Skal Orlando Member Joost Demeyer Visits Sri Lanka Daycare And Orphanages Supported By Joseph T. Neary Memorial Foundation
As the second largest Skal Club in the United States and ranked among the top 10 in the world, Skal International Orlando continues to make global philanthropy a service priority. When Club member Joost DeMeyer and his wife, Iris, planned a trip to New Delhi in October for the Society of Incentive Travel Excellence (SITE) Global Conference, they also planned a side trip to Sri Lanka. The intent was to visit to the areas served by The Joseph T. Neary Memorial Foundation established in 1990 during the 51st Annual International Skal Congress in Colombo, Sri Lanka, as a permanent memorial to deceased Skalleague Joe Neary, Past President and International Councilor for SIUSA.
Banner exchange photo – From left, Joost DeMeyer and Noel Fernando;
Large group photo – Noel Fernando at left and Joost DeMeyer, center, join the Sisters and children;
Noel and Joost Photo with the Sisters in Charge – From left, Noel Fernando, Sister Fatimanayaki, Sister-in-Charge of the orphanage, Joost DeMeyer and Sister Florella, Sister-in-Charge of Bethlehem Creche.
The projects supported by the Foundation include: The Bethlehem Creche daycare center in Colombo at the Carmel Piyuma Convent which supports 80 children a day ages 3 months to 5 years, the Apostolic Carmel School in Maharagama at St. Mary’s Convent which is an all girls high school with approximately 100 girls attending and half staying at the convent, and orphanages in Akkaraipattu and Trincomalee on the east coast of Sri Lanka and in Nainamadama, just north of Colombo, each with approximately 40 children.
DeMeyer and his wife visited the Bethlehem Creche and presented checks to Sister Florella, while also visiting the orphanage. They were hosted by Noel Fernando, Skal Member, Past President of the Colombo Skal Club and Foundation Trustee, and presented him with banners from the Orlando Skal Club and the New York Skal Club where Joe Neary was Past President, while also receiving two Colombo Skal Club banners in return. “It was a wonderful experience to see how well organized everything is and how happy and well taken care of the children are,” DeMeyer explained. “They even sang and danced for us.”
Managing Trustee of the Joseph T. Foundation is Skal International Orlando Member and Skal International USA Past President Bill Pullen. In the last few years, Pullen and his late wife spent a week visiting the project sites and meeting with representatives of other organizations in the country with potential for providing future assistance.
“I am very excited about Joost and Iris’ visit,” said Pullen. “Not only do they represent Skal Orlando but the entire spirit and support of Skal International. When we started the Foundation at the International Skal Congress in Colombo in 1990, the original intent was to support the children at the Bethlehem Creche daycare center really without any thought to the long range future. So it certainly has gone a lot further than any one of us could have imagined back then. It is very much a source of great pride.”
Skal International Orlando was voted Skal International Club of the Year 2006-2007 and North American Club of the Year in 2007. For more information, go to www.skalorlando.com. For membership information, contact Dennis BeMent, Membership Development Officer, Skal International Orlando, at [email protected].