A Triage-Based Social Service Project for the Most Vulnerable Villagers

In 2019 we extended our reach to help the most vulnerable people living near wild elephants in central Sri Lanka, and in 2020 those efforts expanded during the global pandemic to include the Stateless Migrant Workers living on the Andaman Coast of Thailand. In 2022 the project expanded to Thailand’s NW border with Burma, bringing blankets and food to the Kar’en living in refugee camps in Thailand, and to Kar’en IDP’s (Internally Displaced Persons) on the run as the Burmese Junta bombs and burns entire villages in their “scorched earth” campaign of genocide.  Although these projects may seem very different, there is a common thread which runs through them all–to create a kinder world for the most vulnerable among us. 

“Service from the Heart” was born in Sri Lanka after befriending  Isuru.  He and his mother lived alone in a hot and dark brick house, and although he could not  walk or talk or sit up or eat by himself, he sure could smile and laugh, and when we visited him his eyes followed our every move. We knew right when we met them that we could not turn away, and started immediately fundraising for a wheelchair, a mattress, a fan, a radio, and 3 months of food in bulk, to get things started.  And because of one little boy’s smile and his uncomplaining angel of a mother,  Service With Heart was born! In 2021, Isuru passed away at 16 years of age.  His smile continues to inspire every Social Service project of the heart, and in his name we ease what suffering we can for the most vulnerable.

In the same village where Isuru lives, we brought donated clothing, school supplies, and household goods to over 150 people. Next, we dug deep and raised 75,000LKR to work alongside the local government GS of the village delivering food to hungry families just in time for Sri Lanka’s Sinhalese New Year, introducing us to more people in need of the most basic items to carry on. Over many cups of tea we learned the stories of the unseen and rarely heard and whom we now consider friends. We repeated the “Family Food” donation in October, ensuring the hungriest families had enough food to get through the monsoon season.

When the pandemic began and for the last 24 months, we have been in Thailand, where Service With Heart assisted Stateless Burmese down south with food drops, and then moving north near the Thai/Burma border when the military coup began. Food and medicine along with blankets, tarps and mosquito netting was delivered to families still reeling from the pandemic and enduring a brutal coup, literally running for their lives. Such tragic circumstances require many skilled hands and brave hearts to deliver supplies first by truck, then boat, then motorcycles, into the hiding places where entire families with small children and elderly grandparents hide from cruelties not of their making. 

Unless you’ve lived where there is little, a mattress may not seem like that big of a deal, a bag of rice may lack inspiration, and a fan may seem like an “extra”.  But when you have been sleeping on a thin mat upon wooden slats or your disabled son cannot brush the flies off of his face,  suddenly a mattress and a fan become a big deal indeed.  The next step after triage, is how to make such acts sustainable and is what lies ahead of us, all of us.  How do we help take care of those most in need until they are able to do so themselves, and then in turn, extending that reach to where it is now most needed? Challenging work, but together we’ll make it happen.

Sending in supplies to war-torn Burma (Myanmar) with the Border Emergency Response Team. Blankets, rice, drinking water.  Refugees and IDP’s and Covid and a Coup.  The former won’t fix the latter, but a blanket over the cold ground and some rice in an empty belly can grant courage to hold on another day. We don’t know their names, but we do know they dream of the same things you do–that their children and parents will be safe from harm, that they can be fed, be healthy, and have a chance to live a life where they too can help.

We know its been an extra-tough couple of years for so many around the world, and seems like there’s a ways to go until the voices and actions of those who care can rise up enforce to counteract the destruction created by those who don’t. 

Once again your support continues to change lives through Service with Heart, creating a ripple effect of Compassionate Action. Thank you for standing with us as we come together to do what we can, wherever we are, to help create a kinder world.

Bringing food to families in need doesn’t have to be for a lifetime. Oftentimes families in transition just need a little help to get through a rough patch, and once on their feet again the help can be directed to another family. Food fills not just the belly, but the heart as well.
The day we met Isuru and his mother was the day we knew we couldn’t focus only on helping groups of people—that sometimes you have to help people one by one. Our ongoing visits confirm what we suspected–that lending a hand is not a “hand out”, but rather a direct approach to widening the circle of compassion.
We met this little girl a week after her father was killed as he attempted to save his rice from a crop-raiding elephant. Sometimes a little extra help can make all the difference in the world, and then she can go make a difference in the world too.
When a 2-legged elephant rocks up to your home with a little bit of happy help, you know it’s going to be a very good day!

Thank you for helping us extend our reach!

The common thread is good people coming together to create a wave of Compassionate Action. Your donation can change lives, and not “someday”, but right now.  Thank you for caring about families you have never met—they are deeply grateful, and we are too!

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