TRIP Canada started in response to the tsunami which devastated Sri Lanka on Boxing Day 2004, leaving 2,000,000 starving, 1,000,000 homeless and 300,000 dead or missing. The program was started to provide short-term aid for tsunami survivors. After three trips leading volunteers to build a village for families who were left homeless, TRIP Canada founders, Janet and Bruce McKelvey, had learned a great deal about the local community and gained a deeper understanding of the people and their needs. They decided to continue their work and TRIP Canada has been delivering programs every year since 2005.
Supported by a core group of volunteers and donors, building projects are selected annually based on funds raised. Then each year, a TRIP Canada volunteer team heads to Sri Lanka to complete the projects. The volunteers ‘witness’ the difference they make in people’s lives and feel the impact on their own. TRIP Canada’s deep roots in the community and strong bonds with the local people create a very meaningful and intimate volunteer experience.
Through this program, 49 many families now live in new homes, and community infrastructure has significantly improved – schools, temples, medical clinics, playgrounds and an orphanage.
Understanding that education is the key to changing futures and that it is also very important to Sri Lankan families – equally for females and males – in 2006, TRIP Canada launched an education program. It includes English classes, high school enrichment, tutoring and post-secondary scholarships. Many lives have been touched by these programs and life opportunities improved.
Through collaboration with local partners, this program has continually adapted to ensure that efforts are driving sustainable and measurable change for the community. TRIP Canada selects beneficiaries for its programs working with community leaders – monks, teachers, village mayors and an organization which provides services for disabled adults and children.TRIP employs a full-time Project Manager and hires local labourers for all building projects. They work closely with the Canadian team when the volunteers come each year to spend 10 days working.
Although COVID-19 has suspended volunteer travel indefinitely, donors continue to be generous and six houses have been built in 2020 and 2021. New homes for poor families and work for our Sri Lankan team to ensure their families are provided for.
Starting with a huge response to the 2004 tsunami relief effort, our volunteers and donors have stayed with us through the Sri Lankan civil war, flooding disasters, the Easter terrorist attacks and now COVID-19. We are so grateful for their support and caring for people in extreme need.