridge the existing society difference gap in the community by providing a common platform, to  promotes culture, creativity regardless of age, sex, religion or background. The project is programmed in such a way that allows for the members of the community to take initiative to enrich the lives of their own community and by doing so this project  has been proven sustainable throughout the years.

True to its name the project is held in a old colonial warehouse located bordering the Maradana Shanty estate. A fair amount of renovation was needed to  make the warehouse a usable space for the community centre.

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The Warehouse project works by a system of branded programs which focus on different aspects of community needs to provide a holistic solution to the challenges the community faces so to give a long term solution than a short term fix. The program layout is diverse to help the basic needs of the community (Food, Clothing and Shelter) of the community also to provide better opportunity to enrich their lives and equipped them with tools for a better tomorrow.  The project hopes to be the face of the change that is needed in Colombo and in the long run to be a prototype that can be implemented in all the need areas in other parts of Sri Lanka.

2Eat:  This program ensures that the people of that community receives at least one wholesome meal a day which is made by the members of the community in the fully stocked kitchen the project has provided. This program not only helps to nourish the members of the community but also instils within the community a sense of ownership and enables them to take care of their   own community.

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4Borderless :  This Program intends to interact children from all walk of life (the ones who usually do not interact in a day to day basis due to social class difference, age, gender etc) by using art and music as the binding medium. Artist and Performers from all over Sri Lanka are invited to conduct these events giving the children the best exposure that Sri Lanka has to offer. It creates a common stage where they interact for a common goal either art related activity or music. This helps to break down social walls which are already existing in society and helps to create friendships and bonds that would hopefully be strong enough to create a different form of society in future. This Program also helps to bring out the hidden talents within these children who without it have not means or opportunity of exploring their talents.

” The only difference between me and these children is that I had exposure. And now I hope to bring them just that ..Exposure “ Co- Founder – Kirby de Lanerolle

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8Learn : This program provides the community to learn about a variety of different subjects. From academic subjects such as Maths and English, to personal hygiene, finance, cooking etc. It is run by volunteer who are teachers, accountants and other various skilled people in various fields of expertise.

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10Live : This program helps to enrich the lives of the community by providing a series of health checkups, nutritional plans, eye testing, blood donation etc. These programs are conducted by certified doctors, nurses and skilled volunteers and helps the community to lead a better, healthier, more wholesome lifestyle.

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12 Milk ; This program provides a glass of milk with vitamins to all the children in the Maradana community each day after school. This programs intention is to nourish the children as well as provide for a safe secure environment for them to feel at home.  This program also offers the children space to do their homework as well as tuition is provided free of charge for them to learn beyond what is taught in school.

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14 Entrepreneurs : This Program offers financial help as well as tools/equipment  to the members of the community to help them to expand their business to increase their income.  The loans are interest free and easy payment schemes are offered based on the income they receive with the upgrade. This program encourages people to expand their income venue so that with time they can help other members of their  community to also overcome poverty.

Apart from these programs , the organizers of this projects facilitate outing for the children of the  community so that they have the chance to travel and expose them self to opportunity /experiences that they otherwise only dream of.

Also this project facilities for performances by local artists who might or might not be so famous at the moment and also invite the general public to attend these events. This initiative has many advantages such as it gives the platform for struggling artist to showcase their art and also build awareness among the general public of this projects and the need for such projects to be implemented throughout Sri Lanka in future.

The Warehouse Project is a holistic community program which looks into every aspect of the community and tries to provide amenities for the community to live a better life and overcome the challenges and obstacles they face. It also provides a common platform for different social class to mix and bond and hence this is a very good example of how people of the community can work together to better the community that they a part of.

 

References :

http://warehouseproject.lk/vision.html

https://www.facebook.com/warehouseproject