Extra Cover Update

Charity Chichester

It's been a difficult few years for everyone with lockdowns, restrictions, inflation and rising unemployment but it is the poorest in society who suffer the most. This has been seen very clearly by the charity Extra Cover. I am sure you remember that Extra Cover is the charity founded by Matthew & Jill Hansford and Robert Easton after the boxing day Tsunami in 2004 with the aim of helping some of the poorest people in Sri Lanka. The registered charity has been run from the offices at Hansfords Menswear ever since and has raised some £1.2 million. Hansfords also absorbs most of the charity's admin expenses to ensure the maximum resources get to the people who need it.

In a country that had serious economic issues before Covid, the next few years are likely to be very tough for the poorest in Sri Lanka. For example, Extra Cover has had to adapt to the extreme food inflation: in 2020 we were paying an average of 20 rupees per child per day for their food. Today we are paying 35 rupees. But whatever happens, Extra Cover will continue to work hard helping as much as possible. Here are some of the ways Extra Cover has been able to help, in part thanks to your kind donations.

Delivering food packs to the poorest children

Even during Covid when the government schools were closed and movement restrictions were in place, Extra Cover was able to deliver food packs for the poorest children by dropping them off at schools or local temples for the parents to collect. These were literally a lifeline.

When schools opened, the food programme was stepped up by providing meals for over 1200 children every school day in the form of rice, dhal, and vegetables or breakfast buns where it was difficult to prepare the meals. For five of the poorest schools, we provided "chicken day" once a month where the children received chicken curry, dhal, rice and ice cream!

Targeted help for individuals

Extra Cover is still supporting many individuals who need medical, educational or nutritional help including Lakindu who gets medicine to strengthen his heart; Bishan who receives daily medicine; Udayangani who has orthotic shoes and Lakshman who is the recipient of a serviced prosthetic leg.

Special educational units and VTCs

Completely funded by Extra Cover, three special education units for children with disabilities and the two vocational training centres (VTCs) for disabled young adults are thriving. The charity provides everything from the building and the teachers to the resources and transport to get the pupils to and from school

Smile because good things happen

You may remember we were trying to save the Vocational Training Centre called Smile from closure. We're delighted to report that we have found two UK sponsors who have offered to take on the day-to-day running costs so Smile is safe and has been added to Extra Cover's stewardship. Thankfully, the 50 students who were being educated there are still able to learn how to sew, make candles and bags, repair radios and phones - and just as importantly, to learn how to make new friends, socialise, dance and sing.

"It has been frustrating for me not to be able to visit for 30 months but hopefully I will be there soon," explained Matthew Hansford. "I promise to report back to you on all our projects both old and new."

All of you who have shopped at Hansfords have helped enormously. 1% of the price of every purchase you make goes to charity. In addition, the 10p we are required to charge for our plastic bags goes straight to charity too. Please do continue to support us if you can, we are going to need every penny we can muster over the next few years.


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