Kiara and Siara Gunawardhana, two students from Alderwood Elementary and University High School at the Irvine Unified School District continue to donate backpacks and lunch bags to deserving Sri Lankan war zone schoolchildren. This last donation happened on July 28, 2017.
The spark that ignited the idea of donating backpacks and lunch bags to Sri-Lankan war-zone kids was created and thought upon by Kiara. The Sri Lankan civil war that had nearly spanned for 27 years had come to an end after the terrorist leader was found dead. She decided that she wanted to do something for the people who were affected by the bloodshed. Since then, Kiara and her younger sister Siara collected the items from Alderwood Elementary, South Lake Middle School, family, friends, neighbors and 6 fellow IUSD schools every year.
Along with this donation project, the girls have been managing a homeless feeding project in Los Angeles. Every year, they collect donations from friends and family to support their cause and buy food products enough to feed 500 people. They gather with many people and assemble 500 lunch bags to feed the homeless people in Downtown Los Angeles. With the help of Orange County Lions Foundation for shipment of the bags to Sri Lanka as well as Compassion Project, in Colombo, receiving the items in Sri Lanka, the donations were given to schools in the war-zone area and other schools around Sri Lanka. All of the items that were collected, including items that were donated locally (such as pencils, pens, and books) were all donated to War-affected schools in Sri Lanka.
“As we drove up to the school, many boys and girls ran to greet us and help us get the supplies out of the car and down the steep dirt road leading up to the school. As I entered the building, I could remember seeing the innocent eyes of the underprivileged children in that school, staring up at me as if I were a glorified statue. Seeing the kids, most of them with an old worn out uniform and without shoes, made my heart yearn to reach out and give them a big hug. I now know how lucky we all are to live in America with many privileges and high-tech machinery. Once we brought out the supplies and the instruments, every single child’s face lit up and excited conversations were started up all across the room.” –
Written by: Kiara Gunawardhana