In May 2008, Cealo travelled to Sri Lanka to join together with a local non-profit/governmental organization inspired to follow Cealo's model of direct action. They are performing many works of compassion now including supporting the education and development of local youth, and performing direct action in several villages.
Center for Peace and Direct Action
This local non-profit/governmental organization has a center in Sri Lanka now. The center can be used for local youth and children group peace/service activities, contact office/storage of the local organization and Cealo and camp site for all the connected people through Gayuna Cealo in the world including the American people. The new center is a very old European house that was donated by a local wealthy person. The remodeling and furnishings are being donated by volunteers of the local NGO. So we can build the center with very little expense.
The monk and local supporters have helped many areas in need and Cealo visited 2 areas in May 2008. One the groups of gypsy people who used to live vagrant lives decided to settle in an area which was gifted by the government. There are 40 families and about 200 children in this new gypsy village. The monk was requested by the government to support their self-reliance. Cealo met them for the first time in November 2007 when Cealo gave rice and greeted them. The Monk visited there several times while Cealo is not there and asked Cealo to help the families get farm equipment this time. They are building houses with coconut leaves, soil and bamboo. But they have no toilets. So, during this visit, the Foundation started to build toilets with bricks. 1 toilet was constructed. Now, Cealo expects them to make 39 more toilets, one for each family. Cealo donated money from the Foundation for this construction project. The Monk goes to this village every two weeks, monitoring their progress, and encouraging youth to work with the local people. He has a very good connection with the gypsies. In all, Cealo distributed rice, farming equipment and money for the toilet project.
One other village visited by Cealo includes untouchable people from India. Untouchable is the name of an imported caste system from India. Even though there is not supposed to be discrimination, they have not been able to live a healthy lives there for hundreds of years. Many of humanitarian organizations and monks have tried to help them according to the government request for many years, though none of them succeeded. The monk had guidance from Cealo to support the village and the village people have opened up to him a lot to WORK TOGETHER.
Cealo's guidance is simple. It is all about directly seeing what is truly needed, not to spoil them but support their independence after seeing their positive actions and heart to heart connections through working together. The monk helped them to make wells, paving (flatting? ) road, and building community houses together. No one could believe it and they became good friends. They are no longer untouchable. The village people have also received land from the government and they are also trying to build houses by themselves. Cealo donated farming equipment last visit. This time Cealo visited each family’s house, and walked around and looked inside each house. Some families are making gardens of vegetables, chilies and herbs. Cealo will bring more seads next time. 64 of the families are doing well. However, 16 of the families are still struggling. In all, this village is doing very well. Cealo and the monk plan to stop supporting this community in 2 years after a total of 6 years of support for them. Cealo hopes they are completely independent by that time so he can go on to help others.
Cealo also visited a preschool which was newly opened near by the gypsy people's village. For a long time, the gypsy people have been isolated from society and they never mixed with other people. Using an old building, the Monk holds a preschool for the neighborhood and gypsy village children. Now children from these areas go to the school and study together. There are three volunteer teachers who live in the village and work for 5 days a week with no payment. Cealo donated school materials for the 40 children and the monk named the Preschool as Karuna (Gayuna) Preschool as a result of his regard, respect, and thanks for Cealo.