Visiting grandparents in Sri Lanka
During the rest of my trip to Sri Lanka, I had the opportunity of visiting one of HelpAge and Age UK's 30 Sponsor a Grandparent (SAG) programmes. This is a scheme funded by the British public to provide for the basic needs of older people in Sri Lanka.
The beneficiaries of the SAG programme are given accommodation, as well as being able to enjoy at least one full meal a day.
The older people involved are encouraged to grow their own food and sell the excess, which provides them with a regular income. This encourages older people to stay active, which is also the motivation behind the creative activities offered, such as art and music.
I received a warm welcome by all the members during my visit and although I was only able to speak a little bit of Singhalese, it was amazing to talk to the people and see the work being carried out.
Valued and needed
It was great to see what a difference the programme had made the lives of older people. Activities like growing food and earning an income by selling produce had made some of the older people feel valued and needed in their communities again.
The older people who were part of the programme were very welcoming and I really enjoyed spending time with them. It is easy to forget that these people have experienced the hardship of conflict and natural disasters, such as the Indian Ocean tsunami which struck the shores of Sri Lanka in 2004.
Overall, the time I spent on this project gave me a really thorough understanding of the valuable work being done by HelpAge.
Find out more about HelpAge's work in Sri Lanka.